Who Leads Whom?
Presidents, Policy, and the Public
Analyzing the actions of modern presidents ranging from Eisenhower to Clinton, Brandice Canes-Wrone demonstrates that presidents' involvement of the mass public, by putting pressure on Congress, shifts policy in the direction of majority opinion. More important, she also shows that presidents rarely cater to the mass citizenry unless they already agree with the public's preferred course of action. With contemporary politics so connected to the pulse of the American people, Who Leads Whom? offers much-needed insight into how public opinion actually works in our democratic process. Integrating perspectives from presidential studies, legislative politics, public opinion, and rational choice theory, this theoretical and empirical inquiry will appeal to a wide range of scholars of American political processes.
“There is a need for such a book that sharpens our thinking and examines the big questions about leadership, responsiveness, and democracy. Indeed, this is a very ambitious book that succeeds in defining, theorizing about, and rigorously examining presidential pandering as well as substantially advancing political thinking and research.”--Robert Shapiro, Columbia University
“In the remarkably readable Who Leads Whom? Brandice Canes-Wrone not only integrates and extends innovative formal theories of the president, the Congress, and the public but also subjects these and competing theories to uniquely discriminating empirical tests. Scholars who pine for a new state of the art in presidential research should take note. This is it.”
“Brandice Canes-Wrone raises interesting and important new questions about the public presidency and systematically tests her theorizing. A must-read for presidency scholars.”--George C. Edwards III, editor of Presidential Studies Quarterly