Newmann, L. Douglas Wilder
Office Hours: 218 Scherer Hall, Tuesday and Thursday 12:30-1:45 and by appointment;
Phone Number: 828-8038: 24 hours a day: I have voice mail. E-mail: email@example.com
Newmann's home page
with links to other course syllabi (http://www.people.vcu.edu/~wnewmann)
Links to the Presidency that will be useful or interesting (some might even be both).
Polls and Sites with Electoral College Charts
· Gallup Poll Index (with topics indexed)
Sites with Excellent non-partisan political coverage
· Real Clear Politics links to articles from everywhere
· Politico comprehensive coverage of political events
Possible the two most important sites that exist (These examine claims made by politicians, candidates, and pundits. Are they true or are they half-truths, or are they complete lies. It also checks media stories and official pronouncements of the president and congress)
· 270 to Win (info on presidential elections)
· Dave Leip’s Atlas of US Presidential Elections info on every US presidential election and more
The presidency is a huge topic. Recognizing this, the course will take a sweeping look at the US Presidency, arguably the single most powerful office in the history of the planet. Getting a handle on the presidency is a difficult, if not impossible job. Probably the best way to start learning about the subject is to think of the US presidency as the nexus of three streams: (1) the times -- the ebb and flow of American political culture, national trends, and international historical forces; (2) the presidency -- the office and powers of the institution as it has evolved from the US Constitution to the media-focused, celebrity Presidency of the 1980s and 1990s; and (3) The president -- the character, vision, strengths and weaknesses of the man or woman who occupies the Oval Office. As these three streams come together the political history of the nation is shaped. The US has been called a "Presidential Nation." It is in the office of the presidency where the US people have decided to place power time and again. In the historical grappling for power between the president and Congress the US people have continually sided with the president. It is the place where we look for leadership, and direction. The person who occupies that office is given a stature like no other. (Has anyone seen any monuments to senators or representatives?) The president gets too much credit when things go well and too much blame when things go wrong. For better or worse, the president has become the embodiment of the nation, and therefore, his or her character, personal habits and infirmities become the stuff of national obsession, and national security. (During the 1980s, the polyps on Ronald Reagan's colon received more media attention than the workings of the Federal Reserve.)
The office of the president is the repository of the greatest powers in the land, not just in terms of physical power (the authority to use military force, even nuclear weapons), but moral power -- the ability to shift the ethical standards of a nation and to influence, if not define, the national mood. Our presidential elections often focus on issues of personal character, not issues of economic, social or foreign policy. We seem to be choosing not simply someone to run the country, but someone to represent us -- half-prime minister, half-monarch. Our choices see to depend on the national mood.
One of the key issues in the study of the presidency focuses on what really accounts for presidential decisions. Those who have an institutional perspective believe that the president is no match for the political pressures of congress, the political environment, and the American people. He responds to them in ways that try to preserve his power by using his own institutional powers. Every president will react roughly the same to the same institutional forces. The other perspective, often called the persuasion or bargaining model, sees leadership of the president as the key determinant of decisions. The president matters -- his character, his leadership style, his political skills.
This is the central point we should focus on: Is it possible for a president to "succeed" in "modern" times? What do I mean by "succeed?" It is best to take ideological judgments out of the definition of success. We should not try to define success subjectively -- in terms of individual political goals that those on one side or the other of the political spectrum might have, such as reducing poverty through government action or shrinking the size of the welfare state. Using these notions as the judgment of success would lead to endless debate about the purposes of government from a partisan point of view. We’ll probably have a little bit of that, but we don't want it to dominate the course. It is better to try for some scholarly objectivity, by defining success in the following manner -- did the president achieve what he set out to do? Whether you, as an individual, shared the goals of one president or another, is irrelevant to this question. Analytically, the focus should be upon how successful was any president in attaining the goals that he sets for himself.
By the "modern" presidency I refer to the presidency as it has been defined since Franklin Roosevelt. It is FDR who, with the help of national crises of the Depression and WW II, transformed the presidency into the focus of power that it is today. He also raised expectations so high that it is doubtful that any president can meet those expectations for any length of time. Can the job be done? That is what we will focus on during the course of the semester. We will examine the powers of the presidency, the men who have held the office and the shifting demands that our political culture places on both the office and the individual.
Some of the issues we will discuss include: The
Presidency and the Constitution; Presidential Character; The Roosevelt
Revolution; "The Personal Presidency;" Presidential Management
Styles; Bureaucracy, Organizations, and Presidential Power; The "Imperial
Presidency" and Foreign Policy; The White House Staff and its power; Watergate
and the abuse of power; The post-Watergate Presidency; The Reagan Revolution;
The President and the media; Presidential Campaigns; Expectations of the
President; Image making; Shifting Coalitions in Presidential Voting; Red and
Blue America; And more, other issues you might bring up.
Texts: You need to read them; you don't need to buy them. There is a lot of reading for this course, but it is fun reading. I've tried to keep the dry political science textbook style to a minimum. I've assigned mostly journalistic accounts that are entertaining and educational.
The books are available at the Virginia Book Company (intersection of Shafer and Franklin) and the VCU Bookstore. Some of them may be found also at the large chain bookstores in town (Borders, Barnes and Noble). You might find them there at a discount. If anyone has problems getting access to the texts, for any reason, let me know as soon as possible so you don't get too far behind in the reading. You may find these texts other places; be sure you get an edition of the text that includes everything that is in the edition I have assigned. Some of these books have been placed on reserve.
System: Grades will be determined
through the following:
30% of the grade
35% of the grade
May 3: 1:00-3:50, same room
35% of the grade
How do you calculate your grade? Use the percentages from the above table. So, if you received the following grades, you would calculate your grades in the following manner:
I give you this very detailed formula for a number of reasons. You should never be unaware of what your class average is. You can calculate it at any point in the semester. If your grade is not what you'd like it to be, you should know, and you should come see me about it. Please don’t wait to come to my office hours until after the final exam and say then tell me that you're having trouble in the class. It's too late at that point; there’s nothing that I’d be able to do to help at that point. But any time in the semester that you feel you are having trouble, or not doing as well as you feel you should, come talk to me. During my office hours and by appointment I am happy to talk to you about the class
Grading scale: I use a typical scale: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 55-69. Borderline grades are considered in the following manner.
· If your grade is 69.5, 79.5, or 89.5 or higher, then you may be a candidate for a round up to the higher grade (Notice those numbers in the sentence; do not ask for a higher grade if your average is a 68 or 78 or 88 or lower; those are not borderline averages).
· You may become a candidate if your grades are borderline and if your grades have been going up during the semester.
· That means that if you are borderline, but your last exam is lower than the previous exams (you are between a B and C, but your third exam is a C for example), you will probably get the lower grade.
· If you are borderline, and your last exam is higher than the previous exams (you are between a B and C, but your third exam is a B), you will probably get the higher grade.
· Another factor I consider is the typical grade you receive. Let’s say we have three grades for the class and two are grades of B and one is a C (bad day) and your average is a 79.6, you are a candidate for receiving a B. If you have three grades and two grades are grades of C and one is a grade of B, you are probably not candidate for a round up to the next grade.
· There is no extra credit for this class. Please do not ask.
One more thing: The withdrawal date is March 23
EXAMS: The exams will be short answer and essay. One week before the exam I will place a review sheet on line, linked to this syllabus, below this paragraph. This review sheet should be used as your study guide for the exam. The review sheet will include some terms that are from the readings only, so that you can go back and review those items from the readings. Once you have the review sheet, feel free to ask me questions about the terms. This is the best way to study for the exam. If you understand the terms on the review sheet, you can define each one and see how each one relates to the larger concepts and issues we've discussed in class, you should do just fine on the exam. The exams will consist of short answer/identifications and one essay. I will give more details on the exams in class as we approach the first exam.
Research Paper: Follow this link for information. Paper Topics will be chosen in consultation with me. Details can be found in the link above and I will explain in class. The paper is due April 10. You may turn in an outline, rough draft, partial paper, whatever, for review up until one week before the paper is due (April 3). This is optional, just something to help you out if you have questions. The following instructions are important. Please pay attention to them. If you don't you will wind up hurting your grade:
· LATE PAPERS: The late penalty is ten points per day, meaning that after class begins your paper, if a 95, is now an 85, after two days it is a 75, after three it is a 65, and so on down to zero.
Attendance and Class Behavior
First, I will be passing out an attendance sheet each class period. I have noticed the past few semesters that some students feel class attendance is optional. They feel that way until they get back their first exam then they want to do extra credit to get their grade back up. The simple answer is: be there the first time. Second, you may use computers in class to take notes. However, that is all you should be doing with your computer – taking notes. If you surf the web, check your facebook page or play Angry Birds etc, you will be disrupting other students in the class. They can see your computer. This qualifies as the type of class behavior that can result in your removal from the class.
COURSE AND RE
Week 1: January 16-20: Origins of the Presidency
Rudalevige, Chapters 1 and 2.
Brownstein, Chapters 1 and 2.
Week 2: January 23-27: Pre-Modern Presidency
Sloan, Chapter 2, Chapter 4, pp. 66-82, and Chapter 5
Week 3 January 30-February 3: The Roosevelt Legacy
Sloan, Chapters 7 and 9
Week 4: February 6-10: Management and Leadership: Truman, Eisenhower, and JFK
Paper Topic Due, February 9
Sloan, Chapter 11
Brownstein, Chapter 3
Greenberg, Preface and Chapter 1
Week 5: February 13-17: LBJ and the Power of Persuasion
Greenberg, Chapters 2 and 4
Week 6: February 20-24: Nixon’s Rise and Fall
Greenberg, Chapters 6 and 8
Brownstein, Chapter 6
Week 7: February 27-March 2: The Post-Watergate, Post-Vietnam Presidency: Ford and Carter
Rudalevige, Chapters 3 and 4
Week 8: March 5-9: The Reagan Realignment
Exam 1: March 8
Brownstein, Chapter 4
Spring Break March 12-16 Have fun, but don’t do anything that we can watch on the web next week.
Week 9: March 19-23: Reagan and the Economic Context
Sloan, Chapters 3, 4 (pp. 82-100), 6 and 8
March 23 is the Withdrawal date for the class
Week 10: March 26-30: The Post-Reagan Presidency
Sloan, Chapters 10 and 12
Rudalevige, Chapter 5
Bush 41 and Clinton: Party Philosophy
Week 11: April 2-6: The Wacky 1990s
Last for turning in optional rough draft: April 3
Brownstein, Chapter 5
Klein, Prologue and Chapters 1-3.
Week 12:April 9-13 : Bush 43 and Presidential Power
Research Paper due April 10 (at the beginning of class)
Klein, Chapter 4-8
Week 13: April 16-20: The Power of the Crisis Presidency
Rudalevige, Chapter 7
Brownstein, Chapter 7
Week 14: April 23-27: From Bush to Obama
Brownstein, Chapter 8
Todd and Gawiser, Introduction and at least four descriptions of each type of state
Week 15: May 1: The Recession Presidency
Brownstein, Chapter 9 and 10
Exam 2: May 3 1:00-3:50, same room; note the time change
Email Policy Electronic mail or "email" is considered an official method for communication at VCU because it delivers information in a convenient, timely, cost effective, and environmentally aware manner. This policy ensures that all students have access to this important form of communication. It ensures students can be reached through a standardized channel by faculty and other staff of the University as needed. Mail sent to the VCU email address may include notification of University-related actions, including disciplinary action. Please read the policy in its entirety: http://www.ts.vcu.edu/kb/3407.html
VCU Honor System: Plagiarism and Academic Integrity The VCU honor system policy describes the responsibilities of students, faculty, and administration in upholding academic integrity, while at the same time respecting the rights of individuals to the due process offered by administrative hearings and appeals. According to his policy, “members of the academic community are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity.” In addition, “All members of the VCU community are presumed to have an understanding of the VCU Honor System and are required to:
Most importantly, “All VCU students are presumed upon enrollment to have acquainted themselves with and have an understanding of the Honor System.” (The VCU INSIDER, VCU Honor System 131-132).
The Honor System in its entirety can be reviewed on the Web at http://www.provost.vcu.edu/pdfs/Honor_system_policy.pdf or it can be found in the 2011-12 VCU Insider at http://www.students.vcu.edu/insider.html
In this class, because coursework will be collaborative at times, particular issues of integrity arise. You should not copy or print another student’s work without permission. Any material (this includes IDEAS and LANGUAGE) from another source must be credited, whether that material is quoted directly, summarized, or paraphrased. In other words, you should respect the work of others and in no way present it as their own.
Student Conduct in the Classroom According to the VCU Resource Guide, “The instructional program at VCU is based upon the premise that students enrolled in a class are entitled to receive instruction free from interference by other students. Accordingly, in classrooms, laboratories, studies, and other learning areas, students are expected to conduct themselves in an orderly and cooperative manner so that the faculty member can proceed with their [sic] customary instruction. Faculty members (including graduate teaching assistants) may set reasonable standards for classroom behavior in order to serve these objectives. If a student believes that the behavior of another student is disruptive, the instructor should be informed.” Among other things, cell phones and beepers should be turned off while in the classroom. Also, the University Rules and Procedures prohibit anyone from having “…in his possession any firearm, other weapon, or explosive, regardless of whether a license to possess the same has been issued, without the written authorization of the President of the university..." See http://www.students.vcu.edu/rg/policies/rg7conductguide.html and the VCU Resource Guide for more information: http://www.students.vcu.edu/insider.html
The VCU Resource Guide contains additional important information about a number of other policies with which students should be familiar, including Guidelines on Prohibition of Sexual Harassment, Grade Review Procedure, and Ethics Policy on Computing. It also contains maps, phone numbers, and information about resources available to VCU students. The VCU Resource Guide is available online at the link above or through the Division of Student Affairs.
Students with Disabilities SECTION 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 require that VCU provide an “academic adjustment” and/or a “reasonable accommodation” to any individual who advises us of a physical and/or mental disability. To receive accommodations, students must declare their need for disability-related accommodations with the Disability Support Services Office (DSS). The DSS office is located in the Student Commons, Room 102. The office phone number is 828-2253. The Director of Disability Support Services is Joyce Knight. More information is available at the Disability Support Services webpage: http://www.students.vcu.edu/dss/
If you have a physical or mental impairment that requires an academic adjustment or accommodation, arrange a meeting with me at your earliest convenience. Additionally, if your coursework requires you to work in a lab environment, you should advise me or department chairperson of any concerns you may have regarding safety issues related to your limitation(s). This statement applies not only to this course but also to every other course in this University.
on Military Short-Term Training or Deployment
Military students may receive orders for short-term training or deployment. These students are asked to inform and present their orders to their professor(s). For further information on policies and procedures contact Military Services at 828-5993 or access the corresponding policies at http://www.pubapps.vcu.edu/bulletins/about/?Default.aspx?uid=10096&iid=30704 and http://www.pubapps.vcu.edu/BULLETINS/undergraduate/?uid=10096&iid=30773.
Excused Absences for Students Representing the University
Please be aware that students who represent the university (athletes and others) do not choose their schedules. Student athletes are required to attend games and/or meets. All student athletes will give you their schedule in the beginning of the semester. The Intercollegiate Athletic Council (IAC) strongly encourages you to treat missed classes or exams (because of a scheduling conflict) as excused absences and urges you to work with the students to make up the work or exam.
Campus Emergency information
Important Dates Important dates for the Spring 2012 semester are available at: http://academiccalendars.vcu.edu/ac_fullViewAll.asp?term=Spring+2012http://academiccalendars.vcu.edu/ac_fullViewAll.asp?term=Spring+2012
VCU Mobile The VCU Mobile application is a valuable tool to get the latest VCU information on the go. The application contains helpful information including the VCU directory, events, course schedules, campus maps, athletics and general VCU news, emergency information, library resources, Blackboard and more. To download the application on your smart phone or for more information, please visit http://m.vcu.edu/http://m.vcu.edu/.
registration required for attendance
Please remember that students may only attend those classes for which they have registered. Faculty may not add students to class rosters. Therefore, if students are attending a class for which they have not registered, they must stop attending.