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The Best Job in Politics

The Best Job in Politics
Exploring How Governors Succeed as Policy Leaders

May 2012 | 288 pages | CQ Press
"My worst day as governor was better than my best day as a United States senator."—Former Governor Tim Carper (D-DE, 1993–2001)

Governors—both in, and now out of, office—see the job as the best in politics. Why is that? Drawing on a survey of former governors, personal interviews, as well as gubernatorial memoirs and biographies, Rosenthal shows students how and why governors succeed as policy leaders and makes a case as to why some governors are better at leveraging the institutional advantages of the office.

The Job of Governor
What’s So Good About the Job?

What They Want to Achieve

As Governors See It

Policymaking Success

Exploring How and Why Governors Succeed

Playing the Hands They Are Dealt
Gubernatorial Powers

Legislative Power

Party Control and Partisan Division

The Structure of State Government

Economic and Fiscal Conditions

Other Conditions and Events

What Governors Bring to the Table







How Governors Put Together Their Policy Agendas
What Is the Governor’s Agenda

Initiatives on the Agenda

The Multiple Sources of Initiatives

How Agendas Are Developed

The Political Calculus at Work

Agendas in a State of Play

Laying the Groundwork for Their Initiatives
Gubernatorial Involvement

Relating to Members

Dealing With Legislative Leaders

Building Relationships With Leaders

Imperfect Together

Strategies and Tactics of Engagement
The Types of Issues in Play

Building Support and Exerting Pressure on the Legislature

Building Support and Exerting Pressure in the Legislature

Tools of Engagement

Playing Defense

Succeeding as Policy Leaders
How Successful Are They

What Makes Them Successful

Having the Upper Hand

Playing the Cards They Are Dealt

Having the Right Stuff

Asking For What They Have a Chance of Getting

Laying the Groundwork

Waging Budget and Policy Campaigns

Legacy and Beyond
How They See Their Legacies

How They Are Remembered

What Difference They Made

Will a New Generation of Governors Be Different?

Appendix A: Governors, 1980–2010


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