Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evolution of Washington Politics
Samuel Kernell argues that Washington politics have undergone a structural change over the past half century. Traditionally, politics in Washington were conducted according to a system of mutually beneficial interactions and bargains. Kernell refers to this structure as institutionalized pluralism. Under such a system, the political elite are the ultimate decision...
Published on November 16, 2005 by Matthew P. Arsenault

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars intuitive if not empirical
Kernell described "going public" as "a strategy whereby a president promotes himself and his policies in Washington by appealing to the American public for support" (p.2). Use of this strategy is said to be on the rise as it is particularly well suited to the modern president. Kernell argued that this strategy is a powerful tactic that can be used...
Published on March 13, 2000 by B. Freeman


Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars intuitive if not empirical, March 13, 2000
By 
Kernell described "going public" as "a strategy whereby a president promotes himself and his policies in Washington by appealing to the American public for support" (p.2). Use of this strategy is said to be on the rise as it is particularly well suited to the modern president. Kernell argued that this strategy is a powerful tactic that can be used by a president to force a reluctant Congress to go along with a certain policy, but that it is incompatible with Neustadt's "bargaining president." He described several cases where the strategy was used, sometimes it worked, other times it did not, he said. The underlying premise though is that our government has moved from being institutionally pluralistic to a more individualized pluralism where every Congressman must fend for themselves (decline of party argument). One is left agreeing that public support does give a president certain leverage in bargaining with Congress, but how the support is measured or that it definitely replaces bargaining and forces Congress to act is not adequately substantiated. The book has some interesting stories on how some policies of some presidents played out in the political arena. If you like behind-the-scenes writings on policy making and president-Congress relations - buy the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evolution of Washington Politics, November 16, 2005
Samuel Kernell argues that Washington politics have undergone a structural change over the past half century. Traditionally, politics in Washington were conducted according to a system of mutually beneficial interactions and bargains. Kernell refers to this structure as institutionalized pluralism. Under such a system, the political elite are the ultimate decision makers. It is these elites that have access to a number of political resources that help shape and enforce their political power.

As such, this early era Washington is essentially isolated from the core constituents. Party leaders and other senior political elites offer support to candidates who will not only tow the party line, but respect the seniority system already in place. Furthermore, institutionalized pluralism supports an environment in which coalitions form the spine of the system. The coalitions often shape the options available to the early presidents. Kernell describes the role of the President; "(he) seizes the center of the Washington bazaar and actively barter's with fellow politicians to build winning coalitions. He must do so...or he will forfeit any claim to leadership" (18).

However, Washington politics has moved from a closely regulated environment of institutionalized pluralism to what Kernell refers to as individualized pluralism. A system of individual pluralism is one in which the system of strong parties, seniority and bargaining are in decline. In their stead has emerged a system of individualistic politicians which are driven not by coalition building and party support, but by maintaining the will of their constituent base. Kernell describes the institutionalized plural Washington as, "a political community constituted of independent members who have few group or institutional loyalties and who are generally less interested in sacrificing short-run, private career goals for the longer-term benefits of bargaining" (27). As such, a president is forced to deal with weakened leaders and weakened parties who may be unwilling or unable to deliver on proposed bargains.

Kernell explains the change from institutionalized to individual pluralism as the result of an increased welfare state which "increased the size of the community and created large, interested constituencies outside of Washington" (28). In other words, Washington was no longer an isolated island of political elites. Secondly, individual pluralism emerged as a result of changes to communication and transportation. The President and elites had the means to communicate directly to the people. Lastly, Kernell argues that a decline in the strength of political parties in Washington as well as nationally fueled the evolution towards individualized pluralism.

In the new era, the President and other major Washington players have evolved new leadership strategies. Going public can be described as political elites making a conscious appeal for support to their constituents, or as in the case of the President, to the nation as a whole.

Kernell explains the increase in making appeals to the public in order to garner support for views or popularity as the result of a number of developments in national politics. First, in the system of individualized pluralism, bargaining between the Executive and legislature has grown ineffective. For example, since 1956 the United States is often confronted with a divided government, one in which one party controls the legislature and the opposing party sits in the Executive office. In such situations, negotiations become difficult. Often the President cannot get his policies through and opposing Congress. As such, he calls on the people to pressure their representative into accepting the President's proposal.

Second, rather than being nominated by major political parties, presidential selection reforms have allowed ordinary voters to place their presidential choice on the ballot. Now, a President is no longer beholden to party leadership. Instead, the president is beholden to the people. As such, the President does not always feel obligated to negotiate with party leadership and may appeal to the people to pressure the party.

The ways in which the President shapes "going public" differ. Perhaps the earliest method of going public was through manipulation of the media. In an earlier era, a good deal of bargaining existed between press and President. A system of reciprocity existed. A President would exchange personal interviews for an article that leaned in favor of his proposals.

However, John Kennedy shaped a system which is still in use today. President Kennedy used live television to carry his message. With the use of such a direct medium, the president is able to shape his message with little outside influence from newspaper men, editors and others. In this way, the President had to rely on bargaining to an even less extent.

Aside from "going public" in order to garner support for policy, the President uses public appeal to garner popular support. The President does so in a number of ways. First, the President may offer a public address. The public addresses used by a President appear in two forms, major and minor. A major address allows the President to speak directly to the American people. "Of the major addresses, the most dramatic and potentially the most effective are special reports the president delivers to the nation on primetime television" (107). These addresses often accompany some sort of crisis and can develop into what Kernell calls a "rally event." Rally events often drive the President's popularity up a few points in the polls. However, it is important to note that the major address can only rarely be used as the interest of the voter wanes quickly. If the President continuously interrupts Desperate Housewives, regardless of the importance of the address, he is bound to lose 5 points with every broadcast.

The second type of address Kernell refers to is minor. The formality of the address is limited and generally the message is specified to a particular constituent group. For example, Kernell cites Ronald Regan appealing to Catholic voters in order to garner support for a school funding initiative.

Lastly, the President may go public though appearances. In this situation, the President need not say anything. His presence alone will suffice. An example of an appearance shaping popularity would be George W. Bush visiting the Twin Towers shortly after the September 11 attack. He said very little, but his presence increased his popularity.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Necessary for understanding the presidency, June 8, 2004
By 
Newsman78 "newsman78" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
Kernell's fine work is a wonderful addition to the scholarly literature in political science on the American presidency. It's well-written and well-organized. His insights into why, when and how presidents "go public" and take their case over the heads of congressmen to the people are informative and worthwhile. Not all of his observations fit the case studies he uses, and he sometimes exaggerates his case a bit, but overall he makes good points.
Highly recommended for scholars of the presidency, or American politics in general. Also a good book for a knowledgeable layman interested in politics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Going Public, Bringing The Heat, May 3, 2010
When the President is going public, which means that he goes directly to the public to make his case on a particular issue, he is attempting to create pressure on those who oppose him or his policies. He is trying to persuade those with different views, but do so with the specter of an outraged public. A public that only he can control through his special bond with the people. The idea is that the President will go to the public, get them outraged that he is not supported by so and so, and then tell so and so that he can help them overcome the public outrage. Kernell does not illustrate his argument with statistics, but rather a few cases studies. It works and shows the logic of this argument. Get this book and understand the media spectacle surrounding the occupant of 1600 Pa. Ave.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Evaluation of the Modern Presidency, April 30, 1999
By A Customer
Sam Kernell's book is a must-read for students and scholars of the American Presidency. He artfully examines how modern American Presidents seek to persuade their constituents in a media-driven political environment. He takes Richard Neustadt's Presidential Power, and adds to it a crucial blend of modern circumstances in this evaluation. It is an enoyable read, chalked full of potentially valuable information for anyone seeeking to understand the modern Presidency and its persuasive difficulties.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Going Public: New Strategies Of Presidential Leadership, 4th Edition
Going Public: New Strategies Of Presidential Leadership, 4th Edition by Samuel Kernell (Paperback - October 18, 2006)
$50.00 $47.22
Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.