Texas Tech Political Scientist Predicts Stylistic Changes with Obama Administration

Change may be Obama's mantra, but one Texas Tech political scientist says don't expect the Roosevelt administration.

While the economic situation President-Elect Barack Obama faces might not currently be as dire as the one Roosevelt faced in the 1930s, the breadth of range of problems he faces at one time could be one of the most challenging a president has faced coming into office, said a political scientist at Texas Tech University. Assistant professor Craig Goodman, who researches Congress, said along with the waning economy, Obama also faces budgetary crises, the ongoing war on terror, unrest in the Middle East, climate change from human activities, the impending health care crisis, helping students afford the rising cost of obtaining a college education and a slew of other issues. "While the current economic crisis is not quite as severe as the Great Depression, it could always get worse, and there are just so many other disparate issues at once," Goodman said. "That's going to be the challenge - to set up priorities and decide what needs to be done first. Of course, everything is going to be geared toward the next election. People are already talking about 2012. So, some of the issues that the party wants to tackle will have to wait." Goodman said that while Obama has called for sweeping changes in the way the federal government operates, people shouldn't expect a complete overhaul and the formation of multiple new entities, such as what happened in the Roosevelt administration. "Obama's approach will probably be very stylistically different from the way President Bush has handled business," he said. "I think we'll see his approach will be more about trying to build bipartisan coalitions, and the tone will be very different in the way business is conducted. "To me, what will be very interesting to watch is how much power gets centralized in the White House. In the Bush Administration, you had the president and a few close advisors telling the cabinet members, such as the secretary of state, what they will do. But Obama's secretary of state will be Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has her own ideas and experience. Will the Obama administration centralize all that power and, say, tell Sen. Clinton 'do what I want you to do,' or will they spread that power out like the Clinton and Roosevelt administrations?" Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at www.media.ttu.edu. CONTACT: Craig Goodman, assistant professor, Department Political Science, (806) 742-4047, (806) 790-8715, or craig.goodman@ttu.edu. View his Online Experts Profile.