Since 1945, the role of the president in shaping domestic and foreign policy has changed dramatically. Though the prodigious growth of the federal bureaucracy under the Executive Branch reflects much of this change, bureaucratic response to the major issues of the past three decades has been ineffective or nonexistent, and a notable parallel development has been the increasing use of public commissions in the policymaking process. Dr. Tutchings studies more than 100 public commissions using a model of the policymaking process that includes demands, decision and information costs, and policy results and outcomes. Reviewing the results of the commissions as reflected in presidential support of recommendations (via proposed legislation) and in congressional response, he notes that their membership has typically been dominated by government/corporate elites: as this membership has become more pluralistic, there has been a sharp decline in the contributions of the commissions to the policymaking process. Perhaps the most significant contribution of the book is its detailed development of the concept of rhetorical policy as a first step in the policymaking process.
Table of Contents
Preface -- The President and Public Policy -- The Organizational Dynamics of Policy Commissions -- Policy Elites -- Policy Outputs: Commission Recommendations -- Policy Results: Presidential Action and Congressional Response -- Two Models: One of Rhetoric and One of Reality -- Toward More-Public Rhetoric -- Presidential Advisory Commissions -- Coding Procedure
Terrence R. Tutchings is adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and executive associate at the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.