Skip to: navigation | content

16. Diane S. Rubenstein, Government

Diane Rubenstein
Rubenstein Book

Diane Rubenstein

This Is Not a President: Sense, Nonsense, and the American Political Imaginary (New York University Press, 2008). Rubenstein looks at the postmodern presidency—from Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush—along with a discussion of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Focusing on blind spots in recent American presidential politics, Rubenstein examines symptomatic moments in political rhetoric, popular culture, and presidential behavior to elucidate profound and disturbing changes in the American presidency and the way it embodies a national imaginary. In a series of essays written in real time over the past four presidential administrations, Rubenstein traces the vernacular use of the American presidency, exploring the ways in which the presidency functions as a “transitional object” that allows the American citizen to meet or discover the president while going about everyday life. The book argues that French theory—Lacanian psychoanalysis and the radical semiotic theories of Jean Baudrillard—best accounts for American political life today. Through episodes as diverse as the Iran-Contra affair, George H. W. Bush vomiting in Japan, the 1992 Republican convention, Bill Clinton’s failed nomination of Lani Guinier for assistant attorney general, and the Iraq War, the book situates our collective investment in American political culture.

› Top  /  › Next Article  /  › Back to Listing