At his inauguration, President Barack Obama was seemingly poised to become America's strongest and most influential president since Ronald Reagan. However, President Obama's first two years in office has led to some notable surprises. What accounts for the political stability and change demonstrated by the Obama administration? Which factors shaping a presidency are structural, which are personal, and which are driven by events? How will decisions made in the first two years of the administration affect its future course? What lessons can we glean from past presidencies?

This timely volume of notable thinkers on the presidency presents scholarly as well as applied insights on Obama’s administration at the half-way point. Assessing the political context of his first two years, the inter-branch relations, and policy developments all provide the necessary grounding for students to make sense of the continuity and change that Barack Obama represents.

part 1|47 pages

The Setting

chapter 1|14 pages

Barack Obama

A Reagan of the Left?
ByAndrew J. Dowdle, Dirk C. van Raemdonck, Robert Maranto

chapter 2|14 pages

Making Race Go Away

President Obama and the Promise of a Post-Racial Society
ByWilbur C. Rich

chapter 3|17 pages

Presidential Leadership and Public Opinion in an Age of Polarization

ByJeffrey E. Cohen, Costas Panagopoulos

part 2|58 pages

Managing The Executive Branch

chapter 4|14 pages

The Obama Cabinet

A Team of Rivals or Pragmatic Governance?
ByShirley Anne Warshaw

chapter 5|12 pages

Presidential Appointments in the Obama Administration

An Early Evaluation
ByDavid E. Lewis

chapter 6|14 pages

President Barack Obama, Unilateralist

ByChristopher S. Kelley, Melanie Cook Marlowe, Ryan J. Barilleaux

chapter 7|16 pages

Continuity and Change in White House Communications

President Obama Meets the Press
ByMartha Joynt Kumar

part 3|27 pages

Managing Relations with the Other Branches

chapter 8|12 pages

No Place for a Community Organizer

Barack Obama's Leadership of Congress
ByJustin S. Vaughn

chapter 9|13 pages

Beyond Two Terms

Shaping the Supreme Court and a Legacy
ByRichard L. Pacelle

part 4|49 pages

Managing Policies

chapter 10|12 pages

Economic Policymaking during the Great Recession

ByTed Gayer

chapter 11|13 pages

President Obama's Health Care Reform

The Inevitable Impossible
ByMark Carl Rom

chapter 12|10 pages

President Obama and Education

The Personal and the Political
ByRobert Maranto, Michael Q. McShane

chapter 13|12 pages

Fighting Two Wars

ByLawrence J. Korb, Laura Conley

part 5|16 pages

At The End of the Beginning

chapter 14|14 pages

Barack Obama's First Two Years

Policy Accomplishments, Political Failure
ByWilliam A. Galston