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Debating The Rhetorical Presidency

Scholars debate government professor’s landmark study of the presidency

Posted: November 3, 2009

The Rhetorical PresidencyJeffrey Tulis’ The Rhetorical Presidency is the subject of yet another academic boxing match. An article published in the December issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly, by Mel Laracey, associate professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio, seeks to discredit Tulis’ 1987 study. However, following Laracey’s article, David A. Crockett, associate professor at Trinity University and 1999 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, retorts that The Rhetorical Presidency is “still standing tall,” and concludes that, “Tulis identifies inherent tensions in republican government and highlights them. There is no neat or perfect solution to the problems the framers wrestled with more than two centuries ago. The effort to understand those problems and tensions may be the first step toward making peace with them. That, perhaps, is Tulis’ enduring legacy.”

Jeffrey Tulis is associate professor of government. The Rhetorical Presidency is one of the most influential studies of the presidency in modern political science. This year, Tulis, with Joseph Bessette, published The Constitutional Presidency.

The Constitutional Presidency

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