Lobbying the New President
Interests in Transition
By Heath Brown
Routledge – 2012 – 206 pages
Routledge – 2012 – 206 pages
Presidential transitions offer the chance for new ideas, policies, and people to inhabit the White House. Transitions have triggered policy change for decades and eager interest groups have sought ways to capitalize on this often chaotic phase of US politics. President-Elect Barack Obama declared that lobbyists would be forbidden from serving his transition and issued stiff regulations and rules to limit their access to the planning for his White House. Yet even though Obama’s efforts mirror previous Presidents anti-lobbyist efforts, all Presidential transitions provide certain channels of influence, and Obama himself chose the head of a powerful and politically oriented think tank, the Center for American Progress, to run his transition. New Presidents need the information, ideas, and political capital that groups possess. Thus a curious paradox.
Using an innovative mixed methodology integrating a historical analysis of original documents, original interviews with over 40 interest group leaders and transition leaders, a survey of 300 interest groups and content analysis of 300 interest group letters, Lobbying the New President uncovers the politics of interest group influence during Presidential transitions. In doing so, Heath Brown asks:
This book is a valuable resource that goes beyond the field of presidency studies which American politics scholars as well as public policy specialists should not go without.
"This is the most in-depth description of presidential transitions ever written. It does not only attain a high academic standard for accuracy but due to its practicality it will become a bible for every lobbying organization in Washington D.C. for years to come."
—Raymond Scheppach, University of Virginia, former Executive Director of the National Governors Association
"Most research on presidential transitions has ignored interest groups and the scholarship on interest groups has omitted an analysis of their influence on presidential transitions. Lobbying the New President remedies this through a unique and important contribution to an understanding of the inside role of lobbyists, interest groups and think tanks in shaping presidential transitions. Brown uses innovative multi-method social science research to reveal the important role of interest groups and lobbyists in modern presidential transitions."
—James A. Thurber, American University
"Heath Brown’s study of the role that interest groups play during presidential transitions, from staffing the administration to setting the president’s policy agenda, is a much-needed addition to the growing literature on how decisions are made by the incoming president and advisors between Election Day and the inaugural."
—Lori Cox Han, Chapman University
"This is an important book on a very consequential topic. Heath Brown provides the definitive account to date concerning the activities and impact of interest groups during presidential transitions. The book is readable, well-documented, and an important contribution to understanding this crucial period for a presidency as well as the role of interest groups in our politics."
—John P. Burke, University of Vermont
1. The Call for the Book 2. Defining Interest Groups, Exploring Policy Theory 3. Institutional Transition Pluralism 4. Interest Group Strategy: Cataloguing Transition Tactics 5. The Obama Transition: Modeling Activity with Survey Research on Interest Group Strategy 6. Linking Strategy to Outcomes 7. Advising the New President: Content Analysis of Issue Framing and Advice 8. Assesment, Evaluation, and Future Research
Heath Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Seton Hall University.