Ezra Klein is an American journalist, blogger, and political commentator who co-founded Vox, where he is currently editor-at-large.

  • Beyond Ideology

    The congressional agenda, Frances Lee contends, includes many issues about which liberals and conservatives generally agree. Even over these matters, though, Democratic and Republican senators tend to fight with each other. What explains this discord? Beyond Ideology argues that many partisan battles are rooted in competition for power rather than disagreement over the rightful role of government.,The first book to systematically distinguish Senate disputes centering on ideological questions from the large proportion of them that do not, this volume foregrounds the role of power struggle in partisan conflict. Presidential leadership, for example, inherently polarizes legislators who can influence public opinion of the president and his party by how they handle his agenda. Senators also exploit good government measures and floor debate to embarrass opponents and burnish their own party???s image???even when the issues involved are broadly supported or low-stakes. Moreover, Lee contends, the congressional agenda itself amplifies conflict by increasingly focusing on issues that reliably differentiate the parties. With the new president pledging to stem the tide of partisan polarization, Beyond Ideology provides a timely taxonomy of exactly what stands in his way.

  • Creativity, Inc.

    ???,From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business???sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath. , is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation???into the meetings, postmortems, and ???Braintrust??? sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture???but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, ???an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.???,For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the , trilogy, ,and,which have gone on to set box-office records and garner thirty Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really ,. Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired???and so profitable.,As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged a partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later, , was released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie???s success???and in the thirteen movies that followed???was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention.

  • On Deaf Ears

    The typical legislative strategy for recent presidents has been to move Congress by winning public support. ??George Edwards analyzes hundreds of public opinion polls and finds that this strategy usually fails. ??He explains why presidents are frequently unable to move public opinion and suggests they use other means to achieve legislative success.,”That presidents use the ???bully pulpit??? to exert influence in Washington is a truism of American Politics. What Edwards finds in this remarkable book is that the truism isn???t true, that presidents???even those at the top of their form???persistently fail to move public sentiment in preferred directions.”???James A. Stimson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,”Every serious scholar and student of American politics should read this book.”???Robert Y. Shapiro, Columbia University, “Edwards has done it again! ??A bold, direct, convincing challenge to 30 years of literature.”-Richard E. Neustadt, author of Presidential Power

  • Overreach

    When Barack Obama became president, many Americans embraced him as a transformational leader who would fundamentally change the politics and policy of the country. Yet, two years into his administration, the public resisted his calls for support and Congress was deadlocked over many of his major policy proposals. How could this capable new president have difficulty attaining his goals? Did he lack tactical skills?,In Overreach, respected presidential scholar George Edwards argues that the problem was strategic, not tactical. He finds that in President Obama’s first two years in office, Obama governed on the premise that he could create opportunities for change by persuading the public and some congressional Republicans to support his major initiatives. As a result, he proposed a large, expensive, and polarizing agenda in the middle of a severe economic crisis. The president’s proposals alienated many Americans and led to a severe electoral defeat for the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections, undermining his ability to govern in the remainder of his term.,Edwards shows that the president’s frustrations were predictable and the inevitable result of misunderstanding the nature of presidential power. The author demonstrates that the essence of successful presidential leadership is recognizing and exploiting existing opportunities, not in creating them through persuasion. When Obama succeeded in passing important policies, it was by mobilizing Democrats who were already predisposed to back him. Thus, to avoid overreaching, presidents should be alert to the limitations of their power to persuade and rigorously assess the possibilities for obtaining public and congressional support in their environments.

  • Predicting the Presidency

    Millions of Americans???including many experienced politicians???viewed Barack Obama through a prism of high expectations, based on a belief in the power of presidential persuasion. Yet many who were inspired by candidate Obama were disappointed in what he was able to accomplish once in the White House. They could not understand why he often was unable to leverage his position and political skills to move the public and Congress to support his initiatives. Predicting the Presidency explains why Obama had such difficulty bringing about the change he promised, and challenges the conventional wisdom about presidential leadership.,In this incisive book, George Edwards shows how we can ask a few fundamental questions about the context of a presidency???the president’s strategic position or opportunity structure???and use the answers to predict a president’s success in winning support for his initiatives. If presidential success is largely determined by a president’s strategic position, what role does persuasion play? Almost every president finds that a significant segment of the public and his fellow partisans in Congress are predisposed to follow his lead. Others may support the White House out of self-interest. Edwards explores the possibilities of the president exploiting such support, providing a more realistic view of the potential of presidential persuasion.,Written by a leading presidential scholar, Predicting the Presidency sheds new light on the limitations and opportunities of presidential leadership.

  • The Gamble

    A unique “moneyball” look at the 2012 U.S. presidential contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.,”Game changer.” We heard it so many times during the 2012 U.S. presidential election. But what actually made a difference in the contest???and what was just hype? In this groundbreaking book, John Sides and Lynn Vavreck tell the dramatic story of the election???with a big difference. Using an unusual “moneyball” approach and drawing on extensive quantitative data, they look beyond the anecdote, folklore, and conventional wisdom that often pass for election analysis to separate what was truly important from what was irrelevant. The Gamble combines this data with the best social science research and colorful on-the-ground reporting, providing the most accurate and precise account of the election yet written???and the only book of its kind.,In a new preface, the authors reflect on the place of The Gamble in the tradition of presidential election studies, its reception to date, and possible paths for future social science research.

  • The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush

    This collection examines the foreign and domestic policies of President George W Bush’s administration. The analysis begins with an account of how highly polarized–in terms of public opinion and electoral patterns–this presidency has proved to be. This is followed by chapters on the use of unilateral executive powers and pre-rogative powers. Because the policy choices of the Bush presidency have had such fundamental effects both in domestic policy and in US foreign policy, three contributors then address the processes of decision making especially in respect to the war against Iraq. How the administration governs by a recurring process of campaigning is examined in chapters on public opinion and war, the promotional presidency, mobilizing congressional support for war and the White House communications system. Finally the way in which the Bush White House relates to congress and the process of building congressional coalitions to enact laws is the subject of chapters on “executive style” of this administration and the failure to reform social security. It will be essential reading for anyone wishing to understand one of the most controversial administrations in recent years.

  • What It Takes

    “Quite possibly the finest book on presidential politics ever written, combining meticulous reporting and compelling, at times soaringly lyrical, prose.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer,An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race — and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer comes up with the answers, in a book that is vast, exhaustively researched, exhilarating, and sometimes appalling in its revelations.

  • Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America

    Americans currently choose their president through the electoral college, an extraordinarily complex mechanism that may elect a candidate who does not receive the most votes. In this provocative book, George Edwards III argues that???contrary to what supporters of the electoral college claim???there is no real justification for a system that might violate majority rule.,Drawing on systematic data, Edwards finds that the electoral college does not protect the interests of small states or racial minorities, does not provide presidents with effective coalitions for governing, and does little to protect the American polity from the alleged harms of direct election of the president. In fact, the electoral college distorts the presidential campaign so that candidates ignore most small states and some large ones and pay little attention to minorities, and it encourages third parties to run presidential candidates and discourages party competition in many states.,Edwards demonstrates effectively that direct election of the president without a runoff maximizes political equality and eliminates the distortions in the political system caused by the electoral college.