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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Shafer, Byron / Disalvo, Daniel

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Obama's "Big Bang" Presidency

Steven E Schier1

1Carleton College

Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 8, Issue 3, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: 10.2202/1540-8884.1392, October 2010

Publication History

Published Online:

Barack Obama’s large policy ambitions have made him a highly polarizing figure for Americans, just as his predecessor George W. Bush, also a person of grand ambitions, had been. Obama has pursued a “directive” presidency, in which the chief executive serves as the director of change, who creates opportunities to move in new directions and lead others where they otherwise would not go. One consequence of this is growing popular disapproval of Obama’s presidential agenda. Maintaining popular support is hard and frustrating work, and in seeking to maintain it, presidents encounter widespread constraints. Recent presidents in times of popular disapproval have resorted to emphatic employment of executive powers. In such a situation, a president, by unresponsively trying to direct events, can effectively destroy his popular support—the presidential power trap. That is the central threat to Obama’s presidency at present.

Keywords: Obama; presidency; 2010 election

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