A recent c.v. may be found here.
RESEARCH AND WRITING
My dissertation, Managing the President's Program: Centralization
and Legislative Policy Formulation, 1949-1996, won Harvard's Toppan Prize in
June 2000 as the university's best dissertation in political science. The
revised version (with the subtitle "Presidential Leadership and Legislative
Policy Formulation") was published by Princeton University Press in 2002, and
won the APSA's Presidency Research Group Richard E. Neustadt Prize for
the best book on the presidency that year. A preview of the
introductory chapter is available here; the book is available through the
press or other on-line
booksellers. The book develops a theory of "contingent centralization"
predicting when presidents will rely on White House staff as opposed to
departmental resources. It traces the formulation of presidential
legislative proposals from 1949 to 1996, using a wide array of archival sources,
and quantitatively tests the conditions under which presidents follow
centralized strategies. It also shows how different formulation strategies
matter to the proposals' reception in Congress.
Related work includes a closer focus on the politicization and centralization
strategies of Ronald Reagan (for a UCSB conference on the Reagan
presidency and subsequent edited
volume), as well as research with Princton's David E. Lewis exploring the
relationship between politicization and centralization as substitute strategies
for bureaucratic control. Our APSA paper is available through the APSA website.
My second book, The New Imperial Presidency: Renewing Presidential Power after Watergate, was published by the University of Michigan Press in fall 2005 in the series on Contemporary Political and Social Issues edited by Alan Wolfe. The book traces the Constitutional grounding of presidential power and its evolution over time, with particular emphasis on the aftermath of the "imperial presidency" era described in the 1973 book of that name by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. The extensive congressional resurgence against presidential power, I argue, receded almost immediately; the powers claimed by, and delegated to, George W. Bush since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have largely wiped out what elements of the resurgence regime still remained. Presidential power is a vital part of contemporary governance. Yet as Justice Robert Jackson wrote, reliance on executive authority holds both "practical advantages and grave dangers." Congress must reclaim its rightful role as the first branch of the federal government, not to take the place of the president, but to ensure that national policymaking reflects the priorities set by vigorous debate and rigorous oversight. You may find the table of contents and selected chapters from the book here. The argument is updated somewhat in the September 2006 issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly; the article-length version has been reprinted in various recent readers, including two editions of Pfiffner and Davidson's Understanding the Presidency (Pearson) and Jillson and Robertson's Perspectives on American Government (Routledge).
For my commentary on ongoing events relevant to the material in The New Imperial Presidency and ongoing political events, see The Monkey Cage blog.
Or please see (among other outlets):
The George W. Bush Legacy, co-edited with Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, was released by CQ Press in late 2007. It contains thirteen essays by leading scholars in American politics; a full description and table of contents is available here. My chapter, "The Decider," traces the decision-making processes of the Bush executive branch. A series of other chapters in edited volumes sum up aspects of the Bush presidency and its legacy. See, for instance, my essay in Testing the Limits (ed. Rozell and Whitney) and in Assessing George W. Bush's Legacy (ed. Morgan and Davies).
The Obama Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects, again co-edited with Rockman and Campbell, was released by CQ Press in August 2011. It contains fourteen chapters : for a table of contents, see here. My chapter, "Rivals or a Team?", examines the staffing and issue management of the Obama administration in its first term.
As the topics of these books should indicate, I am broadly interested in interbranch relations. I have studied the short but interesting life of the national item veto and its relation to executive-legislative bargaining, the role of contemporary cabinet government, and presidential-congressional relations in general, with regard to the "imperial presidency," and with still more specific regard to the first and second terms of George W. Bush.
Further, I am interested in exploring the president's relationship with his own executive office staff apparatus: how do presidents devise organizational strategies for maximizing the information available to them for decision making? "The Structure of Leadership: Information, Organization, and Presidential Decision Making" won the Presidency Research Group award for best paper presented at the American Political Science Association meetings of 2002, and a revised version (with a slightly different title) appeared in the June 2005 issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly. I returned to this topic with the Obama administration's announced "team of rivals" approach in mind in a recent issue of Governance and in the Obama edited volume noted above.
A book manuscript involves the study of the Bureau of Budget (BoB)/Office of Management and Budget's use to presidents in managing the executive branch and the institutional history of the Budget Bureau; an article on the Truman BoB written with Matthew J. Dickinson appeared in the Winter 2004-05 issue of Political Science Quarterly. A "prequel" on Franklin Roosevelt's BoB appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Congress and the Presidency, and a piece on the bureaucratic entrepreneurialism of early Budget Directors Harold Smith and Jim Webb appears in a recent edited volume entitled Formative Acts (Penn, 2007) after being presented at a Yale University conference on American Political Development. Studies of the 1960s BoB and the Nixon-era shift from the BoB to the Office of Management and Budget, are underway and will be included in our book in progress, with a working title of "The President Needs Help": OMB and the Paradox of the Politicized Presidency, 1921-2012.
A related book project addresses the broader powers of the president as "chief executive." It examines presidents' efforts to control bureaucratic behavior, through means ranging from the appointments process to the use of executive memoranda and signing statements. The literature currently assumes that these actions are (a) truly unilateral and (b) automatically effective, but a century of public administration theory (and two-plus centuries of American history) suggest these assumptions should be complicated by empirical scrutiny. An early version of that scrutiny, studying the formulation and impact of executive orders, was presented at the 2011 APSA meetings in Seattle under the title "Context and Constraint in Presidential Unilateralism."
Finally, I am interested in the formulation and implementation of national
policy, especially in the area of education. A study of the accountability
politics of the 2001 education reform law, written under the auspices of
Harvard's Program on Education Policy
and Governance, appears in the volume No
Child Left Behind?, edited by Paul Peterson and Marty West (Brookings,
2003). Other research examines NCLB's implemenation and interaction with
the legal strategies behind state-level "adequacy" lawsuits, and appears in West
and Peterson's School Money
Trials (Brookings, 2007). An essay analyzing the politics of student aid in
higher education policymaking appears in Rick Hess's volume Footing the
Tuition Bill (AEI Press, 2007). More recently an essay on "Structure and Science in Education Research," in When Research Matters (Harvard Education Press, 2008) traces the way education research has been organized in the federal government, and how this has structured political battles over its functions and findings; this was updated as an assessment of the Institute of Education Sciences in Education Next in 2009. Most recently I contributed to a conference on the lessons of federal involvement in education over the past half century, focusing on the structure of implementation in the American political system. That paper will appear in a volume published by Harvard Education Press in 2012.