Obama in Office

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Book Info

  • Length: 328 pages
  • Trim size: 6" x 9"

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  • ISBN: 978-1-59451-993-2
  • Publish date: March 2011
  • List Price: $33.95
  • Your Price: $28.86


  • ISBN: 978-1-59451-986-4
  • Publish date: March 2011
  • List Price: $163.00
  • Your Price: $138.55


This book offers the first scholarly assessment of President Obama and his first two years in office. Hundreds of journalistic articles and several books have appeared, but this is the first based on the original scholarship of well-established political scientists, practitioners, and journalists who have studied American political institutions and domestic and international public policy. All come together here to offer a fresh perspective on President Obama and his relationship with Congress, interest groups, and a wide variety of policy making communities.

Because so much has happened to test the administration during this period, this book is not only timely but rich with new insights into the continuing great recession and its jobless recovery, TARP spending, efforts to save the automobile industry, stimulus legislation, historic health care reform along with reform in other key areas including financial regulation, education, taxation, immigration policy, climate change legislation, a historic deficit, the BP oil leak in the Gulf, and the continuation of two wars. Extreme partisanship, deadlock, and anticipation of Republican midterm electoral success have made policy making difficult despite a Democratic majority in Congress.

Looking beyond the midterms, these authors consider the results of 2010, the impact of the Tea Party, and the prospects for 2012. Obama entered office in the midst of the perfect storm; will he exit at the hands of a populist tsunami or return for four more years as the teapot tempest subsides?

Check out James Thurber talking about Obama in Office

Author Info

James A. Thurber is Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. He is author or editor of numerous titles including, most recently, new editions of the classics, Rivals for Power: Presidential-Congressional Relations (2009) and (with Candice J. Nelson) Campaigns and Elections American Style: Transforming American Politics (2009).


"Has any modern president taken office amid higher hopes than Barack Obama did in 2008--only to face a 'shellacking' from the voters just two years later? In this volume, leading political scientists and thinkers examine the polarized public the new president faced, the way his personality has played in the Oval Office, his battles with lobbyists at home, and threats from abroad. With that, they offer a three-dimensional portrait of our 44th president--and important clues to his future."
--Susan Page, Washington Bureau chief, USA TODAY

“…exceptionally valuable for use in the undergraduate classes, precisely because they bring to bear scholarly analysis in an accessible way on political events that students should know from the news of the day.”
--Russell L. Riley, The Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia

"No observer of contemporary American politics can afford to ignore the contributions to this invaluable examination of the Obama presidency at midterm. Professor Thurber is to be commended for assembling such an outstanding cast of commentators."
--Fred I. Greenstein, Princeton University

“A stellar group of academics and practitioners provides a comprehensive overview of Obama’s relations with the other parts of government, the media, and the public and an assessment of his policy accomplishments and disappointments. This book is appropriate for any undergraduate course on the presidency and anyone who is interested in a critical analysis of this historic presidency."
--David T. Canon, University of Wisconsin

“There is no shortage of serious academic books (not to mention partisan screeds) examining the election of Barack Obama and his performance in office over the last two years. Without question, this book is the best of the bunch. Thurber has assembled an all-star cast of political scientists and Washington insiders to contribute to this volume. It is notable not because of its ‘star power’ but because of the quality of the contribution that each author makes to the overall project. These are not ‘thought pieces’ but example of solid academic research. The topics covered hit all the right notes…Students and general readers will enjoy the balanced and incisive essays that compose this important volume. Highly recommended.” --CHOICE October 2011 Vol. 49 No. 02

Also Check Out: James Thurber on The Diane Rehm Show 1/3/11: Segment Page or Audio Page


Chapter 1: An Introduction to an Early Assessment of the Obama Presidency
James A. Thurber


Chapter 2: Obama and the Polarized Public
Gary C. Jacobson

Chapter 3: Obama and the Public Mood
Richard W. Boyd

Chapter 4: Obama’s Personality and Performance
Stephen J. Wayne

Chapter 5: Organizing the Obama White House
James P. Pfiffner


Chapter 6: Congressional Leadership in Obama’s First Two Years
Barbara Sinclair

Chapter 7: A “Post-Partisan” President in a Partisan Context
John E. Owens

Chapter 8: Obama’s Battle with Lobbyists
James A. Thurber


Chapter 9: Fall of the Favorite
Ron Elving

Chapter 10: Communication is Destiny
Scott Lilly


Chapter 11: From Ambition to Desperation on the Budget
Joseph White

Chapter 12: The Politics of Regulation in the Obama Administration
Claudia Hartley Thurber, Esq.

Chapter 13: The Obama Administration and Internet Policy
Douglas E. Van Houweling


Chapter 14: Structural Challenges for American Foreign Policy in the Obama Administration
Jonathan Wilkenfeld

Chapter 15: The Obama Administration and Counterterrorism
Martha Crenshaw

Chapter 16: Obama’s Use of Prerogative Powers in the War on Terrorism
Richard M. Pious

Chapter 17: Reclaiming and Rebuilding American Power
Lawrence J. Korb and Alexander H. Rothman

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