The Clinton Presidency: First Appraisals

By Colin Campbell; Bert A. Rockman | Go to book overview

It may be that Clinton's last and best hope is that the very radicalism of the Republicans' antigovernment agenda and the prospects of its coming to fruition will backfire. As Clinton becomes all that stands in the way of realizing that agenda, he has voiced newfound passion in opposition to it. As he has done so, his approval also has begun to rise and, thus, so have his electoral prospects for 1996. Should the Republican juggernaut be slowed or halted, however, the likely winner will be James Madison and not Bill Clinton. The tyranny of faction will have been prevented, along with the prospect of coherent action, however wrong- or clear-headed that may be.


Acknowledgment

I am grateful for the hospitality and support provided by the Centre for European Studies, Nuffield College, Oxford University, allowing me to complete this rather non-European project.


Notes
1.
Richard Rose, "Evaluating Presidents," in Researching the Presidency: Vital Questions, New Approaches, ed. George C. Edwards III, John H. Kessel, and Bert A. Rockman ( Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993), 453-84.
2.
Richard Neustadt, Presidential Power ( New York: Wiley, 1959). This book is now in its fifth edition, the most recent version published in 1990 as Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan ( New York: Free Press, 1990).
3.
See, for example, David Braybrooke and Charles Lindblom, A Strategy of Decision ( New York: Free Press, 1963).
4.
On the matter of institutionalizing norms, see James G. March and Johan Olsen , Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of Politics ( New York: Free Press, 1989); and Robert Axelrod, "An Evolutionary Approach to Norms," American Political Science Review 80 ( December 1986): 1095-1111. The language of adaptive social processes may thus replace that of leadership because the emphasis is on the capacity to produce successful change as a result of norms based on reciprocal relationships. From this standpoint, reciprocity is wholly consistent with republican institutions but inconsistent with the logics either of command or of populist democracy. Despite the powerful emphasis by the American constitutional Framers on precisely the logic of reciprocity, current American trends often favor the paradoxical combination of populist democracy and forceful leadership.
5.
Technically, this may be thought of as a repeated sequential equilibrium game. See Robert W. Axelrod, "The Emergence of Cooperation among Egoists," American Political Science Review 75 ( June 1981): 306-18.
6.
See Charles O. Jones, The Presidency in a Separated System ( Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1994); and Charles O. Jones, Separate But Equal Branches: Congress and the Presidency (Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House, 1995).
7.
See, for example, Robert A. Dahl, A Preface to Democratic Theory ( Chi

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