Neustadt starts his book with a sober appraisal of the American Presidency. He states that the American people tend to rate a President "from the moment he takes office . . . we are quite right to do so . . . his office has become the focal point of politics and policy in our political system" (Neustadt, p.1). He also argues that "we often make our judgments upon images of office that are far removed from the reality" (Neustadt, p.1). It is this discrepancy between image and reality which is one of the most important elements of Neustadt's book. Neustadt also argues that while it is perhaps natural to concentrate on the President as a single individual, a more accurate portrayal would consider the "presidency" as an institution that includes "two thousand men and women" (Neustadt, p.1). The overall argument that Neustadt makes is that Presidents who lead by persuasion rather than relying upon Constitutional power are more successful. While there are complex reasons for this, the overarching reason is that the President is innately weak under the US Constitution according to Neustadt.
How can President Clinton be viewed through the prism of Neustadt's theory of the Presidency Bob Woodward's The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House takes a very close and unsparing look at the first one hundred days of the Clinton presidency. ...Show more