How Does Kernell’s Theory Update Neustadt’s Idea?
Until his death in 2003 at the age of 84, Neustadt was the nation’s foremost presidency scholar. In his almost six decades of public service and in academia, Neustadt advised presidents of both parties and their aides, and distilled these experiences in the form of several influential books on presidential leadership and decisionmaking. Perhaps his biggest influence, however, came from the scores of students (including Al Gore) he mentored at Columbia and Harvard, many of whom went on to careers in public service. Others (like me!) opted for academia where they schooled subsequent generations of students in Neustadt’s teachings, (and sometimes wrote blogs on the side.) Interestingly, Neustadt came to academia through a circuitous route that, unfortunately, is rarely used today. After a brief stint in FDR’s Office of Price Administration, followed by a tour in the military, he returned to government as a mid-level career bureaucrat in President Harry Truman’s Bureau of the Budget (BoB) in 1946, gradually working his way up the ranks until he was brought into Truman’s White House in 1950 as a junior-level political aide.