By Charles O. Jones
Examines the careers of 4 presidents and explores the ways that the political approach is altering their function.
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Extra info for Passages to the Presidency: From Campaigning to Governing
However, four, all governors, lacked any Washington experience. Only Kennedy completely lacked executive experience, though service as a lieutenant governor (Harding) barely qualifies and that as vice president (Nixon and Bush) depends greatly on how the president defines the position. As shown in table 1-3, the regenerated presidencies are of two types: those reelected to a second term (or a third and fourth for Franklin D. Roosevelt) and those vice presidents serving out a term who were then elected on their own.
2 I confess to imagining in advance that contemporary campaigning deprives candidates of the experiences that prepared past presidents to govern. For example, candidates now surround themselves with merchandising specialists, not politicians upon whom they can depend later to bargain with other politicians. Consequently, today's presidents have a task for which their predecessors were better preparedthat is, connecting with other major decisiomakers. Further, they are likely to employ a coterie of advisers oriented more to the outside than the inside, more to the public and media than to legislators, governors, and bureaucrats.
The people have made their decision; why not install a new government? Thus, for example, Jacques Chirac was elected president of France on May 7, 1995, and the sitting president, François Mitterrand, announced that he would step down even before the end of his term on May 20, 1995. On May 1, 1997, British voters chose a Labour party majority, and on May 2 the moving vans were removing the defeated prime minister's household goods from No. 10 Downing Street. By comparison, the United States maintains a leisurely pace in changing the head of state, waiting two and one half months to install the new president, during which time the transitionthat uniquely American political exercisetakes place.