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Presidential Power/Powers ME
The Modern Presidency In the 20 th century, the presidency has become ever more powerful. The modern Presidency begins with FDR who was elected to four terms during two huge national crises: The Great Depression and WWII.
Legislative Power Chief-of-State Pardoning Power Treaty-making Power Chief Diplomat Chief Executive Veto Power Commander -in-Chief Appointment Power
Informal Powers Power to Persuade • Salient issues • Rally events • Declines with popularity Public Approval • Honeymoon Period • Declines over time • Issue-related • Pocketbook-related Coattail effects Small End by midterm elections Party Powers • Members 70% predisposed • Best for majority party • All politics local, however!
Constitutional Powers National Security: • Treaties • Executive Agreements • Nominate ambassadors Administrative Powers: Execute the law Nominate/fire officials Legislative Powers: • Recommend Legislation • Convene Congress • Veto (12% overridden) • State of Union Judicial Powers • Nominate District Attorneys • Nominate Federal Judges • Reprieves • Pardons
Development of Presidential Power All presidents have had similar formal grants of power and constraints via the Constitution. The power and success of the presidency is dependent upon the personality of the person holding the office. the informal powers of the presidency the goals of the officeholder and, of course, the timing of events…events often shape a presidency (for example, crises often lead to an expansion of presidential powers).
Developing Power FDR also personalized the presidency with his use of radio 'fireside chats' directly with Americans. The modern president leads a large government plays an active and leading role in foreign and domestic policy plays a strong legislative role and uses technology to get 'close to Americans. '
Presidential Power Difference between legal powers and power (which is the exercise of influence). Powers include the constitutional and legal authority of the president: National Security Powers: Commander in Chief, make treaties & executive agreements, nominate ambassadors. Legislative Powers: State of the Union--recommend legislation, convene Congress, veto. Administrative Powers: to faithfully execute the law; nominate executive officials (and fire them). Judicial Powers: reprieves and pardons for federal offenses; appoint federal judges and S. C. justices.
Roles of the President Party Leader: In this role, the president helps members of his political party get elected or appointed to office. The president campaigns for those members who have supported his policies. Examples: Choosing leading party members to serve in the Cabinet. Traveling to California to speak at a rally for a party nominee to the U. S. Senate. In what ways can the president’s party continue to work on his behalf?
Chief Executive Empowered to administer the laws and affairs of the nation. While the president does not make the laws, his agencies have the responsibility and authority to carry out the laws. Examples: Appointing the head of the CIA. Holding a Cabinet meeting to discuss government business. Reading FBI reports on the state of national security. What articles in the Constitution grants the president executive power?
Chief of State As Chief of State he represents the US at public events. This is mainly a ceremonial role that allows the president to promote/convey/represent American values. Examples: Award medals, congratulating astronauts upon their return from space, delivering the State of the Union address. How would a president play the role of chief of state during wartime?
Chief Legislator He can’t make laws but he can voice his own ideas and opinions to Congress while they draft legislation. He does this through speeches promoting his agenda. Examples: Signing or vetoing a bill, making a speech in Congress. Name one controversial piece of legislation that the president has pushed through Congress?
Executive Orders The actions of the executive branch in developing federal regulations and executive orders are subject to the same democratic political processes made possible by our Constitution. In the following orders rights were protected: Executive order 9981 (1948) integration of the military Executive order 10730 (1957) integration of schools in Little Rock Why?
The President & the Public The salient issues (often set by media) tend to be most important in determining public approval. Priming. Rally events help explain sudden upsurges in approval as a result of a foreign policy event involving the US. Most approval rallies are short-lived, however. 9/11 would be an example of an enduring rally, one that is not typical.
Presidential Power How much power presidents have depends on the political context in which they govern– something over which they have little control. Bad economy? Presidential power = the power to persuade-presidents must often bargain in order to persuade. Little can be done alone. Viewed this way, power (influence) fluctuates from president to president, and within presidencies.
The Constituencies of Presidency The People; Their Party; Executive Branch (the bureaucracy); Congress; Foreign Leaders. All of these look to the president for leadership. May see things differently, however. A President’s ability to persuade relates more to things he cannot control (e. g. partisan division of Congress), rather than things they can control.
The President & the Public approval is an important resource for presidential leadership. Approval fluctuates with time. The honeymoon: Approval generally highest early during the term. Generally declines over time. Approval levels typically reflect public evaluation of the handling of key issues (economy, war) They are not a reflection of their feelings regarding the president’s personality.
The natural decline of approval over time
Presidential Effects on Opinion Presidents try to persuade the public to gain support, generally, and for specific proposals. How successful are they? Popular presidents are more likely to be successful. For a speech to work, the public must react favorably, and then make it clear to Congress what they want. Presidential speeches designed to influence the public have generally been unimpressive. They rarely persuade the public.
Presidential Leadership of Congress Most powerful legislative tool: the Veto. Requires 2/3 rds majority in both chambers of Congress to pass bill over a veto. Very difficult to override. Only 12% of vetoes (since Eisenhower) have been overridden. Even fewer overrides recently (see table). The Veto is a tool of minority presidents or presidents during divided government. Threat of veto important can help shape legislation.
Divided Government When one political party can control executive branch and one controls Congress– or in recent times both control Congress. Problems for President: Making appointments, getting legislation through, causes gridlock. Offices go unfilled Approval/confirmation huge issue Frequent character attack on nominees Narrows field of nominees
Divided government How do they overcome these problems? Can generate public support/use media Compromise on choses/ideological compromise Build coalition in Congress Make interim recess appointments—Obama did this recently Select minority nominees/diversify Remember when asked this question you must reference Senate or Congress!
3 Essential Leadership Resources 1. Political Party. Members of his party are predisposed to support the president. On average a member of the president’s party supports the president about 70% of the time. Has increased during polarized era. Much lower among the opposing party. Presidents have little impact on the number of their partisans in Congress. Presidential coattails-- uncommon, and disappears by the midterm election.
Presidential Legislative Strategies for Success Move quickly once elected. Take advantage of the “honeymoon” that follows inauguration. Legislative success usually comes early. Focus the agenda by setting clear priorities on a few important items. Understand the strategic situation. Many presidents attempt too much, given context. Health Care? Consult with Congress, don’t alienate them.
Presidents & the Executive Branch As chief executive, President is charged with overseeing vast federal bureaucracy. Size of executive branch has increased drastically since the 1930 s. Before 1939, presidents had little help in this task. 1939 creation of the Executive Office of the Presidency (EOP). Has 11 offices, incl: National Security Council The Council of Economic Advisors The Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-- most important.
Presidents, White House Staff & Cabinet The Cabinet includes department secretaries. Modern presidents rely less on their cabinet for advice. Cabinet secretaries have mixed loyalties. Must satisfy Congress & interests. Hence, modern presidents have relied on EOP to manage bureaucracy and their White House staff for political and policy advice. White House staff work directly for President. This might limit diversity of advice.
Managing/Leading the Bureaucracy Despite their role as chief executive, modern presidents have been frustrated leading the bureaucracy. Agencies often resist presidential leadership. Modern presidents have tools to help in task: The appointment power. Changing agency leadership can influence what agencies do. Budgetary control. Using the carrot and stick of agency resources, presidents request budgets. Centralized management, through the OMB.
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