Presidential Leadership in Political Time has greatly expanded our understanding of and debates over the politics of leadership. It clarifies the typical political problems that presidents confront in political time, as well as the likely effects of their working through them, and considers contemporary innovations in our political system that bear on the leadership patterns from the more distant past. Drawing out parallels in the politics of leadership between Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt and between James Polk and John Kennedy, it develops a new and revealing perspective on the presidential leadership of Clinton, Bush, and Obama.
In this edition, Skowronek devotes a new chapter to Obama's presidency and its prospects for becoming transformational-like the presidencies of Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan, all of whom succeeded to varying degrees in reconstructing the playing field of national politics. Along the way, he wonders if this kind of leadership is still even possible, given the current divided state of the American polity. He also takes a fresh look at the impact of the twenty-four-hour news cycle, of a more disciplined and homogeneous Republican party, of conservative advocacy of the "unitary theory" of the executive, and of progressive disillusionment with the presidency as an institution.