The Presidency - U.S. Government and... The Politics of Shared Powers ... The Public Presidency

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  • The Presidency


  • Student Essential Knowledge and Skills

    (USG 9B) The student will analyze the structure

    and functions of the executive branch of


    Including the Constitutional powers of the president

    The growth of presidential power

    And the role of the Cabinet and executive departments.

    (USG 11B) Analyze and evaluate the process of

    electing the President of the United States.


  • Learning Objectives

    1. Analyze the structure and functions of the

    executive branch of government.

    2. Analyze and evaluate the process of

    electing the President of the United States

    3. Analyze the constitutional powers of the


    4. Describe the growth of presidential power.

    5. Evaluate the role of the Cabinet and

    departments of the Executive branch.


  • Introduction: The President

    Presidents operate in an environment filled

    with checks and balances and competing

    centers of power.

    Other policymakers with whom they deal

    with have their own agendas, interests,and

    sources of power.

    Effective presidents must have highly

    developed political skills to mobilize

    influence, manage conflict, negotiate, and

    build compromises.

    Do presidents persuade, or command?


  • The Presidents

    Great Expectations

    Americans want a president who is

    powerful and who can do good:

    Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt

    and Kennedy.

    But at the same time, they dont want the

    president to get too powerful since we are

    individualistic and skeptical of authority.


  • The Presidents

    Who They Are

    Formal Requirements:

    Must be 35 years old

    Must have resided in U.S. for 14 years

    Informal Requirements:

    White, Male

    Protestant (except one)

    All manner of professions, but mostly

    political ones (former state governors,

    for example)


  • The Presidents: How They Got There

    Elections are the normal road to the

    White House

    Once elected, the president gets a term

    of four years.

    In 1951, the 22nd Amendment limited

    the number of terms to two.

    Most Presidents have been elected to



  • The Presidents: How They Got There

    Succession and Impeachment

    Vice-President succeeds if the president leaves office due to death (McKinley/TR, FDR/HST, JFK/LBJ) or resignation (Nixon) or convicted of impeachment.

    Impeachment is investigated by the House, and if impeached, tried by the Senate with the Chief Justice presiding.

    Only two presidents have been impeached: A. Johnson & Clinton- neither was convicted.


  • The Presidents: How They Got There

    Presidential Succession

    The 25th Amendment (1967) permits the vice-president to become acting president if the vice president and the presidents cabinet determine that the president is disabled or the president declares his own disability.

    A recuperated president can reclaim his office.

    Provision is also made for selecting a new vice president when the office becomes vacant. (Ford; Rockefeller)


  • Constitutional Powers of the


    National Security-

    Commander in Chief of the armed forces

    Make treaties with other nations

    Nominate ambassadors

    Confer diplomatic recognition on other



  • Constitutional Powers of the President

    Legislative powers

    Present info on the state of the union to


    Recommend legislation to Congress

    Convene & adjourn Congress in certain


    Veto legislation (Congress has a 2/3



  • Constitutional Powers of the President

    Administrative powers

    Must take care that laws be faithfully


    Nominate officials

    Request written opinions of

    administrative officials

    Fill vacancies during congressional



  • Constitutional Powers of the



    Grant reprieves and pardons for federal


    Appoint federal judges with the

    agreement of a majority of the Senate


  • Presidential Powers

    The Expansion of Power

    Presidents develop new roles for the


    Presidents expand the power of the office

    Perspectives on Presidential Power

    Through the 50s & 60s a powerful

    President was perceived as good

    From the 70s on, presidential power was

    checked and distrusted by the public


  • Running the Government:

    The Chief Executive

    The Vice President

    Basically just waits for things to do

    Constitutional job is to be President of the


    Recent presidents have given their VPs

    important jobs

    The Cabinet

    Presidential advisors, not in Constitution

    Is made up of the top executives of the Federal

    Departments, confirmed by the Senate


  • The Executive Office

    Made up of several policymaking and advisory bodies

    Three principle groups: NSC, CEA, OMB


  • Executive Office of the President

    The National Security Council is the

    committee that links the presidents key

    foreign and military policy advisors.

    The Council of Economic Advisors advises

    the president on economic policy

    The Office of Management and Budget has

    responsibility for preparing the presidents

    budget, which is then sent to Congress.


  • The White House Staff

    White House Staff included the key aides the

    president sees daily

    Chief of staff, congressional liaison people, press

    secretary, national security advisor, political


    The White House Office is part of the

    Executive Office of the President

    600+ people, provide the president with a wide

    range of services

    Presidents rely on their staffs for information,

    policy options, and analysis.


  • The First Lady

    No official government position, but

    many get involved politically

    Recent First Ladies have focused on a

    single issue


  • Presidential Leadership of Congress: The Politics of Shared Powers

    Chief Legislator: the President is the major shaper of the congressional agenda.

    Veto: Sending a bill back to Congress with his reasons for rejecting it. Can be overridden.

    Pocket Veto: Letting a bill die by not signing it- only works when Congress is adjourned.

    Line Item Veto: The ability to veto parts of a bill. Some state governors have it, but not the president.

    Vetoes are most used to prevent legislation. The threat of a veto can be an effective tool for persuading Congress.


  • Party Leadership

    presidents must counter the natural tendencies toward conflict between the executive and legislative.

    The Bonds of Party

    The psychological bond of being in the presidents party helps pass legislation

    Slippage in Party Support

    Presidents cannot always count on party support, especially on controversial issues

    Leading the Party

    Because parties are highly decentralized, Presidents can do little to actually lead their party


  • Presidents improve their chances of

    obtaining support for legislation by

    increasing the number of party members in


    Presidential coattails: legislators who are elected

    because of their support for a presidents


    In midterm elections (between presidential

    elections, presidents parties usually lose seats

    in Congress.


  • Public Support: presidents who have the

    backing of the public have an easier time

    influencing Congress.

    Public Approval

    Operates mostly in the background

    Impact is important, but occurs at the margins

    Mandates: confers added legitimacy on the

    presidents character and policies

    Perception that the voters strongly support the

    presidents character and policies

    Mandates are infrequent, but presidents may claim a

    mandate anyway


  • Legislative Skills: Presidents influence the

    legislative agenda more than any other

    political figure.

    Influence takes a variety of forms: bargaining,

    making personal appeals, consulting with

    Congress, setting priorities, etc.

    Most important is bargaining with Congress.

    Presidents should use their honeymoon period

    (first year in office)

    President is the nations key agenda builder


  • The President and National Security Policy

    Chief Diplomat

    Negotiates treaties with other countries

    Treaties must be approved by the Senate

    Use executive agreements to take care of routine

    matters with other countries

    May negotiate for peace between other countries

    Lead U.S. allies in defense & economic issues

    (relies on his ability to persuade)


  • Commander in Chief

    Writers of the constitution wanted civilian

    control of the military

    Presidents often make important military


    Presidents command a standing military and

    nuclear arsenal- unthinkable 200 years ago


  • War Powers

    Constitution gives Congress the power to

    declare war, but presidents can commit troops

    and equipment in conflicts without

    congressional approval (Korea, Vietnam)

    War Powers Act/Resolution (1973) was

    intended to limit the presidents use of the

    military- but may be unconstitutional

    Presidents continue to test the limits of using the

    military in foreign conflicts


  • Crisis Manager

    Crisis: a sudden, unpredictable, potentially

    dangerous event.

    The role the president plays can help or hurt the

    presidential image.

    With current technology, the president can act

    much faster than Congress to resolve a crisis.


  • Working with Congress

    Congress has a central constitutional role in

    making national security policy

    The Founders divided the powers of supply

    (Congress) and command (Exec)

    President has the dominant role in foreign affairs.

    Presidents still have to work with Congress for

    support and funding of foreign policies.


  • Power from the People: The Public Presidency

    Perhaps the greatest challenge to any

    president is to obtain and maintain the

    publics support. Because presidents are

    rarely in a position to command others to

    comply with their wishes, they must rely on



  • Going Public

    Public support is perhaps the greatest source of

    influence a president has.

    Presidential appearances are staged to get the

    publics attention. They are marketing a product

    the presidents policy agenda!

    As the head of state, presidents often perform

    many ceremonial functions- which usually result

    in favorable press coverage.


  • Presidential Approval

    Receives much effort by the White House

    Product of many factors: predispositions (I only vote

    Republican), honeymoon

    Changes can highlight good / bad decisions


  • Changes in approval levels appear to be due primarily to the publics evaluation of how the president is handling policy.

    Citizens seem to focus on the presidents efforts and stands on issues rather than on personality.

    Job-related personal characteristics (integrity, leadership skills) also play a role.

    rally events are sudden increases in poll ratings: usually do not last.


  • Policy Support (using the Bully Pulpit to mobilize public


    Being an effective speaker is important

    The public may still miss the message

    Mobilizing the Public

    The president may need to get the public to actually act

    by contacting Congress

    Difficult to do since public opinion and political action

    are needed

    The president takes certain risks: what happens if he fails

    to mobilize the public?


  • The President and the Press

    The press has become the principle

    intermediary between the president and the


    Relations with the press are an important

    aspect of the presidents efforts to lead

    public opinion.

    Presidents and media tend to conflict: they

    are often adversaries due to different goals.


  • The President and the Press

    Many people in the White House deal with

    the media, but the press secretary is the main

    contact person.

    Conducts daily press briefings, gives prepared

    announcements, answers questions.

    Media is often more interested in the person,

    not the policies

    News coverage has become more negative


  • Understanding the American Presidency

    The Presidency and Democracy

    There are still concerns over the president having

    too much power

    Is the president a threat to democracy?

    Concerns over presidential power are generally

    closely related to policy views

    Others argue that in this era of divided

    government, the president cant do enough with

    all the checks and balances in the system.


  • The Presidency and the Scope of Government

    Some presidents have increased, while others

    have sought to decrease, the functions of


    It is often said that the American people are

    ideologically conservative and operationally