Cover image for The U.S. presidency in crisis : a comparative perspective
The U.S. presidency in crisis : a comparative perspective
Campbell, Colin, 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
vi, 266 pages ; 22 cm
Putting the U.S. presidency in a wider context -- Reagan, Bush, and the emergence of the gridlocked system -- Bill Clinton encounters the governability gap -- Thatcher, Major, and the problem with leaders as icons -- Trudeau, Mulroney, Chrétien, and the rise and fall of personalized leadership -- Hawke, Keating, and a balance between personal and institutional leadership -- Toward a rehabilitation of U.S. executive leadership.
Reading Level:
1290 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JK516 .C36 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The author of this study seeks to shed light on the US presidency through a comparison of executive leadership in the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia. The work reviews the common challenges faced by chief executives of other Anglo-American demoncracies, offering a context for examining the US presidency. It discusses the Clinton administration in detail and deals with the governability gap - the seeming incapacity of presidents and Congress to cope constructively with the core issues faced by the country.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Campbell (Georgetown Univ.) provides a valuable addition to a continuing discussion on the dynamics and viability of the declining office of the American presidency. Of particular interest is the comparison of the American institution to the prime ministers operating within parliamentary systems in the UK, Canada, and Australia. Chief executives in each of these political systems function in what the author terms an age of "boutique government," in which citizens increasingly eschew altruistic requests in favor of self-serving demands on a dwindling public sector. Campbell analyzes the causes and consequences of two important trends: "a sharp diversion to minimalist government" and an emphasis on style over substance. He identifies four basic chief executive leadership styles of the second half of the 20th century and notes that each has suffered leadership failures. Campbell's prescription for presidential success focuses on attaining "policy competence," including working more closely with the federal bureaucracy. His analysis is framed by structural concerns stemming from the Madisonian separation of powers doctrine, and he examines issues studied by David Mayhew in Divided We Govern (CH, Jan'92) and by Charles Jones in The Presidency in a Separated System (CH, Jan'95). Campbell's subsequent analysis parallels issues discussed in earlier works such as James MacGregor Burns's The Power To Lead (1984) and Theodore Lowi's The Personal President (CH, Jul'85). Strongly recommended for general readers, undergraduates, and graduate students. R. E. Dewhirst; Northwest Missouri State University

Table of Contents

1 Putting the Presidency in a Wider Context
2 Reagan, Bush and the Emergence of the Gridlock System
3 Bill Clinton Encounters the Governability Gap
4 Thatcher and Major; Physicians or Witch Doctors?
5 Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien and Canada's Encounter with Personalized Leadership
6 Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, and the Australian Experience
7 Toward a Rehabilitation of US Executive Leadership