Why do some people talk about the U.S. having an imperial presidency?
Presidents Kennedy and Johnson sent American troops to Vietnam, H. Bush sent them to Saudi Arabia, Clinton sent them to Kosovo, all without war being declared by Congress. Clinton ordered our air force to bomb parts of the old Yugoslavia despite the fact that the House of Reps. had rejected a resolution that would have authorized the bombing. Nixon imposed wage and price controls on the country. Between them, Carter and Reagan selected most of the federal judges now on the bench. W. Bush created military tribunals to try captured terrorists and persuaded Congress to toughen antiterrorist laws.
Why do some people call the U.S. president a “pitiful, helpless giant?”
The president, compared to prime ministers of other democratic nations, is one of the weakest chief executives. Carter signed an arms-limitation treaty with the Soviets, but the Senate wouldn’t ratify it. Reagan wasn’t allowed to test antisatellite weapons, and in 1986 Congress rejected his budget before the ink was dry. Clinton’s health care plan was ignored, and the House voted to impeach him. Subordinates who are supposed to be loyal to the president leak his views to the press and undercut his programs before Congress.
Are both the “imperial presidency” and “pitiful, helpless giant” right terms to describe the U.S. president?
Yes. The American presidency is a unique office, with elements of great strength and profound weakness built into it by its constitutional origins.
Is there a nation in Europe with a purely presidential political system?
No. France combines a directly elected president with a prime minister and parliament.
Who’s invention was the popularly elected president?
How many countries have some degree of party competition?
Five dozen, therefore they also have some measure of free choice for voters. Only 16 countries have a directly elected president, 13 of these nations are in North and South America.
What is the democratic alternative for a directly elected president and which countries have it?
The alternative is for the chief executive to be a prime minister, chosen by and responsible to the parliament. This system prevails in most Western European countries and Israel and Japan.
Describe a parliamentary system.
The prime minister is the chief executive. The prime minister is chosen by the legislature, and he in turn selects the other ministers from the members of parliament. If parliament has only two major parties, the ministers will usually be chosen from the majority party. If there are many parties (Israel) several parties may participate in a coalition cabinet. The prime minister remains in power as long as his party has a majority of seats in the legislature or as long as the coalition he has assembled holds together. Voters choose who is to be a member of parliament- usually by voting for one or another party- but can’t choose the chief executive officer.
True or False. Whether a nation has a presidential or a parliamentary system makes a big difference in the identity and powers of the chief executive.
How can winning an election become easier?
Sometimes winning is easier if you can show the voters that you aren’t part of “the mess in Washington”. However, prime ministers are selected from among people already in parliament, so they are always insiders.
Who are some presidents that hadn’t served national office before they became president?
Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and W. Bush.
What was Franklin Roosevelt before he was president?
Assistant secretary of the navy and governor of New York.
What was Eisenhower before he became president?
A general, not a politician.
Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon had all been in…
How did George H.W. Bush have alot of executive experience in Washington?
He was vice-president, director of the CIA, and representative to China.
Clinton and George W. Bush both served as…
How many people were elected president from 1828 to 2000?
31 different people. Of these, the great majority were governors, military leaders, or vice presidents. Only 13% were legislators just before becoming president.
How is the appointment of offices in the executive branch different in a parliamentary system and a presidential system?
In a presidential system, no sitting member of Congress can hold office in the executive branch. The persons chosen by a prime minister to be in the cabinet are almost always members of parliament.
Of the 15 heads of cabinet-level departments in the first W. Bush administration…
Only four had been members of Congress.
Who usually gets appointed to cabinet positions in a presidential system of government?
Usually presidents choose close, personal friends or campaign aides, representatives of important constituencies (farmers, black, women), experts on various policy issues, or all four.
How does the prime minister of Great Britain pick his cabinet ministers?
From among members of Parliament. This is one way by which the prime minister exercises control over the legislature.
If you were an ambitious member of Parliament, and wanted to become prime minister someday, you would…
not antagonize the prime minister doing the appointing.
True or False. Presidents have no guaranteed majority in the legislation.
True. A president’s party often doesn’t have a congressional majority, instead Congress is often controlled by the opposite party, creating a divided government. A prime minister’s party (or coalition) always has a majority in parliament.
What does a divided government mean?
It means cooperation between the two branches, which is hard to achieve under the best of circumstances. Cooperation is further reduced by partisan bickering.
Why do the White House and Congress often work at cross-purposes, even when one party controls both of them?
The U.S. Constitution created a system of separate branches sharing powers. The founding fathers expected there would be conflict between the branches.
What are some examples of a President belonging to the same party of the majority in Congress, but not having much luck getting his proposals passed?
When JFK was president, the Democrats held a big majority in both the House and Senate. But he couldn’t get Congress to approve his proposals to enlarge civil rights, supply federal aid for school construction, create a Department of Urban Affairs and Housing, or establish a program of subsidized medical care for the elderly. During JFK’s last year, Congress passed 1/4 of his proposals. When Carter had a majority of Democrats, many of his most important proposals were defeated or greatly modified.
Which presidents have had success in leading a Congress of their same party?
FDR and Johnson only had brief success. For FDR, most of that success was confined to his first term or to wartime.
Describe the differences between how President W. Bush and prime minister Tony Blair managed the war in Iraq.
When Bush decided to fight, he had to “cajole” Congress (controlled by his own party), to support him. When Blair decided to fight, there couldn’t be any meaningful political resistance in parliament. When public opinion turn against Bush, he continued to fight because he couldn’t be removed from office. When public opinion turned against Blair, he announced he would resign and turn his job over to another person in his party.
Between 1952 and 2006, how many of the 27 congressional or presidential elections have produced a divided government?
18. When W. Bush became president in 2001, it was only the 3rd time since 1969 that the same party controlled the White House and Congress. It was the first time since 1953 when the Republicans were in charge. However, one Republican in Congress announced that he was independent and voted with the Democrats. The gov. was divided until another republican was elected in 2002.
A government in which one party controls the White House and a different party controls one or both houses of Congress.
The same party controls the White House and both houses of Congress.
Why do Americans say they don’t like divided government?
They think divided government produces partisan bickering, political paralysis, and policy gridlock.
What are wrong with these complaints?
First, it is not clear that divided government produces a gridlock any worse than that which exists with a unified government. Second, it’s not clear if gridlock is a bad thing for the country.
The inability of the government to act because rival parties control different parts of the government.
What have scholars concluded about unified and divided governments?
They concluded that divided governments do just about as well as unified ones in passing important laws, conducting important investigations, and ratifying significant treaties.
Describe David Mayhew’s study.
He studied 267 important laws enacted between 1946 and 1990. He found that those laws were as likely to be passed when there was a unified government as when there was a divided one.
Why do divided governments produce about as much important legislation as unified ones?
Unified government is a myth. Just because the Republicans control both the presidency and Congress doesn’t mean the president and the senators and representatives will see things the same way. Republicans are divided between conservatives and liberals and disagree about policy almost as much as Democrats and Republicans. The Constitution ensures that the president and Congress will be rivals for power, and thus rivals in policy-making.
What are some examples of unified governments not turning out so unified?
Johnson couldn’t get many Democratic members of Congress to support his war policy in Vietnam. Carter couldn’t get the Democratic Senate to ratify his strategic arms limitation treaty. Clinton couldn’t get the Democratic Congress to go along with his policy on gays in the military or his health proposals. When the heavily revised budget passed, it was by just one vote.
What is the only time when there is really a unified government?
When not just the same party is in effective control of both branches of government, but when the same ideological wing of that party is in effective control of both branches. This happened in 1933 when FDR was president and change-oriented Democrats controlled Congress, and in 1965 when Johnson was president and liberal Democrats dominated Congress.
True or False. An American president has more ability to decide what laws get passed than does a British prime minister.
False. An American president has less ability. The only cure for that weakness is to either change the Constitution so that our government resembles the parliamentary system, or always to vote into office members of Congress who agree with the president on policy issues.
Why do we all have an interest in some degree of gridlock?
All of us don’t like something. Even Americans who hate gridlock and want more leadership aren’t ready to make sweeping constitutional changes or to stop voting for presidents and members of Congress from different parties. This suggests that they like the idea of somebody being able to block a policy they don’t like.
In a typical presidential election, about 1/4 of all voters will…
vote for one party’s candidate for president and the other party’s candidate for Congress. This results in 1/4 of all congressional districts being represented in the House by a person who does not belong to the party of the president who carried the district.
Why do some scholars believe that voters split tickets deliberately?
So they can create a divided government and thus magnify the effects of the checks and balances built into our system. But the evidence supporting this belief isn’t conclusive.
a necessary consequence of a system of representative democracy.
Why is a gridlock the opposite of direct democracy?
Gridlock causes delays, intensifies deliberations, forces compromises, and requires the creation of broad-based coalitions to support most new policies. In a direct democracy, what the people want on some issue becomes law with as little fuss and bother as possible.
What does our book compare political gridlocks to?
Who are the only people that win in gridlocks?
Journalists and lobbyists.
What IS important?
The relative power of the president and Congress.
What was a big problem among the Framers during the Convention?
Defining the chief executive. The delegates feared anarchy as much as monarchy.
During the Convention, what were state constitutions like?
They gave most, if not all, power to the legislatures. In 8 states the governor was chosen by the legislature. In 10 states the governor could not serve more than a year. Only in NY, CT, and MA did governors have much power or could serve for any length of time.
What did some of the Framers propose for an executive?
A plural national executive, where several people would hold the executive power in different areas, or they would exercise the power as a committee. Others wanted the power checked by a council.
What did Hamilton want?
In a 5-hour speech he called for something like an elective monarchy, kind of like Britain. But no one really paid attention to his plan. (Or, at first, Wilson’s suggestion of a single, elected president).
Why did Wilson’s idea win?
People believed that the governing of a large nation threatened by foreign enemies required a single president with significant powers. Also, everyone assumed that Washington would be the first president and confidence in him-and his sense of self-restraint- was widely shared.
What did Edmund Randolph of Virginia think the presidency would become?
The foetus of monarchy.
What were people worried about in 1787-1789?
Some Americans suspected that the president, by being able to command the state militia, would use the militia to overpower state governments. Some worried that if the president were allowed to share treaty-making power with the Senate, he would be “directed by minions and favorites” and become a “tool of the Senate.”
What was the most frequent concern about the presidency in 1787?
It was over the possibility of presidential reelection. Americans were sufficiently suspicious of human nature and sufficiently experienced in the arts of mischievous government to believe that a president would arrange to stay in office in perpetuity by resorting to bribery, intrigue, and force. This could happen every time the presidential election was thrown into the House because no candidate had received a majority of the votes in the electoral college. Most people expected this to happen often.
Why do these concerns now seem foolish?
The power over the militia has had little significance. The election has gone to the House twice, in 1800 and 1824. Though the Senate dominated the presidency off and on during the 2nd half of the 1800s, it hasn’t done so recently.
What have been the actual sources of the expansion of presidential power?
The president’s role in foreign affairs, his ability to shape public opinion, his position as head of the executive branch, and his claims to have certain “inherent” powers by virtue of his office.
Why were the real sources of the expansion of presidential power hardly predictable in 1787?
There had never been an example of an American-style presidency. It was a unique and unprecedented institution.
How did Gouverneur Morris put the problem of the presidency?
Make him too weak: the Legislature will usurp his powers. Make him too strong: he will usurp on the Legislature.
What two items were of profound importance and were debated at great length at the Convention?
The relations between the president and Congress and the manner in which the president is elected. The first plan was for Congress to elect the president. But if that were done, Congress could dominate an honest or lazy president, while a corrupt or scheming president might dominate Congress.
What were some questions facing the delegates when deciding who would vote in presidential elections?
The emerging nation was diverse and large. It was unlikely that every citizen would be familiar enough with the candidates to cast an informed vote. A direct popular election would give inordinate weight to the large, populous states, and no plan with that outcome had any chance of adoption by the smaller states.
The people chosen to cast each state’s votes in a presidential election. When it was invented, each state could select electors in whatever manner it wished. Then the electors would meet in each state capital and vote for president and vice-president.
What did Framers expect the electors in the electoral college to do?
They expected the electoral college would lead to each state’s electors’ voting for a favorite son, and thus no candidate would win a majority of the popular vote. Then the House would make the choice.
How did the electoral college plan meet every test?
Large states would have their say, but small states would be protected by having a minimum of three electoral votes no matter how small their population. Together, the small states could wield considerable influence in the House, where it was expected most presidential elections would be decided.
What did the Framers not foresee?
They did not foresee the role that political parties would play in producing nationwide support for a slate of national candidates.
Once the manner of electing the president was settled…
the question of his powers was much easier to decide. If you believe that the procedures are fair and balanced, then you are more confident in assigning larger powers to the president within the system.
What are some of the powers that were given to the president?
The right to make treaties and the right to appoint lesser officials, both of which were originally reserved for the Senate.
How did Washington set a precedent for future presidents?
He firmly limited himself to two terms in office. No president served more until FDR.
Limited all presidents to two terms.
What have been subjects of continuing dispute?
The relations between the president and Congress. The pattern of relationships we see today is the result of an evolutionary process that has extended over more than two centuries.
What was the first problem about the president’s term of office?
It was to establish the legitimacy of the presidency itself. To ensure public acceptance of the office, its incumbent, and its powers and to establish an orderly transfer of power from one incumbent to the next.
What do we take for granted about transfer of power from one incumbent to the next?
Their swiftness and nonviolence. When W. Bush was inaugurated, Clinton quietly left. In other nations, this is unusual. Usually, a new chief executive comes to power with the aid of military force or as a result of political intrigue. His predecessor often leaves office disgraced, exiled, or dead.
During the Framers’ time, what event had just recently occurred?
France had undergone a bloody revolution, England had beheaded a king, and in Poland the ruler was elected by a manifestly corrupt process open to intrigue.
Why were the first men who served as president prominent in the nation?
They were all active either in the movement for independence or in the Founding (or both). Of the first 5 presidents, 4 (except Adams) served 2 full terms. Washington and Monroe weren’t opposed. The first administration had at the highest levels the leading spokesmen for all of the major viewpoints: Hamilton was Washington’s secretary of treasury (sympathetic to urban commercial interests, and Jefferson was secretary of state (rural, small-town and farming views)
What did people used to think about political parties?
Washington spoke against them. There was a stigma attached to them: many people believed that it was wrong to take advantage of divisions in the country, to organize them deliberately to acquire political office, or to make legislation depend upon party advantage.
Why was hostility to party (faction) unrealistic?
Parties are as natural to democracy as churches are to religion.
How was the establishing the legitimacy of the presidency made easier?
In the early years, the national government had relatively little to do. It had to establish a 2nd currency and settle debt accrued during the Revolution. The Treasury Department became the principal federal office. Relations with England and France were important (and difficult) but otherwise government took little time and few resources.
What emerged in appointing people to federal office?
A general rule of “fitness”: Those appointed should have some standing in their communities and be well thought of by their neighbors. Appointments based on partisanship soon arose, but community stature couldn’t be neglected.
How was the presidency kept modest?
Washington hadn’t sought the office and didn’t relish the exercise of its then modest powers. He traveled widely so that as many people as possible could see their new president. His efforts to establish a semiregal court etiquette were put down. Congress decided that not until after a president was dead would he appear on money.
Which president was the first to be given a pension on his retirement?
What event ended the responsibility of the Senate to “advise” the president?
Washington appeared before the Senate to ask its advice on a proposed treaty with some Indian tribes. He got none. He was told that Senate would like to consider the matter in private. He said that he would be “damned if he ever went there again.” He never did.
How many vetoes did the first few presidents cast?
Washington cast two. Jefferson and Adams cast none.
How was Jackson elected?
As a military hero, but he had been a member of the House and Senate.
How did Jackson use the powers of his office as no one before him had?
He vetoed 12 acts of Congress, more than all of his predecessors combined and more than any subsequent president until Andrew Johnson, 30 years later. His vetoes weren’t on constitutional grounds, but on policy ones. He saw himself as the “Tribune of the People”. He didn’t initiate many new policies, but he struck out against some he didn’t like. He did this when the size of the electorate was increasing and new states had entered the Union (24 states in total).
Did Jackson shrink from conflict with Congress?
No. There was tension between the two branches that was intended by the Framers.
What powerful figures walked the political stage at a time when bitter sectional conflicts over slavery and commercial policies were beginning to split the country?
Jackson in the White House and Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John Calhoun in Congress.
What were Jackson’s views?
He was opposed to a large and powerful federal government and wished to return to the agrarian simplicities of Jefferson’s time. But he was a believer in a strong and independent presidency.
What happened with the end of Jackson’s 2nd term?
Congress quickly reestablished its power. Except for the wartime presidency of Lincoln and brief flashes of presidential power under Polk and Cleveland, the presidency for 100 years was the subordinate branch of the national government. Of the 8 presidents who succeeded Jackson, two (Harrison and Taylor) died in office, and none of the others served more than one term. This was the era of “no-name” presidents.
What legacy of Jackson continued well into the 1900s?
It was an intensely partisan era. Public opinion was closely divided. In 9 of the 17 presidential elections between the end of Jackson’s term in 1837 and Teddy Roosevelt’s election in 1904, the winning candidate received less than half the popular vote. Only two candidates, Lincoln and Grant, received more than 55% of the popular vote.
During the long period of congressional dominance of the national government, which president broke new ground, and why was this unexpected?
Lincoln broke new ground for presidential power. He was elected in 1860, as a minority president, receiving less than 40% of the popular vote. He had been a member of the Whig party, which stood for limiting presidential power. He’d opposed America’s entry into the Mexican War and had been critical of Jackson’s use of executive authority.
What did Lincoln do as president during the Civil War?
He made unprecedented use of the vague gift of powers in Article II of the Constitution, especially those that he felt were “implied” or “inherent” in the phrase “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” and in the express authorization for him to act as commander in chief. Without congressional approval, Lincoln raised an army, spent money, blockaded southern ports, temporarily suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves.
How did Lincoln justify his actions?
By the emergency conditions created by the war. He was reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson, who while president waged undeclared war against various North African pirates.
Except for the administration of Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson, until the New Deal, what was the president?
A negative force. A source of opposition to Congress, not a source of initiative and leadership for it. After Lincoln, Congress again became powerful and the principal federal institution. However it had become quite clear that a national emergency could equip the president with great powers and that a popular and strong-willed president could expand his powers even without an emergency.
What was Cleveland like?
He had a strong personality, but although he tried, he wasn’t able to do much more than veto bills that he didn’t like. He cast 414 vetoes, more than any other president until FDR. Most of his vetoes went to bills to confer special pensions on Civil War veterans.
What are we accustomed to thinking about the presidency today, and why is this wrong?
We are accustomed to thinking that the president formulates a legislative program to which Congress then responds. But until the 1930s, the opposite was true. Congress ignored the initiatives of Cleveland, Hayes, Arthur, and Coolidge. In 1913, Wilson was the first since John Adams to personally deliver the State of the Union address. Wilson was also one of the first to develop and argue for a presidential legislative program.
Where did our popular conception of the president as a central figure of national government, devising a legislative program and commanding a large staff of advisers come from?
The modern era and the enlarged role of government.
In the past when would the presidency become powerful?
Only during a national crisis (wars) or because of an extraordinary personality (Jackson, Teddy, Wilson). However since the 1930s, the presidency has been powerful no matter who occupied the office and whether or not there was a crisis. Because the government now plays such an active role in our national life, the president is the natural focus of attention and the titular head of a huge federal administrative system.
True or False. The popular conception of the president as the central figure of national government doesn’t give a true impression of present-day legislative-executive relations.
Give some examples of how Congress, not the president often took the lead in setting the legislative agenda.
The 1990 Clear Air Act, like the 1970 Clean Air Act, was born and bred by mainly congressional action. When Bush signed the 1990 Clean Air Act or Clinton signed the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, each took credit for it, but both bills were designed by members of Congress. Although presidents dominated budget policy-making from the 1920s to the 1970s, they no longer do. Now, Congress proposes, and the president disposes, and legislative-executive relations involve hard bargaining and struggle between these two branches of government.
What are the two types of powers set forth in Article II of the Constitution?
Those he can exercise in his own right without formal legislative approval, and those that require the consent of the Senate or Congress.
What are some powers of the president alone?
1. Serve as commander in chief of the armed-forces. 2. Commission officers of the armed forces. 3. Grant reprieves and pardons for federal offenses (except impeachment). 4. Convene Congress in special sessions. 5. Receive ambassadors. 6. Take care that the laws be faithfully executed. 7. Wield the “executive power.” 8. Appoint officials to lesser offices.
What are some powers of the president that are shared with the Senate?
1. Make treaties. 2. Appoint ambassadors, judges, and high officials.
What are some powers of the president that are shared with Congress as a whole?
1. Approve legislation.
Taken alone and interpreted narrowly…
this list of powers is not very impressive. The president’s authority as commander in chief is important, but literally construed, most of the other constitutional grants seem to provide for little more than a president who is chief clerk of the country. In 1884, Wilson wrote a book called Congressional Government, in which he described the business of the president as “usually not much above routine” mostly “mere administration.” The president might as well be an officer of the civil service.
What was Wilson overlooking when he wrote his book?
He was overlooking some examples of enormously powerful presidents. He was not sufficiently attentive to the potential for presidential power to be found in the more ambiguous clauses of the Constitution as well as political realities of American life. The president’s authority as commander-in-chief has grown to encompass not only the direction of the military forces, but also the management of the economy and the direction of foreign affairs.
What is a quietly dramatic reminder of the awesome implications of the president’s military powers?
When a new president assumes office, an army officer carrying a locked briefcase moves from the side of the outgoing president to the side of the new one. In the briefcase are the secret codes and orders that permit the president to authorize the launching of American nuclear weapons.
What has become one of the most elastic phrases in the Constitution?
The president’s duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
What are some examples of presidents interpreting the above clause broadly?
Cleveland was able to use federal troops to break a labor strike in the 1890s and Ike was able to send troops to help integrate a public school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.
Where is the greatest source of presidential power found?
Not in the Constitution, but in politics and public opinion. Since the 1930s, Congress has passed laws that confer broad grants of authority to the executive branch, leaving it up to the president and his deputies to define the regulations and programs that will actually be put into effect.
Where do the American people look -always in times of crisis, but increasingly as an everyday matter- for leadership?
They look to the president for leadership and hold him responsible for a large and growing portion of our national affairs. The public thinks, wrongly, that the presidency is the “first branch” of government.
What were some trivial differences of the presidency in the past?
The president wasn’t allowed to have a private secretary paid for with public funds until 1857. The president was given a Secret Service bodyguard only after the assassination of McKinley in 1901. He wasn’t able to submit a single presidential budget until after 1921, when the Budget and Accounting Act was passed and the Bureau of the Budget (Office of Management and Budget) was created. Cleveland personally answered the White House telephone, and Lincoln often answered his own mail.
How has the White House become a large bureaucracy?
Today, the president has hundreds of people assisting him. There are helicopters, guards and limos. The White House staff has grown enormously. There are opportunities for presidential appointments to the cabinet, the courts, and various agencies. The president now confronts an army of assistants so large that it constitutes a bureaucracy that he has difficulty controlling.
What is the ability of a presidential assistant to affect the president governed by?
The rule of propinquity: Power is wielded by people who are in the room when a decision is made. There are three degrees of propinquity: the White House Office, The Executive Office, and the Cabinet.
Who is part of the White House Office?
The president’s closest assistants who have offices in the White House. Their titles don’t actually reveal the functions they perform: “counsel” “counselor” “assistant to the president” “special assistant” “special consultant”. The men and women who hold them oversee the political and policy interests of the president. They don’t have to be confirmed by the Senate, the president can hire and fire them at will. In 2001, the Bush White House had 400 staff members.
What are the three ways in which a president can organize his White House Office, or personal staff?
Pyramid Structure, Circular Structure, or Ad Hoc Structure
Used by Ike, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and later Clinton. A president’s subordinates report to him through a clear chain of command headed by a chief of staff.
Used by Carter. Several of the president’s assistants report directly to him.
Ad Hoc Structure.
Used for awhile by Clinton. Several subordinates, cabinet officers, informal groups of friends, and committees report directly to the president on different matters. For example: The Clinton administration’s health care policy planning was spear headed not by Health and Human Services secretary, but by Hillary Clinton and a White House adviser, Ira Magaziner.
Can presidents mix methods?
Yes, it is common. FDR alternated between the circular and ad hoc methods in the conduct of his domestic policy and sometimes employed a pyramid structure when dealing with foreign affairs and military policy.
What are some advantages and disadvantages of each method of organization?
A pyramid structure provides for an orderly flow of information, but it risks isolating or misinforming the president. The circular method has the virtue of giving the president a great deal of information, but risks confusion and conflict among cabinet secretaries and assistants. An ad hoc structure allows great flexibility, minimizes bureaucratic inertia, and generates ideas and information from disparate channels, but risks cutting the president off from the government officials who are ultimately responsible for translating presidential decisions into policy proposals and administrative action.
How did Carter describe his White House Office?
He liked to describe his office as a wheel with himself as the hub and his several assistants as spokes.
What did Carter discover about the circular method?
The difficulty of managing the large White House bureaucracy and of conserving their own limited supply of time and energy makes it necessary for them to rely heavily on one or two key subordinates. Carter altered the White House Office organization by elevating Hamilton Jordan to the post of chief of staff, with the job of coordination the work of the other staff assistants.
How did Reagan and Clinton change their methods of organization?
Reagan adopted a compromise between the circle and the pyramid, putting the White house under the direction of three key aides. However, at the beginning of his second term, he shifted to a pyramid, placing all his assistants under a single chief of staff. Clinton began with an ad hoc system, and then changed to a pyramid.
What are special assistants to the president?
If they are “special,” they are less important.
Where do senior White House staff members come from?
They are drawn from the ranks of the president’s campaign staff-longtime associates in whom he has confidence. A few members will be experts brought in after the campaign (like Kissinger, a Harvard professor that was Nixon’s assistant for national security affairs.
What were the offices like that the White Houses staff members occupied?
They were small and crowded, but their occupants willingly put up with any discomfort in exchange for the privilege (and power) of being in the White House.
The arrangement of offices-their size, and especially their proximity to the president’s Oval Office- is…
a good measure of the relative influence of the people in them.
What does the White House staff attach enormous significance to?
To whose office is closest to the president’s, who gets to see him on a daily as opposed to weekly basis, who can get an appointment with the president and who can’t, and who has a right to see documents and memoranda just before they go to the Oval Office.
How is having an office close to the Oval Office something more important than power plays and ego trips?
Who can see the president and who sees and “signs off” on memoranda going to the president affect in important ways who influences policy and thus whose goals and beliefs become embedded in policy.
Who is in the Executive Office of the President?
Agencies in the Executive Office report directly to the president and perform staff services for him, but aren’t located in the White House. The members may or may not have intimate contact with him. Some agencies are large bureaucracies. Principal Agencies: Office of Management and Budget. Director of National Intelligence. Council of Economic Advisers. Office of Personnel Management. Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Who appoints the Executive Office?
The president, but these appointments must be confirmed by the Senate.
Of all the agencies in the Executive Office, which is the most important?
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the most important. It was originally called the Bureau of Budget. Today, it assembles and analyzes the figures that go each year into the national budget that the president submits to Congress, studies the organization and operations of the executive branch, devises plans for reorganizing various departments and agencies, develops ways of getting better information about government programs, and reviews proposals that cabinet departments want included in the president’s legislative program.
What kind of staff does OMB have?
Over 500 people. Almost all are career civil servants, many of high professional skill and substantial experience.
How has OMB changed?
Traditionally, OMB has been a nonpartisan agency-experts serving all presidents, without regard to party or ideology. However in recent administrations, OMB has played a major role in advocating polices rather than analyzing them. Reagan’s OMB director, Stockman, was the primary architect of the 1981 and 1985 budget cuts that were proposed by the president and enacted by Congress.
The cabinet is a product of…
tradition and hope.
The heads of the 15 executive branch departments of the federal government.
What did the heads of the federal departments used to do?
They used to meet regularly with the president to discuss matters. Some people, especially critics of strong presidents, would like to see this kind of collegial decision-making reestablished.
Why is the role of the cabinet meeting regularly with the president largely a fiction?
The Constitution doesn’t even mention the cabinet. When Washington tried to get his cabinet members to work together, its two strongest men, Hamilton and Jefferson, spent most of the time fighting. The cabinet, as a presidential committee, didn’t work any better for John Adams, Lincoln, FDR, or JFK.
Who is almost the only modern president who came close to making the cabinet a truly deliberative body?
Ike. He gave it a large staff, held regular meetings, and listened to opinions expressed there. However, even under Ike, the cabinet did not have much influence over presidential decisions, nor did it help him gain more power over the government.
Is the order of the 15 major executive departments’ creation important?
Only in protocol. Where one sits at cabinet meetings is determined by the age of the department that one heads. State and Treasury sit next to the president, since they are the oldest.
How does the president’s cabinet compare to the British prime minister’s cabinet?
The president appoints or directly controls more members of his cabinet than the British prime minister. This is because the president must struggle with Congress for control of the cabinet, while the prime minister has no rival branch of government that seeks this power. Presidents get more appointments than prime ministers to make up for what the separation of powers denies them.
Describe the president’s power over the cabinet?
Although he can appoint people, he doesn’t have ample power over the departments. The secretary of Health and Human Services reports to the president and has a few hundred political appointees to assist him in responding to the president’s wishes. But the secretary of HHS heads an agency with over 60,000 employees, hundreds of grant-making programs, and a budget of more than $460 billion. The secretary is largely a representative of HHS to the president than a president’s representative to HHS.
What is one great advantage that appointing the cabinet gives the president?
The president has a lot of opportunities to reward friends and political supporters.
What is the fourth group the president appoints people to?
Independent Agencies, Commissions, and Judgeships. The heads of executive agencies serve at the pleasure of the president and can be removed at his discretion. But the heads of many independent agencies serve for fixed terms of office and can be removed only “for cause.”
How do SC judges get appointed?
The president can appoint federal judges, subject to the consent of the Senate. Judges serve for life unless they are removed by impeachment and conviction.
Why are there special barriers to the removal of federal judges?
The judges represent an independent branch of government as defined by the Constitution, and limits on presidential removal powers are necessary to preserve that independence.
Describe “acting appointments.”
An acting appointee holds office until the Senate acts on his or her nomination. In 1998, acting officials held 1/5 of all the Clinton’s administration’s cabinet or subcabinet-level jobs. Some were in office for many months. Some senators feel this violates their right to consent to appointments and violates the Vacancies Act. It limits acting appointees to 120 days in office. If the Senate takes no action during those 120 days, the acting official may stay in office until he or someone else is confirmed to the post. Senators attack this as an opportunity for a president to fill up his administration with unconfirmed officials.
Contrast the cabinet members in a parliamentary system and the cabinet members in a presidential one.
Although a president can make a lot of appointments, he rarely knows more than a few of the people whom he appoints. Unlike the cabinet in a parliamentary system, the president’s cabinet officers and their deputies usually haven’t served with the chief executive in the legislature.
Where does the president’s cabinet come from?
They come from private business, universities, “think tanks,” foundations, law firms, labor unions, and the ranks of former and present members of Congress as well as past state and local government officials.
A president is fortunate if most cabinet members…
turn out to agree with him on major policy questions.
What evidence shows that the executive branch is not run by novices?
One study of over 1,000 appointments to the cabinet and subcabinet made by 5 presidents (FDR through Johnson) found that 85% of the cabinet, subcabinet, and independent agency appointees had some prior federal experience. Most were in government service just before they received their cabinet or subcabinet appointment.
What does Richard Neustadt call the appointees of cabinet and subcabinet jobs?
“In-and-outers.” People who alternate between jobs in the federal government and ones in the private sector. An example of this is Donald Rumsfeld. Before becoming secretary of defense to W. Bush, he had been the secretary of defense and chief of staff under Ford, and before that a member of Congress. Between his Ford and Bush services, he was an executive in a large pharmaceutical company. In parliamentary systems, all the cabinet officers come from the legislature and are typically full-time career politicians.
What was the cabinet filled with at one time?
Many people with strong political followings of their own-former senators and governors and powerful local party leaders. For Ex: Washington and Lincoln had had to contend with cabinet members who were powerful figures. Washington had Hamilton and Jefferson. Simon Cameron and Salmon P. Chase worked for (and against) Lincoln.
Under FDR, Truman, and JFK, what had their postmaster generals previously been?
The president’s campaign manager.
Before 1824, what was the secretary of state regarded as?
As a steppingstone to the presidency. After that at least 10 people ran for president who had been either secretary of state or ambassador to a foreign country.
Recently, who have presidents been electing to their cabinets?
People known for their expertise or administrative experience rather than for their political following. This is because political parties are so weak now that party leaders can no longer demand a place in the cabinet; and because presidents want “experts.”
What is a remarkable illustration of “experts” being appointed to cabinet positions?
The number of people with Ph.D’s who have entered the cabinet. Nixon, who didn’t like Harvard professors, appointed two-Henry Kissinger and Daniel Patrick Moynihan-to important posts. Ford added a third, John Dunlop.
What is a president’s desire to appoint experts who don’t have independent political modified by?
By his need to recognize various politically important groups, regions, and organizations. Ever since Robert Weaver became the first African-American to serve in the cabinet, under Johnson, it is clear that it would be costly for a president not to have blacks in his cabinet. W. Bush and Clinton appointed many women and minorities to their cabinet.
W. Bush’s national security adviser, and later, becoming the first black woman to be a secretary of state.
Bush’s secretary of state. First African-American secretary of state.
Why is there tension (maybe rivalry) between the White House staff and the department heads?
Staff members see themselves as extensions of the president’s personality and policies. Department heads see themselves as repositories of expert knowledge (usually as why something will not work as the president hopes). Many white house staffers are in their 20s and 30s with little executive experience. Department heads are usually in their 50s with substantial executive experience. Usually the white house staffers will tell department heads that the president wants this or the president asked me to tell you, etc. When department heads call a white house staff person and asks to see the president, they are often told that the president doesn’t have time, unless you are one of the ones the president has special confidence in.
What does every president bring to the white house?
A distinctive personality. The way the white house is organized and run will reflect that personality. The public will judge the president in terms of its perception of his character. Thus personality plays a more important role in explaining the presidency than it does in explaining Congress.
What was Ike’s personality?
He brought an orderly, military style. He was used to delegating authority and to having careful and complete staff work done for him by trained specialists. Critics accused him of having an incoherent manner of speaking, but that was a strategy for avoiding being pinned down in public on matters where he wished to retain freedom of action.
What was JFK’s personality?
He projected the image of a bold, articulate, and amusing leader who liked to surround himself with talented amateurs. There was a pattern of personal rule and an atmosphere of improvisation. He didn’t hesitate to call very junior subordinates directly and tell them what to do, bypassing the chain of command.
What was Lyndon Johnson’s personality?
He was a master legislative strategist who had risen to be majority leader of the Senate by his ability to persuade politicians in face-to-face encounters. He was a consummate deal maker, who, having been in Washington for 30 years before becoming president, knew everyone and everything. He tried to make every decision himself. He was not good at speaking to the country at large, especially when trying to retain public support for the Vietnam War.
What was Nixon’s personality?
Nixon was a highly intelligent man with a deep knowledge of and interest in foreign policy, coupled with a deep suspicion of media, his political rivals, and the federal bureaucracy. He disliked personal confrontations and shielded himself behind an elaborate staff system. Distrustful of cabinet agencies, he tried to centralize power in the White House and then put into key cabinet posts former white house aides loyal to him. His personality made it difficult for him to mobilize popular support. He was forced to resign over threat of impeachment.
What was Ford’s personality?
Before becoming VP, he had spent his entire political life in Congress and was at home with the give-and-take, discussion-oriented procedures of that body. He was a genial man who liked talking to people. Therefore, he preferred the circular to the pyramid system. But this meant that many decisions were made in a disorganized fashion in which key people, sometimes key problems, were not taken into account.
What was Carter’s personality?
He was proud of being an outsider to Washington. A former GA governor, he was determined not to be “captured” by Washington insiders. He was an avid reader with a wide range of interests and an appetite for detail. Therefore, he tried to do many things personally. He began with a circular structure and based his decisions on reading countless memos and asking detailed questions. His advisers decided he was trying to do too much in too great detail, and he shifted to a pyramid structure.
What was Reagan’s personality?
He was also an outsider, a former governor of CA. Unlike Carter, he wanted to set broad directions of his administration and leave the details to others. He gave wide latitude to subordinates and to cabinet officers, within the framework of an emphasis on lower taxes, less domestic spending, a military buildup, and a tough line with the Soviet Union. He was a great leader of public opinion, earning the nickname, “The Great Communicator.”
What was George H. W. Bush’s personality?
He lacked Reagan’s speaking skills, and was a more hands-on manager. He had been a VP, director of the CIA, ambassador to the UN, representative to China, and a member of the House. Drawing on his extensive experience in the federal government, Bush made decisions on the basis of personal contacts with key foreign leaders and Washington officials.
What was Clinton’s personality?
He, like Carter, paid a lot of attention to public policy and preferred informal, ad hoc arrangements for running his office. He was an effective speaker who could make any idea sound plausible. He was elected as a centrist Democrat but pursued liberal policies. When that failed and Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, he became centrist again. His sexual affairs became the object of major investigations. He was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate.
What was George W. Bush’s personality?
He was an outsider from TX who had won the presidency only after the SC halted a recount of ballots in FL, where his brother was governor. He focused on domestic issues, especially cutting taxes and reforming education. He was deeply religious and talked about how he stopped excessive drinking after he had found God. He ran as a “compassionate conservative.” He ran a very tight ship. He turned back public doubts about his intellect through self-deprecating humor. After 9/11, his agenda shifted to foreign and military affairs, the war on terror, and the issue of homeland security.
What does the sketchy constitutional powers and the lack of an assured legislature mean for the president?
It means that he must rely heavily on persuasion if he is to accomplish much.
How does the Constitution give him some advantages in this area?
He and the VP are the only officials elected by the whole nation, and he is the ceremonial head of state and the chief executive of the government. The president can use his national constituency and ceremonial duties to enlarge his power.
Why must the president use national constituency and ceremonial duties to enlarge his power quickly?
Because the second half of his first term will be devoted to running for reelection, especially if he faces opposition for his own party’s nomination (Carter and Ford).
What is the first (and most important) audience that the president’s persuasive powers are aimed at?
D.C., audience of fellow politicians and leaders. Neustadt points out that a president’s reputation among his Washington colleagues is of great importance in affecting how much respect his views receive and consequently how much power he can wield. If a president is thought to be smart, sure of himself, cool, on top of things, or shrewd, and thus effective, than he will be effective. Truman, Ford, and Carter didn’t have that reputation, and they lost ground accordingly.
Power, like beauty…
exists largely in the eye of the beholder.
What is the second audience that the president’s persuasive powers are aimed at?
Party activists and officeholders outside D.C.- the partisan grassroots. They want the president to exemplify their principles, trumpet their slogans, appeal to their fears and hopes, and help them get reelected. They will expect “their” president to make fire and brimstone speeches that confirm in them a shared sense of purpose and, incidentally, help them raise money from contributors to state and local campaigns.
What is the third audience that the president’s persuasive powers are aimed at?
The public, which is really many publics, all with a different view or set of interests.
What is the difference between how a president speaks on the campaign trail, and how he speaks in office?
A president on the campaign trail speaks boldly of what he will accomplish; a president in office speaks quietly of the problems that must be overcome. The tendency of officeholders to sound mealy-mouthed and equivocal irritates citizens. But it’s easy to criticize the cooking when you haven’t been the cook.
What does a president learn quickly about what he says?
He learns that his every utterance will be scrutinized closely by media and by organized groups here and abroad. His errors of fact, judgment, timing, and infliction will be pointed out.
Describe how presidents have made fewer and fewer impromptu remarks in the years since FDR.
Instead they have relied more on prepared speeches from which political errors can be taken out in advance. Hoover and Roosevelt held six or seven press conferences each month, but every president from Nixon to Clinton has held barely one a month. Modern presidents make formal speeches. The president’s use of these speeches are called the bully pulpit, which takes advantage of the prestige and visibility of the presidency to try to guide or mobilize the American people.
What is the goal of the president using his persuasive powers?
To convert personal popularity into congressional support for the president’s legislative programs.
Why should Congress not care about a president’s popularity?
Most members of Congress are secure in their seats and they shouldn’t fear party bosses who might deny them renomination. The president can’t provide credible rewards or penalties to members of Congress. FDR tried to purge members of Congress who opposed his program, but he failed. Few Congressmen are rarely in trouble, and those that are are rarely saved by presidential intervention.
For a while scholars thought that congressional candidates might ______ from the president’s coattails.
Benefit. Candidates might ride into office on the strength of the popularity of a president of their own party. It is true, that a winning president will find that his party’s strength in Congress increases.
What are some good reasons to doubt whether the pattern observed (of a winning president finding that his party’s strength in Congress increases) is the result of presidential coattails?
There are exceptions. Ike won 57.4% of the vote in 1956, but the Republicans lost seats in the House and Senate. Kennedy won in 1960 but the Democrats lost seats in the House and gained only one in the Senate. When Nixon was reelected in 1972 with one of the largest majorities in history, the Republicans lost seats in the Senate.
What do careful studies of voter attitudes and of how presidential and congressional candidates fare in the same districts suggest?
They suggest that the effect of coattails has declined in recent years and is quite small today.
What are some causes of the decline of presidential coattails?
The weakening of party loyalty and of party organizations, combined with the enhanced ability of members of Congress to build secure relations with their constituents, has tended to insulate congressional elections from presidential ones.
Recently, why have voters chosen members of Congress of the same party as an incoming president?
They usually do so out of a desire for a general change and as an adverse judgment about the outgoing party’s performance as a whole, not because they want to supply the new president with members of Congress favorable to him. When Reagan was elected in 1980, the big increase in Republican congressmen was probably the result of the unpopularity of the outgoing president and the circumstances of various local races as it was of Reagan’s coattails.
What does a president’s popularity have a significant effect on and why?
How much of his program Congress passes. Though members of Congress don’t fear a president who threatens to campaign against them (or cherish one who promises to support them), members of Congress have a sense that it is risky to oppose too adamantly the policies of a popular president. Politicians tend to rise and fall together. A president’s popularity is associated with the proportion of his legislative proposals that are approved by Congress. The more popular a president, the higher the proportion of his bills Congress will pass.
Why are “presidential victories” hard to measure accurately?
A president can be successful on big bill, or on a trivial one. If he is successful on a lot of small matters and never on a big one, the measure of presidential victories doesn’t tell us much. Also, a president can keep his victory score high by not taking a position on any controversial matter. Also, a president can appear successful if a few bills he likes are passed, but most of his legislative program is bottled up in Congress and never comes to a vote.
What is a fourth general caution?
Presidential popularity is hard to predict and can be greatly influenced by factors over which nobody has mush control. Bush had the highest disapproval rating (25%). Bush’s approval ratings for his first 6 months were typical for post-1960 presidents. But from the terrorist attack through mid-2002, his approval rating was never below 70%. The approval he received shortly after the attack (90%) were the highest ever.
What does presidential popularity’s value do?
It declines. Every president except Ike, Reagan, and Clinton lost popular support between his inauguration and the time that he left office, except when his reelection gave him a brief burst of renewed popularity.
What various things hurt president’s popularity?
Truman was hurt by improprieties among his subordinates and by the protracted Korean War; Johnson was crippled by the increasing unpopularity of the Vietnam War; Nixon was damaged by Watergate; Ford was hurt by having pardoned Nixon for his part in Watergate; Carter was weakened by continuing inflation, staff irregularities, and the Iranian kidnapping of American hostages; H. W. Bush was harmed by an economic recession; W. Bush suffered from public criticism of the war in Iraq.
What is a “honeymoon”?
When a president’s popularity tends to be highest right after an election. The president’s love affair with the people and with Congress can be consummated. FDR enjoyed a honeymoon in his first 100 days. From March to June 1933, FDR obtained from a willing Congress a vast array of new laws creating new agencies and authorizing new powers. But that was also because America was in one of the worst depressions ever.
Have other presidents, serving in more normal times, enjoyed such a honeymoon?
No. Only Johnson enjoyed a highly productive relationship with Congress; until the Vietnam War sapped his strength, he rarely lost. Reagan began his administration with important victories in his effort to cut expenditures and taxes, but in his second year in office he ran into trouble.
How is the decay in the reputation of the president and his party in midterm evident?
Since 1934, in every off-year election but two, the president’s party has lost seats in one or both houses of Congress. Two exceptions: In 1998 (Clinton), the Democrats won five seats in the House and lost none in the Senate. In 2002 (W. Bush), the Republicans gained 8 House seats and 2 in the Senate.
True or False. The ability of the president to persuade is important but limited.
What things can the president do to say no, block action, and force Congress to bargain with him over the substance of policies?
The Constitution gives the president the power to veto legislation. Most presidents have also asserted the right of “executive privilege,” or the right to withhold information that Congress may want to obtain from the president or his subordinates, and some presidents have tried to impound funds appropriated by Congress.
What are two ways a president can veto a bill?
1. Veto Message. This is a statement that the president sends to Congress accompanying the bill, within 10 days (not counting Sundays) after the bill has been passed. In it he sets forth the reasons for not signing the bill. 2. Pocket Veto. If the president doesn’t sign a bill within 10 days and Congress has adjourned within that time, then it will not become a law. A pocket veto can only be used just before Congress adjourns at the end of its second session. Presidents have pocket vetoed a bill just before Congress recessed for a summer vacation or to permit its members to campaign during an off-year election.
Describe how Senator Edward M. Kennedy of MA changed the pocket veto rules.
He said that using a pocket veto while Congress is recessed is unconstitutional because a recess is not the same as an adjournment. This was brought to the federal court, and Kennedy was upheld, and now the pocket veto can be used only just before the life of a given Congress expires.
What happens to a bill that is not signed or vetoed within 10 days while Congress is still in session?
It becomes a law automatically, even without the president’s approval.
What happens to a bill that has been returned to Congress with a veto message?
It can still become a law if at least 2/3 of each house votes to override the veto. However, a bill that receives a pocket veto can’t be brought back to life by Congress, nor does this bill carry over to the next session of Congress. If Congress wants to press the matter, it will have to start all over again by passing the bill anew in its next session.
Do presidents have the power of a line-item veto?
They didn’t, but most governors did. In 1996, Congress passed a bill, giving the president the power of enhanced rescission, meaning the president could cancel parts of a spending bill passed by Congress without vetoing the entire bill. The president had 5 days to rescind some parts of what he had signed. These rescissions would take effect unless Congress, by a 2/3 vote, overturned them. Congress could choose which parts of the president’s cancellations it wanted to overturn. But the SC has decided that this law is unconstitutional.
What is an advantage of having the line-item veto illegal?
Congress could take advantage of this by putting items the president did not like into a bill he otherwise favored, forcing him to approve those provisions along with the rest of the bill or reject the whole thing.
Why is the president’s veto power a substantial one?
Because Congress rarely has the votes to override it. From Washington to Clinton, over 2,500 vetoes were cast, but only about 4% have been overridden.
Who made the most extensive use of the vetoes?
Cleveland, FDR, Truman, and Ike. They account for 65% of all vetoes ever cast.
Who didn’t veto any bill in his first term?
What often happens to vetoed legislation?
It is often revised by Congress and passed in a form suitable to the president. This is frequent enough so that both branches of government recognize that the veto, or the threat of it, is part of an elaborate process of political negotiation in which the president has substantial powers.
Does the Constitution say anything about executive privilege?
No. But presidents have acted as if they do have the privilege of confidentiality between his principal advisers.
What two grounds is the presidential claim to executive privilege based on?
1. The doctrine of the separation of powers means that one branch of government doesn’t have the right to inquire into the internal workings of another branch headed by constitutionally named officers. 2. The principles of statecraft and prudent administration require that the president have the right to obtain confidential and candid advice from subordinates; such advice couldn’t be obtained if it would be exposed to public scrutiny.
What is an example of executive privilege?
In 1962, a Senate committee explicitly accepted a claim by President Kennedy that his secretary of defense, McNamara, was not obliged to divulge the identity of Defense Department officials who had censored certain speeches by generals and admirals.
Has Congress been happy with the claim of executive privilege?
No, but they never seriously disputed it until 1973.
Describe United States v. Nixon.
In 1974, it was the first time the SC met the issue of executive privilege directly. As part of his investigation of Watergate, a federal prosecutor wanted tape recordings of White House conversations between Nixon and his advisers. The SC ruled (by a unanimous vote) that there is no “absolute unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.” To admit otherwise would be to block the constitutionally defined function of the federal courts to decide criminal cases. Nixon was ordered to hand over the disputed tapes and papers to a federal judge so that the judge could decide which were relevant to the case at hand.
What might a future president be able to persuade the Court?
That a different set of records or papers is so sensitive as to require protection, especially if there is no allegation of criminal misconduct requiring the production of evidence in court.
In Clinton v. Jones, what did Clinton’s lawyers attempt to claim?
Executive privilege for Secret Service officers and government-paid lawyers who worked with Clinton. But federal courts held that a president can be sued, and other officials can’t claim executive privilege.
What was an unhappy consequence of Clinton v. Jones?
The courts have greatly weakened the number of officials with whom the president can speak in confidence. It is not easy to run an organization when the courts can later compel your associates to testify about everything you said.
What is an impoundment of funds?
When presidents have refused to spend money appropriated by Congress. Truman didn’t spend all Congress wanted him to on the armed forces. Johnson didn’t spend all Congress made available for highway construction. Kennedy didn’t spend money appropriated for new weapons systems he didn’t like.
How far does the precedent for impounding funds go?
It goes back to at least the Jefferson administration.
Is impounding funds constitutional?
The Constitution is silent on whether the president must spend the money that Congress appropriates. All it says is that the president can’t spend money that Congress hasn’t appropriated.
Describe how the Budget Reform Act of 1974 came about.
In 1972, Nixon wanted to reduce federal spending so he proposed that Congress give him the power to reduce federal spending so it wouldn’t exceed $250 billion for the coming year. Congress refused. Nixon then pocket-vetoed 12 spending bills and impounded funds appropriated under other laws that he hadn’t vetoed.
What is the Budget Reform Act of 1974?
It requires the president to spend all appropriated funds unless he first tells Congress what funds he wishes not to spend and Congress, within 45 days, agrees to delete the items. If he wishes to delay spending, he informs Congress, but Congress can refuse the delay by passing a resolution requiring the immediate release of the money. Federal courts have upheld the rule that the president must spend, without delay for policy reasons, money that Congress has appropriated.
A presidential document that reveals what the president thinks of a new law and how it ought to be enforced. Since at least Monroe, the White House has issued statements at the time the president signs a bill that has been passed by Congress.
What are the purposes of the signing statements?
To express presidential attitudes about the law, to tell the executive branch how to implement it, or to declare that the president thinks that some part of the law is unconstitutional.
What did Jackson do?
In 1830, he issued a statement saying that a law designed to build a road from Chicago to Detroit shouldn’t cross the MI boundary. Congress complained, but the road did not get to Chicago.
When did signing statements become more common?
In the 20th century. Reagan issued 71, H.W. Bush 141, and Clinton 105. By the late 1980s they were being published in legal documents as part of the legislative history of a bill. By mid-2006, W. Bush had signed over 750.
Why are members of Congress naturally upset by signing statements?
They often block the enforcement of a law Congress has passed, so it is equivalent to a line-item veto. But presidential advisers have defended signing statements, arguing that they not only clarify how the law should be implemented but allow the president to declare what part of the law is in his view unconstitutional and thus ought not to be enforced at all.
Has the SC ever given a clear verdict about the constitutional significance of signing statements?
No. But they have allowed signing statements to clarify the unclear legislative intent of a law. By 2007, the Democratic Congress was considering a challenge to the practice.
What is the struggle over signing statements?
It is another illustration of what one scholar has called the “invitation to struggle” that the Constitution has created between the president and Congress.
Do presidential candidates have any time to study the issues in depth?
No. They couch their ideas in simple slogans. Your advisers are political aids, not legislative specialists.
When appointing people to positions, delivering the State of the Union address, and writing a budget, does the Constitution help?
What is the difference between the demands placed on a president in the olden times, and now?
Back then, the demands placed on a newly elected president weren’t very great, because the president wasn’t expected to do much. The president might speak of the tariff, relations with England, the value of veterans’ pensions, or the need for civil service reform, but he wasn’t expected to have something to say (and offer) everybody. Now he is.
To develop policies on short notice, what will a president do?
He will draw on several sources: Interest groups; aides and campaign advisers; federal bureaus and agencies; outside, academic, and other specialists and experts.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of interest groups?
Strength: Will have specific plans and ideas. Weakness: Will have narrow view of the public interest.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of aides and campaign advisers?
Strength: Will test new ideas for their political soundness. Weakness: Will not have many ideas to test, being inexperienced in government.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of federal bureaus and agencies?
Strength: Will know what is feasible in terms of governmental realities. Weakness: Will propose plans that promote own agencies and will not have good information on whether plans will work.
What are the strengths and weakness of outside, academic, and other specialists and experts?
Strength: Will have many general ideas and criticisms of existing programs. Weakness: Will not know the details of policy or have good judgment as to what is feasible.
What are the two ways for a president to develop a program?
1. Have a policy on almost everything. Work endless hours and study countless documents, trying to learn something about, and then state positions on, a large number of issues (Carter and Clinton). 2. Concentrate on 3 or 4 major initiatives or themes and leave everything else to subordinates (Reagan).
What can’t a president do, even when he has a governing philosophy, like Reagan?
He can’t risk plunging ahead on his own. Before committing himself fully to a program, he must judge public and congressional reaction to it. So, he will allow parts of the program to be “leaked.” Reagan leaked his ideas on Social Security and certain budget cuts to test popular reaction. His opponents in the bureaucracy leaked controversial parts of the program, hoping to discredit the policy. This process is why so many news stories from Washington mention only an anonymous “highly placed source.”
In addition to risks of adverse reaction, what other three constraints does the president face?
1. Limit of his time and attention span. 2. Unexpected Crisis. 3. The fact that the federal government and most federal programs can only be changed marginally, except in special circumstances.
Describe the president’s constraint of time and attention span.
A 90-hour week is typical. Congress passes between 400 and 600 bills a year. The president must either veto, sign, or let it take effect without his signature. Many people want to see him. Hundreds of phone calls must be made to members of Congress and others in order to ask for help, to smooth ruffled feathers, or to get information. He must receive all newly appointed ambassadors and visiting heads of state. He must have his picture taken with many people.
What unexpected crises did Kennedy have?
Failure of Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Soviet Union put missiles in Cuba. China invades India. Federal troops sent to the South to protect blacks.
What unexpected crises did Johnson have?
Vietnam War. Black riots in major cities. War between India and Pakistan. Civil war in Dominican Republic. Arab-Israeli War. Civil rights workers murdered in South.
What unexpected crises did Nixon have?
Watergate scandal. Arab-Israeli War. Value of dollar falls in foreign trade. Arabs raise the price of oil.
What unexpected crises did Carter have?
OMB director Bert Lance accused of improprieties. Lengthy coal strike. Seizure of American hostages in Iran. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
What unexpected crises did Reagan have?
Poland suppresses solidarity movement. U.S. troops sent to Lebanon. U.S. hostages held in Lebanon. Civil war in Nicaragua. Iran-contra crisis.
What unexpected crises did H.W. Bush have?
Soviet Union dissolves. Iraq invades Kuwait.
What unexpected crises did Clinton have?
Civil war continues in Bosnia and other parts of the former Yugoslavia. Investigation of possible wrongdoing of President and Mrs. Clinton in Whitewater real estate development. Clinton impeached.
What unexpected crises did W. Bush have?
Terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon kill close to 3,000 people. U.S.-led war against terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Describe the third constraint on a president’s ability to plan a program.
The federal government and most federal programs, as well as the federal budget, can only be changed marginally, except in special circumstances. Most federal expenditures are beyond control in any given year. The money must be spent whether the president likes it or not. Many federal programs have such strong congressional or public support that they must be left intact or modified only slightly. This means that most federal employees can count on being secure in their jobs, whateer a president’s views on reducing the bureaucracy.
What is the result of these constraints?
The president has to be selective about what he wants. Let’s compare a president’s influence and prestige to money. If he wants to get the most “return” on his resources, he must “invest” that influence and prestige carefully in enterprises the promise substantial gains- in public benefits and political support-at reasonable costs. He must find a few specific proposals on which he bets his resources, but still leaving a substantial stock of resources in reserve to handle the inevitable crises and emergencies.
What have events in recent decades caused every president to devote much of his time and resources to?
The state of the economy and foreign affairs. What he manages to do beyond this will depend on his personal views and his sense of what the nation and his reelection and opinion polls require.
Who was the last president who never used opinion polls?
Who had voters poll about where he should go on vacation?
When polls didn’t exist, what did politicians often believe they should do?
That they should do what they thought the public interest required.
Now that polls are commonplace, what do politicians do?
Act on the basis of what their constituents want.
Describe the trustee approach and the delegate model.
Trustee approach: Do what the public good requires, even if the voters are skeptical. Delegate model: Do what your constituents want you to do.
What else are polls good for?
For deciding what language to use in explaining that policy. Clinton wanted to keep affirmative action but knew that most voters disliked it. So he used a poll-tested phrase- “mend it but don’t end it”- and did nothing to mend it.
Describe how W. Bush’s program was radically altered by a dramatic event/ prolonged crisis.
W. Bush ran as a candidate interested in domestic issues with little background in foreign affairs. But 9/11 dramatically changed his presidency into one preoccupied with foreign and military policy. He quickly launched a military attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan and assembled an international coalition to support it.
What one item on the presidential agenda has been the same for almost every president since Hoover?
Reorganizing the executive branch of government.
What did W. Bush do to reorganize the executive branch of government?
By executive order, he created a new White House Office of Homeland Security, headed by Ridge. Ridge’s office had only about a dozen full-time employees, little budgetary authority, and virtually no ability to make and enforce decisions regarding how cabinet agencies operated. So, he called for a reorganization that would create the 3rd largest cabinet department encompassing 22 federal agencies, 180,000 employees, and an annual budget of $40 billion. Now, under the Department of Homeland Security are the Coast Guard, Customs Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
With few exceptions, what has every president since 1928 tried to do?
They have tried to changed the structure of the staff, departments, and agencies that are theoretically subordinate to him. Every president has been appalled by the number of agencies that report to him and by the helter-skelter manner in which they have grown up.
Why do president’s want to reorganize the executive branch?
If a president wants to get something done, put new people in charge of a program, or recapture political support for a policy, it is often easier to do so by creating a new agency or reorganizing an old one than by abolishing a program, firing a subordinate, or passing a new law.
True or False. Reorganization doesn’t serve many objectives and thus is a recurring theme.
False. Reorganization serves MANY objectives.
How did a president use to be able to reorganize?
To reorganize the Executive Office or any of the executive departments or agencies, Congress must be consulted. The president would submit a reorganization plan to Congress that would take effect if neither the House nor the Senate passed a concurrent resolution disapproving the plan within 60 days (legislative veto). This procedure was first authorized by the Reorganization Act of 1939. In 1981 authority under the act expired, and Congress didn’t renew it. In 1983, the SC declared that all legislative vetoes were unconstitutional.
In what form would a presidential reorganization plan have to take today?
The form of a regular law, passed by Congress and signed by the president.
What can the actual power of a president be measured in?
Only in terms of what he can accomplish.
What has every president since Truman commented on?
On how limited the powers of the president seem from the inside compared to what they appear to be from the outside. FDR compared his struggles with the bureaucracy to punching a feather bed. Truman wrote the power of the president was the power to persuade people to do what they ought to do anyway. Kennedy spoke to interviewers about how much more complex the world appeared than he had first supposed. Andrew Johnson and Nixon were broken by the office and the events that happened there.
What are some examples of the president not being helpless?
Truman ordered 2 atomic bombs over Japanese cities. Ike sent American troops to Lebanon. Kennedy supported an effort to invade Cuba. Johnson sent troops to the Dominican Republic and Vietnam. Nixon ordered an invasion of Cambodia. Reagan launched an invasion of Grenada and sponsored an antigovernment insurgent group in Nicaragua. H.W. Bush invaded Panama and sent troops to the Persian Gulf to fight Iraq. Clinton sent troops to Haiti and Bosnia. W. Bush ordered a U.S. military operation in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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