The Obama Presidency

A Preliminary Assessment

Edited by Robert P. Watson, Jack Covarrubias, Tom Lansford, and Douglas M. Brattebo

Subjects: Presidency, The, Political Science
Series: SUNY series on the Presidency: Contemporary Issues
Paperback : 9781438443287, 457 pages, July 2012
Hardcover : 9781438443294, 457 pages, July 2012

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
PART I. Introduction
1. Rating Presidents and Assessing Obama
Robert P. Watson

PART II. Character and Identity
2. Rhetoric and Image
Casey Malone Maugh

3. Obama’s Lincoln: Image to Ideology
William D. Pederson

4. The Optimist and the Realist
R. Ward Holder

5. Obamania in Europe
Marie des Neiges Léonard

PART III. Politics and Leadership
6. The First Hundred Days
Sean Savage

7. Legislative Leadership
Max J. Skidmore

8. The Firing of General Stanley McChrystal
Douglas M. Brattebo

9. 2010 Midterm Election
Matthew N. Green

PART IV. Domestic Policy
10. U.S. Auto Industry Rescue
Steven A. Stuglin

11. Environmental Policy and Global Climate Change
Byron W. Daynes & Glen Sussman

12. Food and Agricultural Policy
Julie A. Lester

13. Health Care Reform
Michael K. Gusmano

14. Response to the Gulf Oil Spill
Matthew A. Williams & Brian Richard

PART V. Foreign Policy and National Security
15. Inherited Wars: Afghanistan and Iraq
Tom Lansford & Jack Covarrubias

16. Iran Policy
Robert J. Pauly

17. China Policy
De-Yuan Kao

18. Counterterrorism Policy
Leonard Cutler

19. Obama, Libya, and War Powers
Louis Fisher

PART VI. The Obama Administration
20. The Policy Czar Debate
Justin S. Vaughn & José D. Villalobos

21. Unilateral Directives
Graham G. Dodds

22. Vice President Joe Biden
Richard M. Yon
23. First Lady Michelle Obama
Robert P. Watson

PART VII. Conclusion
24. Making History
Douglas M. Brattebo & Robert P. Watson

Appendix A: Barack Obama Biography
Appendix B: The Obama Administration
List of Contributors

Lively and engaging essays covering President Obama’s domestic and foreign policy, governing style, and character.


Barack Obama's presidency is a pivotal one in American history, coming at a time of dramatic political change in the United States and amidst an astonishing array of domestic and foreign policy challenges. Not surprisingly, then, the Obama administration has been the focus of intense scrutiny by scholars, the press, and the public, and rarely has the tone of political discourse been more polarized and emotionally charged. In this book a distinguished group of scholars offers an objective and timely examination of the Obama administration; Obama's character, leadership style, and rhetoric; and his domestic, foreign, and national security policies. Engaging, lively, and highly readable, each essay offers important insight into this historic president and presidency.

Robert P. Watson is Professor of American Studies at Lynn University. His many books include George W. Bush: Evaluating the President at Midterm (coedited with Bryan Hilliard and Tom Lansford) and Life in the White House: A Social History of the First Family and the President's House, both also published by SUNY Press. At the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Jack Covarrubias is Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Tom Lansford is Professor of Political Science. Douglas M. Brattebo is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Hiram College.


"The chapters, by an interesting array of scholars, are well written and provide information about a wide array of topics related to the Obama presidency … Highly recommended." — CHOICE

"It is nice to see a book like this published, which examines the Obama presidency without all the vitriol or hate. The contributors do an excellent job of examining how well Obama has done as president in a scholarly manner … This is a book for people who want a more balanced view of President Obama." — San Francisco Book Review

"This book provides one of the most comprehensive examinations of the Obama presidency that I have seen. The scope of coverage is impressive." — Michael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount University