Postscript: The Biden Administration and the Resiliency of the American Presidency


As we enter the first month of the new presidential administration, Dr. Meena Bose, Executive Dean for Public Policy and Public Service Programs at the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs and director of the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, at Hofstra University, and Dr. Daniel E. Ponder, the L.E. Meador Professor of Political Science and Director of the Meador Center for Politics and Citizenship at Drury University joined the team at New Books in Political Science to discuss the institution of the presidency as the U.S. transitions from one administration to another. Ponder joined Lilly to talk about Presidential Leverage: Presidents, Approval, and the American State on an earlier podcast and Bose’s new book, Executive Policymaking: The Role of the OMB in the Presidency will be featured on an upcoming podcast.

Bose and Ponder, experts on the U.S. Presidency and American political institutions, began by identifying what defines the first few weeks of the Biden Administration in contrast to Trump. Focusing on the office of the presidency itself, the group discussed how the Executive Office is positioned in regard to the American Congress, U.S. political parties, and the limited windows of opportunities that presidents often have at the beginning of their administrations. As Ponder and Bose considered the resiliency of the American presidency, they highlighted scholarship that contributed to their thinking including Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith’s new book, After Trump, Steve Knott’s recent book, The Lost Soul of the American Presidency, and Julia Azari and Jennifer Smith’s “Unwritten Rules: Informal Institutions in Established Democracies.” Ponder and Bose explained how foundational works like James Pfiffner’s The Strategic Presidency and James MacGregor Burns’ The Deadlock of Democracy: Four-Party Politics in America framed their analyses of how the president and the presidency function (or do not) with the American political system. Join us for this broad and fascinating conversation about the American presidency and contemporary political pressures and tensions that shape how that institution functions and operates.

Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at or tweet to @gorenlj.

Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists recently appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Retreat from the Rule of Law: Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” was published in the Journal of Politics (July 2020). Email her comments at or tweet to @SusanLiebell.

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Susan Liebell

Susan Liebell is a Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

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