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Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics$
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Ronald M. PETERS, Jr. and Cindy Simon Rosenthal

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383737

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383737.001.0001

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(p.227) Chapter 7 Leadership
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics

Ronald M. Peters

Cindy Simon Rosenthal

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the most important issue of the current study: the capacity of American political institutions to provide the leadership the country requires. There is ample evidence to suggest that the country faces a crisis of confidence in its leadership. The chapter considers the question of whether the speakership is able to provide the leadership the country so desperately requires. Toward this end, the chapter first assesses Speaker Pelosi from the perspective of congressional leadership theory, comparing her conduct as Speaker to that of her recent predecessors. It then situates the speakership in the theories of New American Politics, explaining the constraints this era imposes on the office. It argues that Pelosi’s low public approval ratings are a reflection of the era in which she serves. It concludes with a consideration of the factors that have shaped Pelosi’s speakership, and the lessons they offer future Speakers.

Keywords:   Nancy Pelosi, American political institutions, leadership crisis, Speaker of the House, speakership

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