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The Art of Policymaking
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The Art of Policymaking
Tools, Techniques and Processes in the Modern Executive Branch

Second Edition


January 2016 | 312 pages | CQ Press
The Art of Policymaking: Tools, Techniques and Processes in the Modern Executive Branch, Second Edition is a practical introduction to the specific tools, techniques, and processes used to create policy in the executive branch of the U.S. government.  George E. Shambaugh, IV and Paul Weinstein, Jr. explain how government officials develop policy, manage the policymaking process, and communicate those policies to stakeholders and the public at large.  The authors draw on both their academic and government experience to provide real-world advice on writing policy decision memos, preparing polling questions, and navigating the clearance process.  An abundance of case studies show how actual policies are developed and how and why policies and processes differ across administrations. Finally, practice scenarios allow students to apply the tools and techniques they have learned by working through both domestic and foreign policy situations.

 
CHAPTER 1: WHY THE POLICYMAKING PROCESS MATTERS
Objective

 
Situating the Tools, Techniques and Processes in the Existing Literature

 
Promoting Presidential Leadership and Management through the Policymaking Process

 
The Importance of Procedural Legitimacy in Building Policy Support

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART I. THE POLICYMAKERS
 
CHAPTER 2: THE WHITE HOUSE POLICY COUNCILS
The Policy Councils and the Structure of The Executive Branch

 
How the Policy Councils Operate and Why They Are Important

 
The White House Policy Councils

 
Key Agencies Within the Executive Office of the President

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 3: THE WHITE HOUSE STAFF
Working on the White House Staff

 
Other Key Players in the White House

 
Interaction with the Media

 
White House Gatekeepers

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 4: AGENCIES AND POLICY IMPLEMENTATION
Executive Agencies and Departments and Executive Branch Policymaking

 
The Role of Agencies

 
Implementing Policy Decisions

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 5: POLICY MANAGEMENT
Policy Management and Procedural Legitimacy

 
Models of Policy Management

 
Policy Czars and War Rooms

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART II. TOOLS OF THE TRADE
 
CHAPTER 6: POLICYMAKING MEMORANDA
Tools of the Trade

 
The Role of the Memorandum

 
The Decision-making Memorandum

 
The Information Memorandum

 
The Weekly Report

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 7: THE STATE OF THE UNION AND THE BUDGET PROCESS
Timing Your Swing: Understanding Internal Workflows in the Executive Branch

 
State of the Union

 
The Budget

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 8: POLICY IMPLEMENTATION TOOLS
Implementation Tools

 
Authorizing Tools

 
Recommending the Right Policy Tool

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 9: LEGISLATIVE CLEARANCE AND COORDINATION: SAPS, LRMS, AND OTHER POLICY ACRONYMS
Legislative Clearance and Coordination

 
Legislative Responsibility in the Executive Branch

 
The Clearance Process

 
Clearance of Agency Testimony and Reports on Pending Legislation

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 10: POLLING AND THE POLICYMAKING PROCESS
Polling and Policymaking: Myths and Realities

 
Rebuttals to Common Criticisms

 
Polling Basics

 
Who Polls for the White House?

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 11: COMMUNICATING AND MARKETING POLICY
The Importance of Communicating and Marketing Policy

 
Speechwriting

 
Communications

 
Press Office

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART III. CASE STUDIES
 
CHAPTER 12: SOCIAL POLICYMAKING: WELFARE REFORM DURING THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION
Welfare Reform and the Political Process

 
The Early Phase: Decentralization, Debate, and Deadlock

 
Phase II: Action, Response, and Resolution

 
Conclusion: Making the Process Work

 
 
CHAPTER 13: ECONOMIC POLICYMAKING I: THE CLINTON ECONOMIC PLAN
The Economic Plan and the Political Process

 
Phase I: The Economic Plan and the NEC

 
Establishing the Management Role of the NEC

 
The NEC Process

 
Communicating and Marketing the Economic Plan

 
Securing Passage of the Bill

 
Conclusion and Lessons Learned

 
 
CHAPTER 14: ECONOMIC POLICYMAKING II: THE SIMPSON-BOWLES COMMISSION UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA
Introduction

 
Using the Process to Overcome a Stacked Deck

 
Representative Membership

 
Outreach

 
Assigning Accountability and Putting Issues on the Table

 
The Outcome

 
Conclusions and Lessons for the Policymaking Process

 
 
CHAPTER 15: SECURITY POLICYMAKING I: DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM UNDER GEORGE H. W. BUSH
Security Crises and the Political Process

 
Responding to the Crisis

 
The Initial Response

 
Containment and the Decision to Double U.S. Ground Forces

 
Conclusion

 
 
CHAPTER 16: SECURITY POLICYMAKING II: THE SURGE AND IRAQ WAR UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH
Changing Policy

 
The Unpredictability of Being an Honest Broker

 
Sparking Debate and Incubating Ideas

 
Breaking Some China

 
Presenting New Ideas

 
Promoting the President’s Agenda

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART IV. SCENARIOS
 
CHAPTER 17: PRACTICE SCENARIOS
Practice Scenarios

 
 
GLOSSARY
 
INDEX

“I have used Shambaugh’s text every year since 2006 because of its unique approach among policy textbooks.  It is the only one that centers on the White House and the only one written by a person who has actually worked there. The argument for this book has only grown in importance since its original publication and will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.”

Robert S. Wood
University of North Dakota
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • New chapter on the budget process and the State of the Union and their role in the policy process
  • New chapter on policy management systems, and how these systems have been utilized by presidential administrations
  • Updated examples and case studies throughout 
  • Expanded discussion of prominent theories of policymaking, the role of the policymaking process in promoting presidential leadership, and the dynamic nature of being an honest broker and incubator of ideas

KEY FEATURES:

  • Case Studies involving policymaking in five different issue areas during five administrations demonstrate and evaluate the material presented in the earlier chapters, helping students apply those concepts to real-world situations.
  • Practice Scenarios in three different policy areas enable readers to practice creating a policy process and apply the tools and techniques presented in the book.
  • Real examples of memorandums, briefing materials, and other official documents show students the specific format of policymaking documents and how the tools and techniques described are actually applied.  

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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