A panel of presidential scholars that includes Eric Alterman, Fred Greenstein, James Pfiffner, and Nicholas Lemann discuss the forces that either contribute to or dampen a sense of ethics in the Oval Office.
This was the second panel of a day-long conference titled Ethics and Character in the Presidency: Is Ethical Leadership Possible in the 21st Century?
Eric Alterman is distinguished professor of English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and professor of journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, as well as the liberal columnist for The Nation and Altercation blogger for Media Matters for America(formerly at MSNBC.com) in Washington, DC, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, where he writes and edits the "Think Again" column, a senior fellow (since 1985) at the World Policy Institute at The New School in New York, and a history consultant to HBO Films.
Alterman is the author of seven books, including the national bestsellers, What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News (2003, 2004), and The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America (with Mark Green, 2004).
The others include: When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and its Consequences, (2004, 2005). His Sound & Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy (1992, 2000), won the 1992 George Orwell Award and his It Ain't No Sin to be Glad You're Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen (1999, 2001), won the 1999 Stephen Crane Literary Award, and Who Speaks for America? Why Democracy Matters in Foreign Policy, (1998).
His newest book is Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook to Post-Bush America, (2008).
Fred I. Greenstein is Professor of Politics Emeritus at Princeton University. His books include Children and Politics (1965), Personality and Politics (1969), The Hidden-Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader (1982), How Presidents Test Reality (1989, with John P. Burke), and The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to George W. Bush (2004).
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and past president of the International Society for Political Psychology. He received a BA from Antioch College in 1953 and a PhD. from Yale University in 1960.
Nicholas Lemann is dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Lemann has published five books, most recently Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War (2006); The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy(1999), which helped lead to a major reform of the SAT; and The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (1991), which won several book prizes. He has written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Slate, and American Heritage; worked in documentary television with Blackside, Frontline, the Discovery Channel, and the BBC; and lectured at many universities.
Lemann continues to write for The New Yorker and serves on the boards of directors of the Authors Guild, the Center for the Humanities at the City University of New York Graduate Center, and the Society of American Historians, and is a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities. He lives with his family in New York City.
James P. Pfiffner
James P. Pfiffner is Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University. His major areas of expertise are the Presidency, American National Government, and Public management. He has lectured on these topics at universities in Europe and throughout the United States as well as at the Federal Executive Institute, the National War College, the U.S. Military Academy, and at the State, Justice, and Defense Departments.
He has written or edited ten books on the presidency and American National Government, including The Strategic Presidency: Hitting the Ground Running (2nd edition, 1996). He has also published many articles on the presidency and public management in professional journals, reference works, and the popular press and has been interviewed regularly by print and electronic media.
He has been a panel member or on project staffs of the Volcker Commission, the National Academy of Public Administration (of which he is an elected member), the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the National Academy of Sciences. His professional experience includes service in the Director's Office of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (1980-81), and he has been a member of the faculty at the University of California, Riverside and California State University, Fullerton.
In 1990 he received the Distinguished Faculty Award at George Mason University, and while serving with the 25th Infantry Division (1/8 Artillery) in 1970 he received the Army Commendation of Medal for Valor in Vietnam and Cambodia. He is listed in Who's Who In America.
Dean Rudenstine is the author of the widely acclaimed The Day the Press Stopped: A History of the Pentagon Papers Case and is completing Trophies for the Empire: The Tale of the Parthenon Marbles, a history of the famous dispute between Greece and Britain. In 2000-01, he was an inaugural fellow in Princeton University's Program in Law and Public Affairs.
Prior to joining the Cardozo faculty, he was a project director, associate director, and acting executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union; counsel to the National News Council; a staff attorney in the New York City Legal Services Program; and director of the Citizen's Inquiry on Parole and Criminal Justice, Inc., a not-for-profit research corporation.
He is the primary author of Prison Without Walls: Report on New York Parole and author of Rights Ex-Offenders. He was a fellow in the New York University Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program and spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda.