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Houston Matters

Re-evaluting The Presidents: Book Judges Commanders In Chief By Their Actual Accomplishments

David Schein from the University of St. Thomas discusses his book, The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures.


How is the president doing at his job? We're used to hearing that question and having it answered by poll numbers, surveys, and person-on-the-street interviews. But those are all subjective measures.

University of St. Thomas professor David Schein has been trying to measure the success of presidents over the last century using more empirical methods — looking at their actual accomplishments. His work is compiled in the new book, The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures.

Schein, a professor at the Cameron School of Business at St. Thomas, examines the presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama through the lens of their actual accomplishments – not what the press, supporters, or detractors had to say about them.

In 100 years, 17 men (eight Democrats and nine Republicans) have led the largest economy and the most successful military power on earth. The book challenges the myths surrounding many of them by focusing on their ethics and how leadership decisions they made changed the course of American and world history, for better or worse.

Schein talks with Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty about what he discovered in his research and what Schein believes it says about the 2016 election.

Dr. David Schein is a professor at the University of St. Thomas and author of “The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures.”