The President's Legislative Policy Agenda, 1789-2002

The President's Legislative Policy Agenda, 1789-2002

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Jeffrey E. Cohen asks why US presidents send to Congress the legislative proposals that they do and what Congress does with those proposals. His study covers nearly the entire history of the presidency, from 1789 to 2002. The long historical scope allows Cohen to engage competing perspectives on how the presidency has developed over time. He asks what accounts for the short- and long-term trends in presidential requests to Congress, what substantive policies and issues recommendations are concerned with, and what factors affect the presidential decision to submit a recommendation on a particular issue. The President's Legislative Policy Agenda, 1789-2002 argues that presidents often anticipate the Congressional reaction to their legislative proposals and modify their agendas accordingly.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 13 b/w illus. 20 tables
  • 1139534211
  • 9781139534215

About Jeffrey E. Cohen

Jeffrey E. Cohen is Professor of Political Science at Fordham University. He is the author of twelve books, including Presidential Responsiveness and Public Policy-Making: The Public and the Policies that Presidents Choose (1997) and Going Local: Presidential Leadership in the Post-Broadcast Age (Cambridge University Press, 2010), both of which won the Richard E. Neustadt Award from the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association for the best book on the presidency. Going Local also won the Goldsmith Book Prize in 2012.
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Table of contents

Introduction. Two puzzles; 1. The president's legislative policy agenda; 2. Studying agenda building; 3. A theory of presidential legislative policy agenda building; 4. The size of the president's agenda; 5. The substantive content of presidential agenda; 6. Divided government and presidential policy moderation; 7. From the White House to Capitol Hill: presidential agenda success in Congress; 8. Conclusions.
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Review quote

'A real step forward for presidential studies ... Cohen's arguments about a president's forethought and capacity for strategy provide considerable traction in explaining his empirical findings. This imaginative, painstaking, and astoundingly large-scale analysis by one of our best presidential scholars will surely stimulate a new wave of empirical work and (one hopes) some tough-minded theorizing about presidential proposal power.' Charles M. Cameron, Princeton University 'When attempting to gauge presidential influence in Congress, scholars confront a basic fact: what presidents seek is at least partially a function of what they think they can get. Rather than treat this fact as a nuisance, Jeffrey Cohen subjects it to sustained inquiry. Tracking the size and content of presidents' legislative agendas over the course of the nation's entire history, Cohen puts on the table some essential facts with broad implications for our assessments of presidential power.' William Howell, University of Chicago 'Handcuffed by data limitations and intimidated by conceptual complexity, quantitative studies of presidential-congressional legislative relations too often examine only 'modern' presidents and domestic issues, as though historical development has no bearing on understanding the executive and presidents inhabit a world of splendid isolation from the international arena. In this important book, Jeffrey Cohen explodes these artificial boundaries. Exploiting a data set of presidential legislative initiatives that takes us from George Washington to George W. Bush and cuts across multiple policy domains, foreign and domestic, he brings to the fore patterns, continuities, and variations in the presidential-congressional relationship that were unknowable from previous research.' Mark A. Peterson, University of California, Los Angeles 'There are remarkably few quantitative analyses of the presidency for a simple reason: from a statistical perspective there are too few presidents over too many years to allow most questions of interest to be addressed rigorously. A rare exception to this rule is Jeffrey E. Cohen's The President's Legislative Policy Agenda, 1789-2002. Cohen examines the legislative proposals that presidents have sent to Congress. This research topic lends itself to quantitative analysis, and the author provides a thorough study using appropriate econometric techniques ... he provides an enlightening investigation of presidential behavior over the long sweep of the presidency's history.' Peverill Squire, The Journal of American History
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