Ready or not, the quadrennial run for the White House is upon us. American voters face a very different landscape than they did four years ago, when the presidential race was relatively wide open and neither the sitting president nor vice president was seeking the nation’s highest office. Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi are gone, but so are millions of American jobs. It is springtime in much of the Arab world, but for many voters this is the winter of their discontent. Governing the United States will be supremely difficult for whoever emerges in November 2012—reading this book would be a good first step.
Campaign 2012: Twelve Independent Ideas for Improving American Public Policy is an indispensable guide to the key questions facing White House hopefuls in 2012. It features a dozen accessible yet authoritative analyses, each one focusing on a specific policy issue currently vexing the nation. All of the authors are Brookings scholars. In addition to contributing a chapter himself, editor Benjamin Wittes draws from each of the Brookings Institution’s research programs in this wide-ranging survey of national policy in America. Wittes’s previous books include Detention and Denial: The Case for Candor after Guantánamo (Brookings, 2010) and Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror (Penguin, 2008). He and Jeffrey Rosen are coeditors of the 2011 Brookings book, Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change.
The capstone of a major institution-wide initiative, Campaign 2012 truly is Brookings at its best—explaining tough problems in accessible terms, and proposing viable solutions. It is one-stop shopping for citizens in need of a primer on the issues that will drive the 2012 presidential campaign.