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The Presidential Difference

The Presidential Difference - 0 In The Presidential...

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1 In The Presidential Difference by Fred Greenstein, Greenstein analyzes the leadership style of the “modern presidents” a term that describes FDR to George W. Bush. Greenstein points out that recently the presidential role has seen a great increase in power, and that is why it is also important to realize that the American people reap the effects of the current president’s skills and personality. Greenstein determines the significance of a president by rating him in six categories those categories are “public communicator,” “organizational capacity,” “political skill,” “vision of public policy,” “cognitive style,” and “emotional intelligence.” Greenstein does an excellent job of highlighting a president’s shortcomings as well as his amazing ability to lead in times of great circumstance as well as in a period of general placidness. Once finishing Greenstein’s book one may surmise that Greenstein believes that the presidential office’s instability is its greatest weakness and perhaps its greatest strength it provides the government with an ability to adapt in many different circumstances for example President Carter’s ability to negotiate a peace talk between long time enemies Israel and Egypt even though most will agree Carter lacked an ability to contribute to the “normal process of political give and take. Carter provides a reminder that presidents need not simply respond to circumstances, and must make opportunity their servant, engaging in acts of political creativity” (215). Greenstein uses a quote by Clark M. Clifford, 1972 to start chapter fourteen Clifford says “The executive branch of our government is like a chameleon. To a startling degree it reflects the character and personality of the President” (Clark M. Clifford as quoted by Greenstein 211). Greenstein manages to not rank presidents and instead review’s each president’s failures, limitations, successes, and strengths. Greenstein attempts to write about each president with neutrality by removing his affiliation with a political party and forming his opinion based on the president’s political actions, a task I believe he performs wonderfully. It is important to analyze
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2 Greenstein’s critique of the modern presidents in order to establish a more clear view of the presidency and its past incumbents. Franklin Roosevelt has rightfully more positives and negative qualities. One should agree with Greenstein’s assessment that his strengths are definitely his rhetoric, his ability to exude confidence into people and his amazing political skill. Greenstein believes that FDR’s organizational arrangements were chaotic. On the other hand one could believe in FDR’s “competitive theory of Administration” as quoted by Arthur Schlesinger a well respected political historian, was an effective political tool for extracting the emotion, and passion out of an aide’s ideas. FDR’s strong belief in debate matched his aides against each other which
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