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  • Originally published 02/28/2014

    What's Missing from Obama's Presidency

    Kenneth Weisbrode

    If Obama the president is supposed to embody a "stable pluralism," how can he inspire the rest of us to transcend it?

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Joseph Nye: Do Presidents Really Steer Foreign Policy?

    Joseph S. Nye Jr. is a University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard. This article and the accompanying sidebar are adapted from his upcoming book, Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era.The 21st century began with an extraordinary imbalance in world power. The United States was the only country able to project military force globally; it represented more than a quarter of the world economy, and had the world’s leading soft-power resources in its universities and entertainment industry. America’s primacy appeared well established.Americans seemed to like this situation. In the 2012 presidential campaign, both major-party candidates insisted that American power was not in decline, and vowed that they would maintain American primacy. But how much are such promises within the ability of presidents to keep? Was presidential leadership ever essential to the establishment of American primacy, or was that primacy an accident of history that would have occurred regardless of who occupied the Oval Office?

  • Originally published 01/23/2013

    In Defense of Transactional Presidents

    Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

    Five presidents: Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter. Taken in 1991.Many people assume that leaders with transformational objectives and an inspirational style are better or more ethical than leaders with more modest objectives and a transactional style. We tend to think of Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan as more impressive than Dwight Eisenhower or George H. W. Bush. Leadership theorists often dismiss transactional leaders as mere “managers.” But that is a mistake.

  • Originally published 03/08/2016

    Donald Trump, the He-Man

    Steve Hochstadt

    One could suspect that a man who can’t stop touting his masculinity might be less certain than he proclaims.

  • Originally published 09/22/2015

    What Do Republican Voters Want?

    Steve Hochstadt

    Republican voters want a confrontational outsider. Not necessarily a belligerent lover of personal confrontations like Trump. Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson act more decorously, but their policies are belligerent.