Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again
By Tyler Glass '19, February 28, 2017
On February 21, Elaine C. Kamarck, Ph.D., author of Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again, visited the New Hampshire Institute of Politics to discuss her new book.
Kamarck's book provides readers with an in-depth analysis of seven stories full of presidential blunders, ranging from Jimmy Carter's failed Iranian hostage rescue of 1980 to the perceived failures of the war in Iraq, largely due to misinformed intelligence from government agencies. These stories, Kamarck explained, all share a common theme: presidents spend too much time framing and communicating policy to the public, but not enough time implementing it or listening to the existing bureaucracy. Once the implementation of policy fails in spectacular ways, presidents cannot talk their way out of it.
Kamarck argues that great presidential failures are bad for democracy, noting that people lose faith in their leaders resulting in the loss of political capital and making it impossible for them to accomplish their agendas.
The book discussion was followed by a question and answer session where members of the local community were able to ask for her thoughts regarding a wide array of subjects, from the legacy of Ronald Regan to Donald Trump's discourse with the media. Following the question and answer session, Kamarck held a book signing.