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"The Contemporary Presidency": The Permanence of the "Permanent Campaign": George W. Bush's Public Presidency

Corey Cook
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Vol. 32, No. 4, What Do We Want to Know about the Presidency? (Dec., 2002), pp. 753-764
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27552439
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
"The Contemporary Presidency": The Permanence of the "Permanent Campaign": George W. Bush's Public Presidency
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Abstract

Early American presidents largely avoided engaging in public appeals or spectacles, embracing a nonplebiscitary conception of the institution. However, the contemporary presidency, surrounded by a vast army of pollsters, public relations specialists, and press assistants, sometimes more closely resembles a vigorous electoral campaign than that quaint institution. President Clinton so exuberantly embraced the public role that scholars have begun to question whether the line between campaigning and governing might have become so blurred as to now constitute a "permanent campaign." When President George W. Bush largely evaded the spotlight during the 2000 election aftermath and conducted an understated and quasi-private transition to power, it seemed that the rhetorical presidency had returned to its modern equilibrium. However, Bush's extensive travel and speech making during his first year in office suggest instead that public expectations and strategic calculations mandate that the permanent campaign is now a permanent feature of the American presidency.

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