The Presidency: No Longer a Flawed Institution

At the start of 1986, in the 197th year of its existence, the American presidency is a political supernova. Rarely, if ever, has the office attracted so much attention in the nation and the world.

White House mail last year increased an astonishing 30%, to 8 million pieces, much of it from children who were somehow inspired--or prodded by teachers--to ask about the Oval Office and its occupant.

College courses on the presidency and the number of students who attend them have grown dramatically. The University of Virginia's White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs, which is oriented toward the presidency,...

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