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Gerald L. Baliles

Gerald L. Baliles, Director of the Miller Center

I welcome you to our blog Riding the Tiger: The Presidential Election in Context. The Miller Center is a non-partisan research institution that seeks to expand understanding of the presidency, policy, and political history, providing critical insights for our nation’s governance challenges. 

We intend to take the news and issues of the election campaign coverage and mine our resources to provide historical context to those issues. Our goal is to show when similar issues or situations have confronted presidents or presidential candidates, how they have responded—and how the lessons learned from those attempts, whether failed or successful, impact the decision-making by candidates today. 

There is no doubt that the national presidential election makes 2012 a critically important year for the U.S. and its future. Not only do we have deep governance challenges, but they must be addressed at a time when our political parties hold widely divergent opinions on the best way to approach them.

Many of the most pressing issues—the economy, foreign policy, to name a couple—feature prominently in any presidential election. Presidents have been confronted with making important, sometimes transformative decisions in these arenas for most of our national history. There are other issues unique to 2012, but their genesis and proposed solutions do not operate within a vacuum. History can often provide insight into the ways in which presidents must address or mitigate emerging problems.

In short, we believe that the lessons of history have much to teach us and the candidates.

With these blog entries, contributed by our scholars and designed to highlight existing materials and make them accessible to the public and press, the Miller Center intends to apply our resources and scholarship to add depth and dimension to the discussion of the day’s issues.

It is our hope that voters will turn to the thoughtful, informed  and nonpartisan entries contained here for insight, guidance, and clarification as the election of 2012 unfolds. We also encourage you to contact our Riding the Tiger team with questions and suggestions, since this is a site designed to be flexible and adaptable as the most pressing or perplexing issues of the election unfold.

We hope you will visit Riding the Tiger frequently!
Gerald L. Baliles


Date edited: 02/23/2012 (9:37AM)


I would like to be plugged in to your material.  Thanks very much. Erwin Hargrove

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