chosen by the parliament, are always insiders, cannot duck from heat, from the majority party/coalition, almost always chooses parliament-members for his cabinet, have a guaranteed majority in the legislature, don’t have set elections, and can introduce legislation.
are outsiders; can claim they are not part of the mess; choose former congressmen, close personal friends, campaign aides, and/or experts on various policy issues for their cabinet (they choose members from outside of Congress); and have no guaranteed majority in Congress.
Why do we still have gridlock even when we have a unified government?
(1) the two branches often work at cross purposes (struggles between branches) and (2) to be in control with a unified government, you need a majority of the same ideological wing.
Why do we have gridlock?
(1) a completely unified government does not exist because Senators and the President of the same party do not always see things the same way (people within a party disagree on policy because they have different ideals), (2) because of the Constitution, the president and Congress are rivals for power and rivals in policy making (separation of powers and checks and balances), (3) people like the idea of someone being able to block a policy they don’t like (so people will not want to change the constitution or vote differently), and (4) there is no compromise because of polarizing values
Why does the difference between representative and direct democracy explain gridlock?
Gridlock is a consequence of representative democracy because the system causes delays, intensifies deliberations, forces compromises, and requires the creation of broad-based coalitions to support most new policies.
What did the Founders fear?
Anarchy and monarchy; the president would use the militia to overpower state governments; the president would be a tool of the Senate and directed by minions and favorites if he shared the treaty-making power with the Senate, presidential reelection; the president would use bribery, intrigue, and force to try to stay in office; and the president would be to weak/ strong, causing congress to be dominate/ subservient.
How did the Electoral College cure some of the Founders’ fears?
it gave large states a voice, but also protected small states… this made it easier to decided issues about the presidents power, so he was given the powers to make treaties and appoint lesser officials (with the advice and consent of the Senate). Also, they knew informed electors would have the final say.
Why does the president have less control?
He isn’t able to control the vast majority (he doesn’t appoint people working in agencies; cabinet officials are given leeway and discretionary authority so the president has a small day-to-day influence over them; interest groups support many of these officials, giving then congressional support, so they don’t need presidential support; agencies serve as experts and know more about the subject than the president; civil servants are loyal to their agency and not the president; the president competes for power over these agencies with Congress because Congress gives them their money; the president can reward friends and control leaders; and some officials serve at the will of the president, others cannot be fired without cause and go from one president to the next president)
Powers of the President alone
Serve as commander in chief of the armed forces, commission officers of the armed forces, grant reprieves and pardons for federal offences, convene Congress in special sessions, receive ambassadors, take care that the laws be faithfully executed, wield the executive power, and appoint officials to lesser offices
What are the powers of the President that are shared with the Senate?
To make treaties and appoint ambassadors, judges, and high officials
What are the powers of the President that are shared with Congress as a whole?
What is the president’s greatest power and where is it found?
The president’s greatest power is found in politics and public opinion (Americans look to the president for leadership and hold him responsible for a large and growing portion of our national affairs)
What are the qualifications to be the president?
Natural born citizen, 35 years old, and a US resident for 14 years
Most assistants report through a hierarchy to a chief of staff, who then deals directly with the president (advantages: provides for an orderly flow of information and decisions; disadvantages: does this at the risk of isolating or misinforming the president)
Cabinet secretaries and assistants report directly to the president (advantages: has the virtue of giving the president a lot of information; disadvantages: does this at the price of confusion and conflict among cabinet secretaries and assistants)
Ad Hoc Structure
Task forces, committees, and informal groups of friends and advisers deal directly with the president (advantages: allows great flexibility, minimizes bureaucratic inertia, and generates ideas and information from disparate channels; disadvantages: risks cutting the president off from the government officials who are ultimately responsible for translating presidential decisions into policy proposals and administrative action)
What people are the president’s staff usually made out of?
His staff typically worked on the campaign: few are experts
What appointments does the President need the Senate have to confirm? What appointments does the president not need the Senate to confirm?
The president needs the Senate to confirm who he appoints to assist him in the Executive Office; the president does not need the Senate to confirm who he appoints to assist him in the White House Office.
Who are cabinet officers?
The heads of the 14 major executive departments
What is the degree of the president’s power over the departments?
He doesn’t have that much power over them just because he can appoint a lot of officials because these departments have large staffs and things to work on, so they don’t have a lot of time to talk to the president and grant his wishes.
What shows how much influence a person has?
How close they are to the president
The significance of the president’s powers?
They are not very impressive taken alone and interpreted narrowly, but the president has a lot of implied and inherent powers. The president has powers in ambiguous clauses of the Constitution and in the political realities of American life. A president’s personality can make him more powerful.
What is significant about the amount of presidential assistants?
There are so many that it creates a bureaucracy that is hard to control
The White House Office
Where the president’s closest assistants are (there offices are actually in the White House, usually in the West Wing). These people usually oversee the political and policy interests of the president. They do not have to be confirmed by the Senate (the president can hire and fire them at will). Whoever is closest to the president, can see him daily, can get an appointment, or can see documents and memos just before they go to the Oval Office are significant and have more influence and power (these factors affect who influences policy and whose goals and beliefs become embedded in policy.
Why do presidents rely on only one or two key subordinates?
Because of the difficulty of managing the large White House bureaucracy and conserving their own limited supply of time and energy
Where are Senior White House staff members from?
the ranks of the president’s campaign staff (these people are longtime associates that the president has confidence in)… some are experts brought in after the campaign.
The Executive Office
Agencies located there report directly to the president and perform staff services for him but are not located in the White House. The members may or may not have contact with him and some agencies are large bureaucracies. The top positions are filled by presidential appointment (appointments have to be confirmed by the Senate)
Principal Executive Office Agencies:
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Office of the US Trade Representative
Most important executive office for the president’s need for assistance in administering the federal government:
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
What does the Office of Management and Budget do?
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 info about government programs, and reviews proposals that cabinet departments want included in the president’s legislative program. Lately it has played a major role in advocating policies instead of just analyzing them.
This does not work very well normally. Cabinet officers are the heads of 15 major executive departments. Where one sits at cabinet meetings is determined by the age of the department that person heads. The President must struggle with Congress for the control of these agencies because Congress gives them the money.
Why is there a tension between White House staff and cabinet secretaries?
Staff members see themselves as extensions of the president’s personality and policies; departments heads (secretaries) see themselves as repositories of expert knowledge (often knowledge of why something the president supports won’t work). Most White House staffers are young with little executive experience, and they tell department heads (who are old with a lot of executive experience) that the president wants this or the president wants me to tell you something. Most departments heads can’t see the president when they call a White House staffer and ask to because the president is busy. Staffers take the position that they know the president will take instead of what the experts say.
Agencies and commissions that are not part of the cabinet and (by law) have a quasi-independent states. These heads are appointed by the president; many of these heads serve for fixed terms and can only be removed “for cause.”
What is the difference between independent agencies and executive agencies?
Heads of executive agencies serve at the pleasure of the president and can be removed at his discretion. The heads of many independent agencies serve for fixed terms and can only be removed “for cause.”
What position has had the most impeachments?
Federal judges (because they serve for life based on good behavior)
What has increased when appointing top government officials?
Acting appointments (an acting appointee holds office until the Senate acts on his or her nomination). Many Senators think this violates their right to consent. Administration officials think the use of these are vital because of the slow pace of confirmations.
Where do the president’s cabinet officers and their principal deputies come from?
Private businesses, universities, think tanks, foundations, law firms, labor unions, and the ranks of former and present members of Congress and past state and local government officials. (Most of the president’s cabinet officers and their principal deputies have not served with the chief executive in the legislature).
People appointed to the cabinet and the subcabinet…
will usually have some prior federal experience. Many of them are “in-and-outers” (they alternate between jobs in the federal government and jobs in the private sector). They are people with expertise or administrative experience, they are normally not chosen based on their political following (partly because of the weakness of political parties and partly because presidents want “experts”… He needs to recognize various politically important groups, regions, and organizations).
What is the first audience that the president speaks to (in order of importance)?
1. His Washington audience and fellow politicians and leaders (these people hold more weight in changing others opinions; his reputation among colleagues affects the respect he gets for his views- and therefore how much power he can get… If they agree with him, they will try to get his policies passed).
What is the second audience that the president speaks to (in order of importance)?
2. Party activists and officeholders outside Washington (the partisan grassroots)
(These people want the president to exemplify their principles, trumpet their slogans, appeal to their fears and hopes, and help them get reelected… The president has to keep the group that rallies to his support and pays for his campaign enthusiastic and motivated).
What is the third audience that the president speaks to (in order of importance)?
3. “The public”
(There are actually many different publics, each with different beliefs. They say things and display attitudes that opinion polls tell them are useful. This is the least important because if the president has won the first two, he has won this third group).
How does a president’s popularity affect (or not affect) getting congressional support on his programs?
A president’s popularity does not affect the re-election chances of Congressmen (they do not fear a president who threatens to campaign against them or cherish one who promises to support them). However, they do think it is too risky to adamantly oppose the policies of a popular president. Politicians rise and fall together (share a common fate).
What is a president’s popularity associated with?
The proportion of his legislative proposals that are approved by Congress.
Four things that affect how successful a president is with Congress (why presidential victories are hard to measure accurately):
1. He can be successful on a big bill or on a trivial one.
2. A president can keep his victory score high by not taking a position on any controversial measure.
3. A president can appear successful if a few bills he likes are passed but most his legislative program is bottled up in Congress and never comes to a vote.
4. Presidential popularity is hard to predict and can be influenced by factors that nobody has control over.
What does the president have to rely strongly on to get anything passed? Why?
His personality and persuasion… because he has sketchy constitutional powers and a lack of an assured legislative majority
Why are congressional elections insulated from presidential ones?
The weakening of party loyalty and party organizations and the enhanced ability of Congress-members to build secure relations with their constituents.
What normally happens to vetoed legislation?
Since Congress rarely has the votes to override a veto, they usually revise the bill and pass a form that is suitable to the president.
What type of power is the executive privilege?
An inherent power
What grounds do presidents claim to need executive privilege off of?
1. the doctrine of separation of powers (one branch cannot inquire into the internal workings of another branch)
2. the principles of statecraft and of prudent administration require that the president have the right to obtain confidential and candid advice from subordinates.
What has the Supreme Court decided about executive privilege?
There is no absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances
What has changed with the president and Congress when granting money for programs?
Congress used to give money for the President for stuff and Congress chose where it went. Now, the President tells Congress the policies he wants to implement and tells Congress to give him the money for them. The money is sent from Congress with few constraints and broad guidelines.
What have the federal courts decided on the issue between presidents and Congress on the Constitutional requirement to spend appropriated money?
The Constitution only says that the president cannot spend money that Congress has not appropriated; it is silent as to whether the president has to spend all of the money appropriated by Congress. Federal courts have upheld Congress’s rule that the president must spend, with delay for policy reasons, money that Congress has appropriated.
What are the 4 groups a president draws on to develop policies on short notice?
Interest Groups, Aides and Campaign Advisers, Federal Bureaus and Agencies, and Outside, Academic, and other Specialists and Experts.
What are the two ways for a president to develop a program?
1. Have a policy on almost everything
2. Concentrate on three or four major initiatives or themes and leave everything else to subordinates.
What are the major constraints on the president in planning and implementing his program?
1. Risks of adverse reaction
2. The limit on his time and attention span (also he has to make what he wants to pass important to Congress too)
3. Unexpected crisis
4. The fact that the federal government and most federal programs (and the federal budget) can only be changed marginally… Most federal expenditures are beyond control in any give year (the money must be spent whether the president likes it or not because many federal programs have so much congressional or public support that they must be left intact or only modified slightly).
5. Most of the president’s time is spent on the economy and foreign affairs (everything else is secondary)
What is the result of the constraints on the president in planning and implementing his program?
He has to be selective about what he wants… he has a limited supply of influence and prestige
What are the two types of spending? What is most government spending classified as? What is the significance of that?
There is mandatory and discretionary spending. Most spending is mandatory, so it is hard to scale back.
Why does every president want to reorganize the bureaucracy?
1. They want to make it more efficient, more simple, work better, and save money.
2. The bureaucracy has a lot of faults and it makes communication hard
3. 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.
Why does reorganization of the bureaucracy never occur?
The president needs congressional help to reorganize the bureaucracy. It is hard because of their constant power struggle, there are so many bills already, and Interest Groups who work with the agency and Congress would get mad (and Interest Groups have to be needed and have their authority… also they are made up of voters)… Any reorganization plan has to take the form of a regular law, be passed by Congress, and be signed by the president
What two things do polls help to do?
They can help in picking a policy -or- deciding what language to use in explaining that policy.
What happens if the president falls seriously ill but doesn’t die?
The 25th Amendment: the VP serves as “acting president”
What are the three ways for a president to be deemed incapacitated?
1. the president declares that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office
2. the VP and a majority of the cabinet declare that the president is incapacitated.
3. the VP and a majority of the cabinet declare that the president is incapacitated, the president objects, and Congress gets a 2/3 vote
If the VP becomes President, who becomes VP?
The 25th Amendment: a VP who assumes the presidency nominates a new VP, and then the nominee has to be confirmed by a 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress. When there is no VP, the 1947 Law of Succession governs.
What happens if the VP resigns, and the president dies before he can appoint a new VP and get the appointee approved by Congress?
First, the Line of Succession comes into play and the Speaker of the House becomes the president. Then, the 25th amendment takes over, and the Speaker turned president chooses a VP and gets congressional approval.
What is impeachment for?
Treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors
Who cannot be impeached?
What is the chief source of constraint on the federal government as a whole?
The citizens and him attempting to meet the needs of our complicated society (the greater complexity of the issues he has to deal with)
Changed the Electoral College so (in their ballots) electors name the person they voted for as president and in distinct ballots name the person they voted for as VP. And an absolute majority is needed for a candidate to win.
Set the term limit for the presidency to two terms or 10 years
1. If the president is removed from office, dies, or resigns, then the VP becomes the President
2. When there is a vacancy in the office of VP, the President shall nominate a VP who shall take office if he is confirmed by a majority in both houses of Congress
3. If the president gives a written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the VP will take over as acting president
4. Whenever the VP and a majority of the cabinet declare in writing that the president is incapacitated, the the VP becomes acting president. However, if the president gives a written note saying he is not incapacitated, then Congress decides by a 2/3 vote in both houses.
The terms of the President and the Vice President will end at noon on January 20th. The terms of Senators and Representatives will end at noon on January 3rd. Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meetings shall begin at noon on January 3rd. If the President dies at the time fixed for the beginning of his term, the Vice President will become the President. If a president shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or the president elect failed to qualify, the the VP elect shall act as president until a president shall have qualified.
What is the difference between cabinet departments and independent regulatory agencies?
The president can dismiss cabinet officers, but not commissioners of independent regulatory agencies.
What did delegates to the constitutional convention fear?
Monarchy and tyranny about equally
What were the Framers’ fears about aspects of the presidency?
1. The fear of a president using bribery or force to ensure his reelection
2. The fear of the president using the militia to overpower the state governments
3. The fear of the president being corrupted by, or corrupting the Senate
4. The fear of the president being corrupted by, or corrupting, minions and favorites.
The House of Representatives has _________ to decide the winner of a presidential election.
Under the original provisions of the Constitution, the states were to choose their presidential electors:
in whatever manner their legislature directed
How many votes does a candidate need to win a presidential election?
a majority of the electoral college votes
When and how are electoral ballots opened?
They are opened in January before a joint session of Congress
How are electoral votes determined in states?
In most they are winner-take-all, but in some states the votes can be split
Where does the greatest source of presidential power lay in?
The realm of politics and public opinion
Which group is closest in physical proximity to the president?
The White House Staff
Which appointments does the Senate have to confirm? Which appointments do not need Senatorial approval?
The Senate has to approve presidential nominations to: the heads of executive agencies, the heads of the cabinet, and federal judges. The president does not need the Senate’s approval to appoint people to the White House Office.
What is one reason the president has relatively little power over his cabinet departments is:
because he cannot appoint more than a small fraction of each department’s thousands of employees and he must share power with Congress over control.
What is the primary function of the White House Staff?
To advise the president
United States v. Nixon
The Supreme Court decided that while there may be a sound basis for the claim of executive privilege, especially where sensitive military or diplomatic matters are involved, there is no “absolute unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.
Informal Powers of the President
Americans look to the president for leadership and hold him responsible for a large and growing portion of our national affairs. If he has a persuasive and likable personality and is seen as effective by Congress, his policies are more likely to be passed. He can influence the legislative agenda and set economic policy. He has the bully pulpit. Also, he can issue executive orders.
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