SPRING TERM, 00-2 PROF. ROCKMAN
This course examines the U.S. presidency from the perspective of its leadership role in the
American political system. Historical and comparative dimensions of this role are emphasized; that is, how has the presidency evolved over time, and in what ways can we compare the presidency to top executive leadership roles in other political democracies? From the vantage point of the political leadership role, the processes of presidential selection (nomination and election) are analyzed as are presidential capacities to sustain popular support and backing from other political leaders. The ways in which presidents differ in their leadership styles, skills, executive management, and their roles as decisionmakers are also analyzed for their consequences. The ways in which the office of the presidency and its responsibilities may be evolving also provide a focal point of examination. Our examination of the presidency is set within the peculiar institutional structures of the American political system. To understand the American presidency, we have to understand foremost the system in which it functions. And understanding the American political system is no easy matter!
A final take home examination will be given. In addition one short mid-term paper will be assigned during the course of the term. The due date for it will be announced in class. You will have at least a week to work on it. In all written work, I emphasize the importance of analytic and integrative thinking. Class participation also figures into my final evaluation. I expect students to have read assigned materials for the course by the session for which they are assigned, and I expect students to participate actively in class on the basis of their readings. Of the written component of your final grade, the take home final examination will count for 2/3, and the short paper will count for 1/3. I tend to bend this a bit for improvement, and also consider your activity in class.
Should you wish to reach me, my office phone number is 648-7283. Only the last five digits are necessary if you are calling from within the university. Appointments may be scheduled by calling me at the number above. My office is 4R21 Forbes Quadrangle. My e-mail is <BROCKMAN+@PITT.EDU>.
The following books should be purchased for this course at the Pitt Book Center. All are in
Michael Nelson (ed.), The Presidency and the Political System, 6th edition. (CQ Press, 2000).
Richard E. Neustadt, Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan. (The Free Press, 1990).
Thomas E. Cronin and Michael Genovese, The Paradoxes of the Modern Presidency (Oxford University Press, 1998).
Charles O. Jones, Passages to the Presidency: From Campaigning to Governing (Brookings Institution Press, 1998).
Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman (eds.), The Clinton Legacy (Chatham House, 2000).
READING AND COURSE OUTLINE
I. Theories of the Presidency and the American Political System
II. The Presidency in Historical Context
III. The Presidency in Comparative Context
IV. Getting There: The Selection Process
VI. Staying There: The Political Presidency
VII. Being There: Governing in a Separated System
VIII. "The Presidential Branch" and the Executive Branch - Organizations, Politics, and Policy
IX. Presidents as Decision Makers and Policy Makers
X. The President as Variable
XI. The Presidency and the American Political System Reappraised