PLEDGE NOW
The President And The Bully Pulpit

Barack Obama and presidential leadership. The “juice” question. Does he have it?

President Barack Obama answers questions during his new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. (AP)

President Barack Obama answers questions during his new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. (AP)

Mr. President, do you still have “the juice” to do the job?  What a question, at the hundred-day mark of a president’s second term.  But that’s the question President Obama got this week, at his Tuesday press conference, from Jonathan Karl of ABC News.  Do you still have the juice, Mr. President?  Oooph.

Barack Obama has faced implacable opposition from a Republican Party with a whip hand in the House and the filibuster.  But what can, should a president – this president – do when he’s up against it?  And does he have the juice?

This hour, On Point:  presidential leadership and “the juice.”

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

George Edwards, professor of political science at Texas A&M. Professor of American government at the University of Oxford. Author of several books on American presidents including “Overreach: Leadership in the Obama Presidency,” and “The Strategic President: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership.”

Beverly Gage, professor of history at Yale University. An expert on 20th-Century U.S. history, including the presidency. (@beverlygage)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times (Maureen Dowd): No Bully in the Pulpit — President Obama has watched the blood-dimmed tide drowning the ceremony of innocence, as Yeats wrote, and he has learned how to emotionally connect with Americans in searing moments, as he did from the White House late Friday night after the second bombing suspect was apprehended in Boston. Unfortunately, he still has not learned how to govern.

National Journal: The Myth of the Bully Pulpit — “The method of transportation and the speed of communication have changed—but not the supreme confidence of presidents that they can use words to move votes. For Ronald Reagan, it was his oft-stated warning to lawmakers, ‘When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.’ Reagan was called the Great Communicator, but his attempts to use his eloquence to move Congress most often came up short. That is the conclusion of George C. Edwards III, the presidential historian at Texas A&M University who has conducted the most in-depth study of the bully pulpit and who suggests this White House should lower its expectations for the current exercise.”

The Washington Post: President Obama vs Congress, Explained — “In Obama’s defense, he suffers a bit from what I’ll call Caro Syndrome — where we live in the universe in which everyone sees the post of Senate majority leader and president through the lens of Robert Caro and LBJ. That’s just a bit ridiculous. The idea that someone can be bullied into voting their way just doesn’t work in this era of freelance congressmen relying on superPACs. Harry Reid fumes every time someone wishes he could be like LBJ (for what it’s worth, mild-mannered Mike Mansfield accomplished a helluva lot more than LBJ ever did as majority leader).”

Excerpt: ‘Overreach’ by George Edwards

Excerpt: ‘The Strategic President’ by George Edwards

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2015
Federal investigators respond to the scene of a shooting at the Grand Theatre on Thursday, July 23, 2015, in Lafayette, La. (AP)

Guns, background checks, and mass shootings. A new outcry over the system that decide who gets a gun and who doesn’t.

Jul 29, 2015
The transit area at Terminal 3 in Singapore's Changi Airport, ranked as the world's best airport by SkyTrax, a UK-based travel consultancy. (WikiCommons / Jay8g)

New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to be torn down and rebuilt. We’ll consider what makes a great airport now, and how the US stacks up to the global competition.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 28, 2015
A portion of the cover of Julia Pierpont's debut novel, "Among the Ten Thousand Things." (Courtesy Random House)

Writer Julia Pierpont is getting rave reviews for her debut novel — “Among the Ten Thousand Things” — about a marriage in crisis. She joins us.

 
Jul 28, 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama, center left , and Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn review an honor guard at the National Palace in Addis Ababa , Ethiopia, Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP)

The United States and Africa. What we see in and beyond President Obama’s big visit.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Q & A: Scott Walker On The Iran Deal, Huckabee Comments
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker explains his opposition to the Iran Deal, his record of statewide electoral victory and why he feels he’s set to win the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

More »
Comment
 
Q & A: Carly Fiorina On Trump, Sexism, And Being Cut From The GOP Debate
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

Republican Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of computer giant Hewlett-Packard, joined guest host John Harwood to talk Donald Trump, the upcoming Republican candidate debate and sexism in modern life.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The News: July 24, 2015
Friday, Jul 24, 2015

You all really, really love to listen to our week in the news segments (that’s great) and we wonder why. Plus: Alex Trebek can’t really sing, in case you were wondering.

More »
2 Comments