Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda: Constructing the War on Drugs (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009) BUY ON AMAZON

    The bully pulpit is one of the modern president's most powerful tools -- and one of the most elusive to measure. Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda uses the war on drugs as a case study to explore whether and how a president's public statements affect the formation and carrying out of policy in the United States.


   "Whitford and Yates make a strong case for the proposition that presidents can, and do, use public rhetoric to affect how policy is implemented by executive agencies. Whereas most previous studies of presidential rhetoric have focused on appeals made to the mass public, they focus on the effects of public speeches on field agents charged with implementing policy. That such an effect might exist is not obvious. Nonetheless, their argument is nuanced and well—crafted and their evidence -- both qualitative and quantitative -- is compelling. The end result is a thought—provoking study that challenges standard views of executive power. I have no doubt that this book will become required reading for all students of the presidency and the bureaucracy." -- Kevin Quinn, Harvard University

    "Original and important. Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda is a well—conceived contribution to the literature on the rhetorical presidency and bureaucratic action." -- Andrew Rudalevige, Dickinson College

    "President Nixon announced the war on drugs forty years ago, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote that 'it appears that drugs have won.' In their careful analysis in this important book, Whitford and Yates demonstrate that the rhetoric of presidents can influence the course of public policy, particularly including implementation. Words matter, even in the supposedly technical aspects of policy implementation, and they do so in a way that frames and, yes, 'constructs' the policy itself." -- Bryan D. Jones, The University of Texas at Austin


You might also check out my first book, Popular Justice: Presidential Prestige and Executive Success in the Supreme Court (State University of New York Press, 2002) BUY ON AMAZON