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Toward Assessing the Administrative Presidency: Public Lands, the BLM, and the Reagan Administration

Robert F. Durant
Public Administration Review
Vol. 47, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1987), pp. 180-189
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
DOI: 10.2307/975592
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/975592
Page Count: 10
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Toward Assessing the Administrative Presidency: Public Lands, the BLM, and the Reagan Administration
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Abstract

With bureaucratic performance widely recognized as problematic yet critical to presidential objectives, and with executive-legislative stalemate almost routine, recent presidents have turned to the "administrative presidency" to energize and implement domestic policy. The Reagan Administration, however, has relied upon an administrative approach to executive leadership to an unparalleled degree in terms of its strategic significance, comprehensiveness, and philosophical zeal. This exploratory study chronicles three implementation experiences in New Mexico in order to enhance our appreciation of the process, politics, and efficacy of Reagan's use of the administrative presidency to reorient natural resources policy in the West. Analysis of these field experiences suggests (1) that the strategic and operational choices made by Reagan appointees were not always well linked, and thus jeopardized aspects of the President's policy agenda, and (2) that a more fruitful approach to executive leadership would effectively link the administrative presidency with a "backward mapping" implementation strategy.

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