Rewned presidential scholar Stephen Wayne takes a close look at the interplay of personal character, partisan politics, and public opinion on presidential decision-making. In this systematic study of President Obama's character, Wayne considers how Obama's policy beliefs and operating style fueled his meteoric success as a candidate, but have had a decidedly mixed impact on his governance as president. Arguing that character matters, Wayne shows that Obama's personal dimensions both contribute and detract from his policy achievements and political goals. Taking into account the environment in which President Obama took office, the book looks at how he has dealt with burdens, such as the troubled ecomy, the polarized political climate, and the public's mistrust of government. He sets the study of Obama within the larger literature on presidential character and explores the broader questions surrounding presidential leadership in a democratic society-whether presidents lead or follow public opinion, the extent to which leadership skills make a difference, and the kind of policy and political impact presidents can have in the twenty-first century.
Stephen J. Wayne is a well-known author and lecturer on the American presidency and electoral politics. A professor of government at Georgetown University since 1988 and a Washington-based insider for more than 40 years, Wayne has written or edited 12 books and authored over 100 articles, chapters, and reviews that have appeared in professional journals, scholarly compilations, newspapers, and magazines. At Georgetown, Wayne teaches courses on the presidency, elections, and psychology and politics. Wayne is frequently quoted by White House journalists and regularly appears on television and radio news shows. He lectures widely at home and abroad to international visitors, college students, federal executives, and business leaders. He has testified before Congress on the subject of presidential elections and governance and before Democratic and Republican party advisory committees on the presidential nomination processes. He participated in transition projects for the National Academy of Public Administration and the Presidency Research Group.