New Book by IU SPEA Dean John D. Graham, Offers First Rigorous Assessment of Barack Obama's Domestic Agenda
Available this week from Indiana University Press, the book examines the president’s successes and failures in dealing with the economy, health care, environmental policy and other controversies at a time of intense polarization of U.S. politics.
Graham concludes that Obama achieved significant domestic policy successes, most notably in steering the economy away from its worst crisis since the Great Depression. But he argues the president could have achieved even greater triumphs and avoided some of the political backlash that hurt the Democratic Party.
"If Obama had advanced an ideologically more diverse policy agenda in his first year, one that highlighted some of his centrist as well as progressive inclinations, his presidency could have unfolded quite differently," Graham writes. Also, Graham argues that Democrats in Congress would have been less vulnerable if he had pursued some of his priorities with executive powers rather than forcing votes on controversial legislation.
Graham is dean of the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, a position he has held since 2008. From 2001 to 2006, he was administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House Office of Management and Budget. He is also the author of "Bush on the Home Front" (2010, Indiana University Press).
In "Obama on the Home Front," Graham elaborates and applies a theory of presidential effectiveness in a polarized political environment, offering prescriptions for presidents who seek to govern in such times. He examines Obama’s success and failure on economic recovery, long-term growth, climate change and energy policy, immigration policy and the adoption and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.