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This was written as part of the Miller Center Series on the American Presidency. The information within was taken from oral interviews of Carter and other key officials by academics after the end of the Carter presidency. For those who merely dismiss Carter as a poor president, I highly recommend giving this book a read. The book, in my opinion, does two things. It goes into the dynamics of Carter's leadership style and also gives information about what was happening behind the doors of the White House. In a couple words, policy and decision-making were handled two ways: collegial discussion and homework. These are key to Carter's leadership. As an engineer, Carter wished to focus on a problem, do his homework, and then join discussion about the options. As the president, he reserved the right to make the final decision. This follows his engineering and religious background. If there is a problem, solve the problem. The difficulty that arose from this was his reluctance of engaging in political maneuvering and his focus. In Washington, it is necessary at times to bargain. Carter, leading a country rebounding from the Nixon years, was determined to avoid the political battles as much as possible. In regard to focus, according to Hargrove, his focusing on a problem kept him from noticing the connection with various other problems. At the end of the book, Hargrove talks about how this leadership style worked, and did not work, in a transition presidency. Also, Hargrove talks of the different agenda items (like the economic policy and energy policy) and how the collegial style worked. More often than not, not all the departments were on the same page. This led to the administration to appear to be vacillating.Read more ›
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Only this liberal, star struck writer would somehow consider Jimmy Carter a great president. 21% inflation, oil crisis, hostages in Iran, forget about them, Jimmy was great but we are too stupid to know it.