The Politics of Politics: Skowronek and Presidential Research



This article joins the emerging discussion of Stephen Skowronek's ambitious retheorizing of the presidency in The Politics Presidents Make. The analysis begins by examining the ways in which Skowronek's understanding challenges the tenets of much post-Neustadtian scholarship and then examines the cyclical forms of “political time” at the heart of Skowronek's approach to the presidency. Examining a series of cases, the article focuses on conceptual problems and the relation of theory to presidential history. The article argues that Politics posits states of political knowledge and conditions of historical stability less likely in a more fluid office and more contingent circumstances and concludes with a discussion of the implications of Skowronek's work for future scholarship.