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Predicting the PresidencyThe Potential of Persuasive Leadership$
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George C., III Edwards

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691170374

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691170374.001.0001

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Different Questions, Different Answers

Different Questions, Different Answers

(p.53) Chapter 4 Different Questions, Different Answers
Predicting the Presidency

George C. Edwards III

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the relative utility of the strategic position and persuasion perspectives in explaining the potential of presidential leadership by focusing on several prominent issues arising since Barack Obama’s reelection. In discussions of presidential success, we want to know the contribution of persuasion and whether other factors offer more powerful explanations. For his failures, we want to investigate whether a dependency on persuasion contributed to them, whether aspects of his strategic position were critical to the outcome, and whether we can gain analytical leverage by asking if the president understood and effectively exploited his strategic position. The chapter considers issues that share some key aspects of the president’s opportunity structure, including taxation policy, sequestration, gun control, and government shutdown. It shows that the strategic position perspective leads us to ask different questions regarding presidential leadership—and encourages us to arrive at different, and better, answers.

Keywords:   strategic position, persuasion, presidential leadership, Barack Obama, presidential success, opportunity structure, taxation policy, sequestration, gun control, government shutdown

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