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The rise of the president's permanent campaign /

Main Author: Doherty, Brendan J.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, 2012
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Review by Choice Review

For decades, students of congressional elections have documented and bemoaned the permanent campaign and its implications for governing. Members of Congress are dogged by the specter of the next election; pressured to raise money and watch their electoral "backs," they are unable to govern effectively. Presidents have not been subject to the same analysis and critique; it has been assumed that they govern for three years and electioneer in the fourth year of their term. Doherty (US Naval Academy) justifiably applies the common assumption that members of Congress are "single-minded seekers of reelection" to presidents in this well-written, well-researched book. He marshals considerable evidence to demonstrate that modern presidents are constantly in campaign mode, and that the pressure to operate as such has intensified over the last four decades. Doherty documents the development of presidents as fund-raiser- and party-builder-in-chief. He describes and explains the logic behind presidential travel, and the increasing involvement of White House staff in the electoral calculations of presidents, admirably employing archival evidence to support his contentions. He concludes by discussing the implications of the permanent campaign, including the implications for presidential governance. Students of the presidency should take note of this book. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. S. Q. Kelly California State University Channel Islands

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

The idea of the "permanent campaign" is not a new one, but no scholar to date has delved into the detail of what that means for U.S. presidents to the degree that Doherty (political science, U.S. Naval Acad.) has done here. His book is based primarily on a database constructed through careful examination of the public papers of U.S. presidents from Carter through Obama to gather empirical evidence on the frequency, nature, and location of presidential fund-raising events over those years. Doherty found that both travel and fund-raising have risen sharply across the administrations he studied, and that "battleground" states are disproportionately the destinations when a president travels from the White House. Doherty's archival research on the rise of the White House Office of Political Affairs corroborates these data. VERDICT While Doherty warns against the president's increasingly becoming a "divisive figure" with an eye always on the next election, general (rather than academic) readers will be better served by other books saying similar things, such as The Permanent Campaign and Its Future, edited by Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann, or Kathryn Dunn Tenpas's Presidents as Candidates. But any scholar looking for hard evidence to support what is a widespread suspicion will welcome Doherty's contribution.-Bob Nardini, Niagara Falls, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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