Off the Shelf: Michele P. Claibourn

March 2, 2011 — Michele P. Claibourn, assistant professor of political science, College of Arts & Sciences, "Presidential Campaigns and Presidential Accountability." University of Illinois Press.

"Presidential Campaigns and Presidential Accountability" reveals the relationship between presidential campaign agendas and policymaking. In investigating the presidential campaigns and early administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Claibourn shows how campaign promises are realized in government once the victor is established in the Oval Office. To measure correlations between presidential campaigns and policymaking, Claibourn closely examines detailed campaign advertising information, survey data about citizens' responses to campaigns, processes that create expectations among constituents, and media attention and response to candidates.
Disputing the notion that presidents ignore campaign issues upon being elected, "Presidential Campaigns and Presidential Accountability" contends that candidates raise issues that matter and develop ideas to address these issues based on voter reactions. Conventional disappointment in presidential campaigns stems from a misunderstanding of the role that presidents play in a system of separate institutions sharing power, and Claibourn forces us to think about presidential campaigns in the context of the presidency – what the president realistically can and cannot do.

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