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The Rise of the President's Permanent Campaign Paperback – August 21, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700618600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700618606
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Doherty has taken on an important and much-discussed subject and executed his analysis with exemplary care and skill. . . . An extremely well-polished, well-crafted book.” --Michael Nelson, editor of The Presidency and the Political System

“Concise, accessible, and well written, the book is very attractive for use in the classroom. It’s also a first-rate piece of scholarship that will be widely cited and relied upon by future scholars.” --Richard J. Ellis, author of The Development of the American Presidency

“A rewarding and valuable systematic view of how this central feature of our politics influences what presidents do and how they do it.” --George C. Edwards III, author of Governing by Campaigning

About the Author

Brendan J. Doherty is an associate professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy and coauthor of Clash of Ideals: Cases in American Political Development.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marty Nader on August 2, 2012
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This book is a must-read for anyone interested in presidential elections and the incentives created by existing campaign finance laws. Beginning with the passage of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 and continuing through the era of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 (McCain-Feingold) to the current 2012 election, the author empirically demonstrates how fundraising and presidential travel have become full-time jobs of presidential candidates and White House staff. Building upon the existing theory of the "permanent campaign," this book combines excellent archival research and quantitative analysis into a very convincing and easy-to-understand case that presidents since Jimmy Carter have continuously and predictably increased their role and activity as fundraiser-in-chief. Instead of blaming greed, corruption or a lust for power as many authors in the popular press have done, Doherty argues that the institutional incentives created by campaign finance regimes have structured and guided presidential fundraising behavior. Campaign finance laws were passed to limit individual contributions to candidates in an attempt to mitigate the influence of special interests and big money donors in politics; instead, individual contribution limits have created a system in which presidential candidates have to spend more time fundraising from more and more donors. Ironically, campaign finance laws had unintended negative consequences that actually exacerbated existing problems with campaign fundraising. After the analysis is presented, Doherty asks the question that should be on all readers' minds: "When a president devotes so much time to fundraising, one must ask what he might have done had he not been raising money for himself or his party" (153).Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marty Wattenberg on August 1, 2012
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I really enjoyed reading this book. It sheds light on just how much fundraising has come to dominate presidential activities in recent years. It also clearly shows how battleground states in the electoral college have attracted more and more attention from presidents in recent years. And whereas once political activities were the province of the staff at the national committees, Doherty shows how the White House staff has become an integral part of the permanent campaign. Anyone interested in either the presidency or the American electoral process will certainly find this book to be a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William K. Muir Jr. on July 28, 2012
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Woodrow Wilson once remarked that the modern presidency demands so much of its occupant by way of attention, responsibility, and energy that only "a wise and prudent athlete" is fit for the job. Professor Doherty's illuminating and convincing The President's Permanent Campaign demonstrates how the good intentions of "political reformers" have added even more time-consuming and attention-distracting tasks to a current president's agenda than in Wilson's time. Overly stringent campaign-finance laws, selection of party candidates by means of popular primaries, and party reforms that diminish the influence of party professionals and elected office holders have forced the president, no matter whether Democrat or Republican, to be his party's chief fundraiser and party-builder. The reforms have forced him to travel constantly throughout the United States and have led to the increased size and influence of White House staff devoted only to the next electoral success of the president and his party. To overstate and oversimplify Doherty's message, the primacy of policy and politics is becoming reversed: where once the president and his staff focused on solving problems and then worrying about minimizing the adverse political consequences, today the emphasis has shifted to devising means of winning the next election and then minimizing the adverse policy consequences. The book is even-handed, sympathetic, and prudent, and the author is aware of how difficult (and important) it will be to reverse the trend he bemoans.
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Very thorough and interesting, definitely a good read especially if you love politics! Doherty is an obvious proven expert on the topic.
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