Obama after 16 months


The behavior or modern presidents is shaped both by individual choices of president’s themselves and predictable challenges and opportunities encountered by all presidents. How does President Obama stack up against other modern presidents at this point in his tenure? What can we expect moving forward based upon the actions of past presidents and the choices Obama has made this far?

John G. Geer is Distinguished Professor of Political Science. Geer earned his doctorate in 1986 from Princeton University, and his bachelor of arts from Franklin and Marshall College with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1980. Geer has published 5 books and over 25 articles on presidential politics and elections, and recently served as editor of The Journal of Politics . His most recent book is In Defense of Negativity: Attacks Ads in Presidential Campaigns published by the University of Chicago Press, which won the Goldsmith Book prize from Harvard University in 2008. He has provided extensive commentary in the news media on politics, including live nationwide interviews for FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, ABC and NPR. Geer has also written op-ed pieces for Politico, The Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today , and Chicago Tribune . His lecturing has earned him a number of awards at Vanderbilt, including the “Squirrel Award,” the 2004 Birkby Prize, the 2005 Jeffrey Nordhaus Award and the 2009 Ellen Greg Ingalls Award for teaching excellence.

David Lewis , professor of political science and law studies the presidency, executive branch politics and public administration. He is the author of Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design (Stanford University Press, 2003) and numerous articles on American politics, public administration and management. His most recent book, The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance (Princeton University Press, 2008), analyzes the causes and consequences of presidential politicization of the executive branch. The book received the Herbert A. Simon Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Public Administration Section and the Richard E. Neustadt Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Presidency Research Section. His current projects explore the political views of government agencies and their employees, the politics of presidential appointments and various aspects of public sector management performance. Before joining Vanderbilt’s Department of Political Science in fall 2008, he was assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, where he was affiliated with the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, from 2002 to 2008. He began his academic career at the College of William and Mary, where he was an assistant professor in the Department of Government from 2000 to 2002.

Contact: Princine Lewis (615) 322-NEWS