Texas Tech Political Scientist Predicts Stylistic Changes with Obama Administration
January 8, 2009
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?"
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CONTACT: Craig Goodman, assistant professor, Department Political Science,
(806) 742-4047, (806) 790-8715, or firstname.lastname@example.org. View his Online Experts Profile