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The Best Job in Politics

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

March 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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