Julian Zelizer: President's Bully Pulpit is Not What It Used To Be
Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University, is the author of “Jimmy Carter” and the editor of “The Presidency of George W. Bush.”
At key moments in his presidency, Barack Obama has struggled to win the support of the American people through the power of his oratory. The power of persuasion has traditionally been one of the most powerful weapons of the commander in chief.
On Wednesday, in his most recent effort to recreate the power of the bully pulpit in the modern age of communication, the president conducted a town hall tweet session on the White House Twitter account, which enjoys more than 2 million followers. This is the latest effort in a series of attempts to use social media, such his Facebook town hall, to communicate to the American people.
Thus far, however, President Obama has had trouble taking his case directly to the public. This is ironic and puzzling since he was the candidate who dazzled Americans during the 2008 campaign, including many Republicans.
How can this be? Throughout the 20th century, presidents used the bully pulpit to win public support. President Theodore Roosevelt courted reporters and delivered major speeches, covered by most of the newspapers, on key legislation such as railroad regulation and food inspection....
comments powered by Disqus
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History