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Presidential Leadership in an Age of Change

The American public hungers for a heroic leader. From John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, every American president has left office either under a cloud or as a failed leader. Michael A. Genovese argues that presidents are set up for failure; it is not specific presidents but the presidency itself that is the problem. The presidency was designed to prevent tyranny through a system of separation of powers that inhibits presidents from exercising sufficient power to meet the demands and expectations that developed over time. Each new president dreams of success, only to be crushed by the paralytic weight of vetoes and roadblocks. As they fail to meet expectations, Americans turn on them, making their already precarious position much worse. Given the perilous nature of the office, Genovese examines the skills required to achieve success and the roles of power and persuasion. He also examines how globalization and the rapid pace of change contribute to the decline of presidential power. This accessible synthesis of scholarship is geared toward an audience that is hungry to unravel the dilemmas of presidential leadership. Students of the presidency will find it insightful; general readers will find it illuminating.
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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgements Introduction 1 Failed Leadership in an Age of Hyperchange 2 How Presidents Try (Usually Unsuccessfully) to Lead 3 Leveraged Leadership in an Age of Hyperchange 4 Conclusion Bibliography

About the Author

Michael A. Genovese holds the Loyola Chair of Leadership and is professor of political science and director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author of The Encyclopedia of the American Presidency and The Presidential Dilemma.


Few scholars of the presidency are as simultaneously wise and provocative as Michael Genovese. In Presidential Leadership in an Age of Change, Genovese goes past the typical lamentations about how presidents seem to so routinely disappoint us and instead provides a robust explanation. Rooting his argument in not only the usual explanations such as constitutional constraints and irrational expectations but also globalization and hyper-change, Genovese clearly shows why even skilled presidents who avail themselves of the full range of presidential power tools are typically doomed to fail. Between the bristling prose and the lucid explanation, this book is for everyone from disappointed citizens to potential candidates pondering a run for the presidency. --Dr. Justin Vaughn, Boise State University

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