Presidents and their administrations since the 1960s have become increasingly active in environmental politics, despite their touted lack of expertise and their apparent frequent discomfort with the issue.
In White House Politics and the Environment: Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, Byron W. Daynes and Glen Sussman study the multitude of resources presidents can use in their attempts to set the public agenda. They also provide a framework for considering the environmental direction and impact of U.S. presidents during the last seven decades, permitting an assessment of each president in terms of how his administration either aided or hindered the advancement of environmental issues.
Employing four factors – political communication, legislative leadership, administrative actions, and environmental diplomacy – as a matrix for examining the environmental records of the presidents, Daynes and Sussman's analysis and discussion allow them to sort each of the twelve occupants of the White House included in this study into one of three categories, ranging from less to more environmentally friendly.
Environmental leaders and public policy professionals will appreciate White House Politics and the Environment: Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush for its thorough and wide-ranging examination of how presidential resources have been brought to bear on environmental issues.
"Finally we have a volume wholly dedicated to the presidency and environmentalism. An exhaustive literature review yields a 'continuum of greenness' based on political communications, legislative leadership, administrative actions, and environmental diplomacy. Daynes and Sussman score all twelve modern presidents, and they conclude that FDR and Nixon were 'very green' whereas (barely) 'pale green' characterized the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. This volume is the final word on whether environmentalism posed an opportunity, or an obstacle, to the presidential leadership and policy innovation. The passage of time will make their assessments no less valid."
– Raymond Tatalovich, Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Chicago
"Daynes and Sussman move the study of the president's role in the arena of environmental policymaking to a new level. The analysis of how individual president have confronted the environment, both before and after the environmental movement, fills a much needed gap in our understanding of presidential power in relationship to the environment. Their analysis lays out a framework that can be used in other policy areas, but will also surprise readers who will discover many so-called foes of the environment were advocates for protection and preservation in their own rights.
White House Politics and the Environment will add to a rich literature by its thorough research and ability to compare and score presidents and their environmental record. The authors have done the field a service in pulling a huge amount of information together in a readable and substantial book that students and scholars at all levels may draw upon."
– Dennis L. Soden
" [...] the real strength of the book lies in the organization of individual chapters [...] the book is a must read. Even those who understand the process will enjoy the well-researched case study into presidential impact on the environment."
– J.S. Ashley, Eastern Illinois University, Choice
"White House Politics and the Environment is an engaging study of the ways in which formal and informal presidential powers have intertwined in environmental protection. The volume provides an accessible analysis of presidential decision-making."
– MaryAnne Borrelli, Congress & the Presidency
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Byron W. Daynes, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University, was the 2006–07 William J. Clinton Distinguished Fellow at University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service. His PhD is from the University of Chicago.
Glen Sussman, University Professor of Political Science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, was a 2006–2007 recipient of an Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Fellowship to support research on the conservation policy of President John F. Kennedy at the Kennedy Presidential Library.