The American president's character matters. To most Americans, it matters deeply. But how do we define what character means, and why can't we agree? In this sober, probing consideration of "the character factor" and the presidency, veteran political analyst James P. Pfiffner leads us through a survey of three aspects of presidential character that have proved problematic for recent chief executives: lies, promise-keeping, and sexual probity. His goal is not to tell us which presidents have been "good" and which "bad." Rather, he helps us think critically and impartially about complex character issues and invites us to reach our own conclusions. The Character Factor avoids both moral judgments and cynicism. It helps us look at our presidents (and our presidential candidates) without illusions, knowing that flawed men can still be great leaders but that some flaws deserve defeat at the polls--or even the ultimate presidential sanction, impeachment.
James P. Pfiffner, who lives in Burke, Virginia, has written or edited ten books and many articles about the presidency, including The Managerial Presidency, Second Edition, also published by Texas A&M Press. University Professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, he is frequently invited to lecture on various topics related to the American president.
"This book represents the highest quality; it is extremely significant; it is highly original on a subject that is frequently written on; it is as fair-minded and clear-headed a treatment as one could hope for. . . clear-headed, even-tempered, and fair-minded on one of the most commonly discussed, but poorly understood, elements of the presidency: the interface between personal character and the institution. In sum, this book is a tour de force."--Robert J. Spitzer, SUNY Cortland, and past President, Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association
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