The Nerve Center

The Nerve Center : Lessons in Governing from the White House Chiefs of Staff

3.33 (9 ratings by Goodreads)
Foreword by  , Edited by 

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In what James A. Baker III has called the ""worst job in Washington,"" the chief of staff orchestrates the president's conduct of the U.S. government. He holds the unique responsibility to magnify the time, reach, and voice of the president of the United States. ""You need a filter, a person that you have total confidence in who works so closely with you that in effect he is almost an alter ego,"" Gerald Ford has said. In this volume, resulting from the Washington Forum on the Role of the White House Chief of Staff, held in 2000 in Washington, D.C., twelve of the fifteen men who have held the office of chief of staff discuss among themselves and with a select group of participants the challenges, achievements, and failures of their time in that role. Their purpose is to find lessons in governing that will help future chiefs of staff prepare to assume the office and organize the staffs they will lead. These pages of frank and uncensored discussion present in question-and-answer format the voices of the chiefs of staff as they discuss the transition from campaign to governance, the reelection drive every four years, and ultimately, the closing out of an administration. The group also addresses the place of the White House chief of staff within the larger governing community of the Executive Branch, Congress, interest groups, and the press. The American White House sits at the nerve center of world history, and at the core of this nerve center, a massive bureaucratic operation exists to process the flow of information and policy. Because the White House chief of staff manages that operation, to ignore its requirements risks presidential fate itself and indeed, the fate of the republic.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 157.5 x 241.3 x 20.3mm | 498.96g
  • College Station, United States
  • English
  • 1585443492
  • 9781585443499
  • 1,689,515

Review quote

"When you realize that even though the White House chief of staff has tremendous power, he or she, nevertheless, is not a principal but only a staffer - face it, it's right there in the title - then it is easy to understand why some people also characterize it not just as the second-toughest job in Washington but as the worst job in Washington. As the only person in history who was dumb enough to have taken the job twice in his life, I confess that I was sometimes inclined to agree with that characterization." - from the foreword by James A. Baker III"
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About James A. Baker

Terry Sullivan, an associate professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was for two years the director of the Presidential Transition Project at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University, where as part of that effort, he coordinated the Washington Forum. In addition, he is the co-editor of The White House World: Transitions, Organization, and Office Operations, also published by Texas A&M University Press.
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Rating details

9 ratings
3.33 out of 5 stars
5 22% (2)
4 22% (2)
3 33% (3)
2 11% (1)
1 11% (1)
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