Building Coalitions, Making Policy: The Politics of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Presidencies

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Martin A. Levin, Daniel DiSalvo, Martin M. Shapiro
JHU Press, Apr 13, 2012 - Political Science - 405 pages
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In an age when partisan politics has reached a deafening—and arguably impotent—pitch, how does the real work of politics get done? This book opens the door on backroom politics and gives readers an insider’s perspective on the efforts of policymakers from three presidential administrations to get past the naysayers and effect real and lasting policy changes.

The editors take a comparative approach, offering a thorough overview of policymaking during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, with further discussion of President Obama’s successful and failed attempts to build coalitions and get past no. The contributors, a national network of prominent political scientists, reveal the sausage-making of politics and policy. Readers can almost see the political players in the proverbial smoke-filled room, shirtsleeves rolled up and BlackBerrys in hand, developing the strategies and hammering out the compromises designed to hold the party base while winning over independent voters. Combining an insider’s perspective with actual case studies, the volume examines the policymaking behind such programs as

• No Child Left Behind• tax cuts• Social Security privatization• Medicare prescription drug reform• education and immigration reform• environmental policy• judicial politics• national security

Covering all major areas of policymaking, Building Coalitions, Making Policy gives instructors in political science, public administration and policy, American government, and American presidential studies plenty of provocative examples for classroom debate.


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Building Coalitions and Making Policy from Clinton to Bush to Obama
1 The Electoral Connection and the Dissonant Game of Coalition Building in an Era of Partisan Policymaking
The Bush Administration Compassionate Conservatism and No Child Left Behind
The Political Perils and Opportunities of Immigration Reform
4 Embracing the Third Rail? Social Security Politics from Clinton to Obama
5 The Bush Administration and the Politics of Medicare Reform
The Politics of Tax Reduction in the Bush Administration
7 The Bush Administration and the Uses of Judicial Politics
9 National Security the Electoral Connection and Policy Choice
10 The Dynamics of Presidential Policy Choice and Promotion
Parties and Policymaking in the TwentyFirst Century
12 Bushs Our Crowd
13 Politics Elections and Policymaking
List of Contributors

Bushs Clear Skies Initiative and the Politics of Policymaking

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About the author (2012)

Martin A. Levin is a professor of politics at Brandeis University. His latest book is Creating Competitive Markets: The Politics of Regulatory Reform. Daniel DiSalvo is an assistant professor of political science at the City College of New York (CUNY) and author of Engines of Change: Party Factions in American Politics. Martin M. Shapiro is the James W. and Isabel Coffroth Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of Law and Politics in the Supreme Court.

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