Veteran White House correspondent Walsh (Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House) provides an uncontroversial review of efforts by presidents—from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama—to maintain contact with the American people, despite their isolation in office. Arguing that the presidents who do this best have the most successful administrations, Walsh traces the evolution of the key technique of polling, which has become an indispensable tool. The author notes that polls are not always reliable, but they enable both a sampling of public opinion and a means of shaping that opinion. Other methods of keeping a finger on the public pulse include monitoring the media, sampling letters from constituents, consulting legislators and friends, and conversations with citizens. Unfortunately, Walsh doesn’t offer a concrete escape plan for breaking out of the gilded prison of the White House—a goal that might well be impractical anyway. Nevertheless, students of political science and history will find this to be a worthwhile reflection on how the presidency has evolved. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013 Release date: 05/01/2013 Genre: Nonfiction
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 256 pages - 978-1-61205-319-6
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