Chap. 1: Presidential Leadership (2000, 2002, 2008, 2014)
Chap. 2: Evolution of the Nominating Process (2002, 2006, 2008, 2014) . .
Chap. 3: Part 1: The Presidential Election (2000, 2008, 2014)
Chap. 4: President and the Public (2000, 2008, 2014)
Chap. 5: President and the Media (2000, 2008, 2014)
Chap. 6: President’s Office (2000, 2008, 2014)
Chap. 7: Presidential Decision Making (2000, 2008, 2014)
Chap. 8: Psychological Presidency (2002, 2008, 2014) . .
Chap. 9: President & Executive Branch (2002, 2008, 2014) . .
Chap. 10: President & Congress (2004, 2008) .
Chap. 11: President & Judiciary (2002) .
Chap. 12: Domestic Policymaking (2008)
Chap. 13: Budgetary & Economic Policymaking (2008) .
Chap 14: Foreign & Defense Policymaking (2008)
Chap 15: The Unilateral Presidency (2008)
• Fear of monarchy---Should it be one, or several people? What powers/responsibilities/functions will it serve?Evolution of the Presidency
• Limitations and checks and balances were made to regulate executive power (vetoes, impeachment, congressional power)
• Vague scope of Article II---“the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States”
(Washington understood as likely leader, Hamilton wanted powers left expandable, Congress expected to be powerful)
• Policy making roles have expandedGrowth and roles of expectations
• War policy, emergency policy, crisis
• Active and Passive presidents
• Active- presidents expand executive power
• Organizations--- Initial 4(Foreign affairs, Treasury, War, and attorney general) and post master
• Since then 12 departments have been added, and 150 executive agencies
• Public dimensions- presidency has become ore active in the public with media, easier to promote presidential agenda
• Pressure to fix all problemsApproaches to Study
• Constant criticism in media
• Decline of parties and rise of interest groups (pluralism)
• Legal—analyzing constitution, laws, treaties to understand scope and use of president’s powers—limited analyzing technique (does he have the authority under law)
• Institutional--- study of the structure, functions and operations of the presidency—look into the formulation, coordination, promotion, and implementation of legislative programs, and relationship to media
• Political power—study of people within institutions and their relationships with each other (pluralistic approach to how the presidency is affected by all actors in Gov.)
• Psychological—personality may be displaced onto political objects and become unconscious motivations for pres. behavior.
• Director of Change - President is moving force of the system and the initiator of change
• Facilitator of Change - President pushes the government in which roles, responsibilities and powers are shared
Edwards and Wayne, Chapter One- Presidential
Leadership: An Introduction
by Chrys Lake, Fall 2008
o The Creation of the Institution- Fear of Monarchy. Two initial questions were asked: First, should the executive consist of an individual or several persons. Secondly, what powers, responsibilities, and functions will it serve? Claiming that the president would only possess executive authority (the ability to execute laws and make appointments) made it okay for an individual to take the position. Limitations, checks and balances, and consequences were laid out to regulate executive power. (Vetoes, impeachment, Congressional approval)- The Evolution of the Presidency:
o The Scope of Article II- “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States”. Vague notion of presidential power outlined executive authority, but left most clarification to the legislature.
o Policy-Making Roles- law and precedent have expanded the scope of presidential authority. Presidents have developed the Policy-Making Roles in war policy, emergency policy, and foreign and domestic affairs. Often they do this by necessity and the other branches do not check their power. Edwards divides this into two types: Active and Passive. The former being where presidents expand executive power and the latter where they do not. They claim that presidents of the 20th century are generally active in accumulating power.- Problems of Contemporary Leadership:
o Organizational Structure- The Constitution did not provide for an administrative structure, but did establish the departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury, and War, an attorney general and a post master. Since then, Congress has established 12 more departments and more than 150 executive agencies. Pre-20th Century, these departments played an influential role in government, but have begun to decline with an active stance of presidential power.
o Public Dimensions- The presidency has become more active in the public as well, which is contributed to mass media, and can be used to focus attention on the leader, his policies and his activities. Edwards argues that this encourages constituent involvement and interest and can help a president promote his agenda. It is a way to manipulate the press, created the idea of a ‘communicator in chief’, heighten the expectations of presidential performance, and heighten communication between government and people.
o Edwards argues that the growth in expectations and roles of the executive has created many new problems that the president has to face. The size of government, the pressure to fix all problems (even ones normally left to the legislative branch), institutionalization ( too many rules and regulations!), the decline of political parties, the influence of interests groups (pluralism), the critical nature of the national media.- Approaches to Studying the Presidency:
o Legal- analyzing the Constitution, laws, treaties, and legal precedents to understand the sources, scope, and use of the president’s formal powers, including their legal limitations. Edwards claims this is a limited analyzing technique because not much of what the president does can be evaluated by the question, does he have the authority under law?
o Institutional- the study of the structure, functions and operations of the presidency are the center of analysis. Edwards claims that this allows scholars to look into the formulation, coordination, promotion, and implementation of legislative programs, the executive’s relationship to the media and interests groups, and the president’s decision making process. President’s become impersonal actors, more like institutions themselves, which helps in understanding their role and influence.
o Political Power- the study of people within institutions and their relationships with each other. A more pluralistic approach shows how the presidency is affected by all actors in government and how his power is changed by those relationships. It changes the general view of ‘top-down’ perception (always from the president’s perspective), instead of the American Political system.
o Psychological: the idea that personality is a constant and that personality needs may be displaced onto political objects and become unconscious motivations for presidential behavior. Why do presidents act the way they do, without the effect of advisors, media, and interests groups?
- Two Perspectives of Presidential Leadership:
o The Strong President Model- Edwards claims that this is an individual rooted in American political culture, who provides strong and effective leadership—which ultimately effect the expectations and evaluations of all presidents. Claims this usually is lead from disillusionment.
o The Limited President Model- the idea that a strong leader is not prevalent in the executive, nor should they be, because individuals should not hold that much responsibility. This calls for the people to lower their expectations and lessen their criticism.
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Chap 1: Presidential Leadership: An Intro
Tiffany Tolbert, 2002
What makes an ineffective
president is the system, mostly its constitutional, institutional and political
This has been since the 1970's, a gap has widened between expectations and performance
Creation of the Institution
Should the leader be one person or several persons?
What responsibilities could it posses and still be energetic, but safe?
James Wilson - 1 person
Critics - 1 person is dangerous, "foetus of monarchy"
Wanted to contrast the powers of the "American" leader with that of the king
Develop the job responsibilities before deciding # of leaders
The leader should only have the power to execute laws and make appointments
He helped develop "checks and balances" by the phrasing in the constitution
Scope of Article II
Description of executive power very general, unlike Article I
Scholars question, does this generalization give the president an undefined grant of authority
Because the legislature of the Articles of Confederation was unable to respond to emergencies, the framers found it necessary
to give the president some sort of emergency powers (John Locke - Second Treatise of Government)
The President is also limited in foreign affairs
The wording suggest the Senate is suppose to be in on the negotiation of treaties
Executive powers expanded during emergency but still had limits
Has to report on special sessions at the state of the union
In the case of veto, 2/3 of both houses have the last word
Policy Making Roles
Powers have grown dramatically
Washington and Jefferson helped define what the war policy would actually be
The want of a more activist government made McKinley and T. Roosevelt worked more closely with Congress in making
1939 - executive office of the president was created
Constitution did not provide for an administrative structure
During the 19th century, Congress ran the administrative side of government
Changed at the beginning of the 20th century - president had more influence in Congress
Taft helped organize government by forming the Committee on Economy and Efficiency, to recommend
It suggested a more hierarchical structure with the president having a larger role.
Congress agreed only after WWI, when they needed help with the deficit and budget
News gathering organizations and newspapers helped contribute to the president being more public
T. Roosevelt used it to put focus on his policies and activities
FDR held more press conferences than anyone before
He had regular meetings with reporters in the oval office and radio "fireside chats"
Problems of Contemporary Leadership
Institutional growth (staff and agencies)
Policy making has been institutionalized
Selection process in campaign more individualized
Media is more critical
Interest groups are professionalized
Due to scandals of the late '60's to the present, no more "benefit of the doubt" for presidents
Thinking about leadership: Two Perspectives
Director of Change - President is moving force of the system and the initiator of change
Facilitator of Change - President pushes the government in which roles, responsibilities and powers are shared
Despite the writings on the presidency, the understanding of it is not like the Supreme Court or Congress, because the
presidency operates mostly behind closed doors.
Decision makers - Not accessible, reluctant to reveal information
Journalist - Event oriented do not cover the president long enough so that a generalization can be developed
No overall theory of behavior - literature does not say why the president does what he does or the consequences.
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A. Historical Contrast:
Early Government had weaker executive, more accountable legislatureB. Constitutional Development: Came from State Constitution of New York, etc.
Hamilton fought for power of the president – lost.C. Article II: enumerated powers of the president, were extremely vague as compared to the congressional powers
A. Three Models of Power of the Office of the Executive:
a. Power is on a constant riseD. Organizational Structure of the President:
b. Variable increase in the power, after president such as Lincoln and FDR
c. Power in president began to grow around the time of FDR and WWII
Budget making is one of the most important powersE. Contemporary Leadership Issues:
Nixon creates OMB
President has his budget, which allows him to impact agenda and policy issues
1981 Reagan gives OMB policy power
Clinton loosened the regulatory ties of the OMB
President expected to handle too much stuff
Media pressure is increased due to watergate
Congress is more turbulent, and difficult to deal with
Although the Office of the president has grown, it has come under many more constraints as well
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Evolution of the System
• Nominations at first weren’t needed because founders believed qualifications for those who decided to run and the ability of the consensus (1796 private discussions)Changes in the political arena
• 1800 party caucuses—1830 convention system—1880’s primaries—1968-1990s open primaries
• The new use of the convention to elect a presidential nominee created more competition within the party, and hasn’t proved to increase the voter turn out, but it does allow for more individual impact on the nomination.Quest for Nomination
• Campaign Finance- The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 provided for public disclosure, contribution ceilings, campaign spending limits, and federal subsidies for the nomination process. This is supposed to prevent illegal and secret contributions and to even the playing field for candidates.
• Public relations—mass media has changed pre-nomination process—candidates can now analyze polls to see where efforts would be more useful
Superdelegates and frontloading (scheduling a party's primary election within a state earlier than other states' primaries in the hopes of having a stronger effect on the outcome of the primary race.)
• Strategic Game Plan—preconvention activism, use of all resources (media, fieldworkers, internet) securing of finances, “targeting plan”- making sure all interest groups, individuals, and organizations are supporting candidate
• Non-front runners—initial goal should be to establish their credentials, must always be anticipation, pushing, and convincing
• Pulpit candidates—candidate’s efforts to mobilize the grassroots, usually have extreme perspectives, passionate supporters, considered non-traditional
• Front-Runners- Edwards claims their main goal is to maintain credibility; they have larger national recognition, resource bases and more political endorsements.
Phases- Money Primary (year before)—early contests in January (IA, NH, SC, NV)—winnowing phase (Feb.)—consolidation phase (march-May)
o Originally, nominations were not needed because founders believed in the qualifications for those who decided to run and the ability of consensus, but political parties divided nominees on their belief systems. Thus began conventions and caucuses, which grew until media made them accessible to the average voter. Today, convention nominations are the only way to officially accept candidacy.- Changes in the Political Arena:
o Party Reforms- Reformation began with the need to encourage greater participation in party activities and to make the convention more representative of typical Democratic voters. The new use of the convention to elect a presidential nominee created more competition within the party, and hasn’t proved to increase the voter turn out, but it does allow for more individual impact on the nomination. Edwards questions whether or not the positives out weigh the negatives. The Democratic Party has created new rules (minimum 15% vote to prevent less likely runners to diverge votes from the more probably candidates, superdelegates, nomination time frames—front-loading)- The Quest for the Nomination:
o Campaign Finance- The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 provided for public disclosure, contribution ceilings, campaign spending limits, and federal subsidies for the nomination process. This is suppose to prevent illegal and secret contributions and to even the playing field for candidates.
o Public Relations- The use of mass media has changed the pre-nomination process, allowing for the convention nomination process to be observed by all. Candidates us polls to gage where their efforts would be more useful because they provide information about the opinions, beliefs, and attitudes of voters. News coverage is also used to rouse the voters, and it has changed political campaigning. Edwards argues that though media has made reaching the mainstream easier, a candidate being out in the field meeting people is still a very effective method of reaching voters.
o A Strategic Game Plan- Starting early is key, preprimary and preconvention activism is necessary (even for incumbents), all resources must be used: media, fieldworkers, and internet. Finances must be secure early and strategic financial planning is essential, and a ‘targeting plan’ must be in effect, making sure all interest groups, individuals, and organizations are supporting the candidate.- The Noncompetitive Phase of the Nomination Process:
o Non-Front-Runners- Edwards argues that if a potential nominee is not a front-runner, then their initial goal should be to establish their credentials as a viable contender. They must always be anticipating, pushing, and convincing others of their abilities.
o Pulpit Candidates- a candidate’s efforts to mobilize the grassroots, usually have extreme perspectives, have passionate supporters, but are considered non-traditional candidates.
o Front-Runners- Edwards claims their main goal is to maintain credibility; they have larger national recognition, resource bases and more political endorsements.
o Launching the Presidential Campaign- Conclusions: The nomination process has become more democratic, both in a positive and negative light. Campaigns have become more extensive and expensive, drawn out and negative.
o The National Conventions – Edwards claims that the National Conventions have strayed from their original purpose of thanking loyal workers and big contributors and have become a scripted means of ‘uniting’ the party. They are show of party politics and hopefully create a positive attitude going into the general election.
o Characteristics of the Nominees- traditionally Caucasian males of northern European descent, though have begun to stray away from stereotype. Usually a well known politician before nomination. Many things hinder public assurance in a candidate including associations, health, age, finance, and family life.
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Ch. 2: The Nomination Process
By A. Nicole Adams, 2006
EVOLUTION OF THE SYSTEM
-began to evolve after the writing of the Constitution and the first two presidential electionsCHANGES IN THE POLITICAL ARENA
-1796: party leaders gathered informally to agree on candidates
-1800: partisan congressional caucuses began to meet
-1830s: national nominating conventions were held
-20th century: movement towards primaries in order to permit greater public participation
-The Goals: greater public participation in party activitiesCampaign Finance
-Because of primaries, the power of party leaders has weakened, competing candidate organizations were produced that can rival those of the party, and interest groups have gained leverage.
-A candidate’s personality has become more important.
-Front-loading forces candidates to begin their campaigns earlier, which in turn ends the competitive phase of the process sooner and extends the period during which the winning candidate and party must engage in campaign activities and advertisements before the national nominating conventions are held.
-A two-year quest for a party’s nomination has become almost standard; one year is the absolute minimum.
-The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), enacted in 1974, provided for public disclosure, contribution ceilings, campaign spending limits, and federal subsidies for the nomination process.Public Relations
-The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002 prohibited the major parties from soliciting or spending soft money in federal elections and raised the contribution limits that individuals could contribute to candidates and their parties.
-Candidates use polls to determine how they concentrate their time, effort, and money.THE QUEST FOR THE NOMINATION: A STRATEGIC GAME PLAN
-The use of visual and audio media has made image creation more important, brought public relations specialists into candidate organizations, and siphoned off a relatively large proportion of the campaign budget for television and radio.
-candidates still need to organize at the grassroots
1. sufficient time and energy;THE NONCOMPETITIVE PHASE OF THE NOMINATION PROCESS
2. Strong field organization;
3. Firm financial base;
4. Rules must be understood;
5. Groups must be targeted and appeals must be made
-non-front-runners need recognition and momentum
-front-runners have to maintain credibility, not establish it
-This is the period during which candidates need to maintain media attention, improve their presidential image, broaden their issue appeals, and set the stage for launching their "official" campaign at their party’s nomination.Characteristics of the Nominees
-Today, conventions are all show and little substance.
-usually well known
-had promising political careers
-health, age, finance, and family life are factors
-family ties have affected nominations
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• Electoral College—created so president was qualified, not just popularThe Presidential Campaign
• Polity- public attitudes in campaigns (identification with party, leadership potential, decision making, personal traits)
• Financial—candidate must be able to support national campaign
• News coverage—help the candidate (excite interest, arouse concern, improve knowledge, sway voters)
• Creating and organizing- scheduling, press arrangements, polling, speech writing (Kerry’s loose, and Bush’s strict structure in 2004)The Meaning of the Election
• Designing an image—honest, trustworthy, bold, decisive
• Projecting a partisan appeal—means to separate them from competitor, strengthen their positions on policy, and create negative image of opponent
• Building a winning coalition—win electoral votes, focus on minorities and independents
• Predictions and Polls—polling follows the campaign, and people’s perception of the candidate
• Analyzing the Results—the election gives information about who voted for who, the expectations, and perceptions of the new president, and policies that should be pursued.
Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Three- The Presidential Election
By Chrys Lake, Fall 2008
- The Strategic Environment:
o The Electoral College- The Presidential Campaign:- This was created by the founders because, though they believed in government based on consent, they didn’t believe in direct democracy. Edwards claims that their hope was for a president who was qualified, not just popular.o The Polity
Members of the Electoral College are chosen by the states, and their number equals the number of senators and representatives from each state.
They each have two votes, but can not cast them both for inhabitants of their own state.
The candidate with the highest becomes president, the second highest vice president.
The Electoral College has faced many obstacles:What if the president receives the popular vote, not the Electoral College vote?
What role should they play in political parties?
What happens if the Electoral College is bias? This creates a competitive atmosphere between states and nominees.- The following ideas are public attitudes in campaigns, and how they effect the candidate’s chances of getting elected: Identification with a political party, characteristics of candidates such as leadership potential, decision-making capabilities, and personal traits affect vote as well, incumbent status v. challenger, a candidate’s stance on certain issues, type of people who actually turn out to vote,o Financial Considerations- a candidate must be able to financially support a national campaign. With limitations put on donation amounts, they look towards the party, individual contributors, and fund-raising.o News Coverage- Edwards argues that media enhances the strategic environment to provide clarification and coverage on the campaign. News media is used to the advantage of each candidate—Edwards claims that they tend to reinforce the feelings and loyalties of the party faithful, excite interest, arouse concern, improve knowledge, and ultimately sway voters.
o Creating an Organization- The Meaning of the Election:- Edwards claims that organization is central to coordinating all tasks that need to be performed to run a campaign—advance work, scheduling, press arrangements, issue and candidate research, speech writing, polling, advertising, grassroots organizing, accounting, budgeting, legal activities, ect. The loose structure of Kerry’s campaign v. the strict structure of Bush’s in 2004.o Designing an Image- Edwards lists the attributes of the ideal president (honest, trustworthy, bold, and decisive) and contrasts them with a president’s lack of intuition, decision making capabilities, and candor. How does this affect the incumbent?o Projecting a Partisan Appeal- Edwards argues that candidates use partisanship as a means by which to separate themselves from the other runner, to emphasis the strength of their positions on policy and to create a negative image of their opponent.o Building a Winning Coalition- The goal of building a winning coalition is to win the electoral votes in that state. Edwards divides them into three operational strategies: 1. Rekindle partisan loyalty. 2. generate an appeal to independents. 3. turn out a sizable vote. They do this by broadening their target range to include minorities and independents—not just focusing on partisan activists.o Media Tactics- campaigns are designed for maximum public impact and to consistently reiterate themes, symbols, and ideas about the candidate. Debates allow voters to see the candidate in ‘action’ and provide a more spontaneous atmosphere. Ads and news coverage are scripted to focus on issues, while also questioning the character and abilities of opposing candidates.
o Predictions and Polls- Conclusions:- Prior to election, political scientists measure the health of the economy, the popularity of the president, and the satisfaction of the populace on a quantitative scale. They then put this data in models, according to past elections, and predict which candidate will win the election. These predictions do not base themselves on the campaign, but on the environment in which it is occurring with in. Polling, however, follows the campaign and people’s perception of the candidate.o Analyzing the Results- obviously it declares who wins and looses, but also gives information about who voted for whom, what are the presidential expectations, what are the perceptions of the new president, and what policies voters hope are pursued.o Assessing the Mandate- when a new president is elected, his agenda automatically becomes the new administrations agenda (regardless of voter margin). Edwards claims that ‘What candidates promise matters; who win does make a difference’.o Converting the Electoral Coalition for Governance- it is difficult to adhere to performance expectations and create a set of policy goals that create a successful governing administration. After election, it becomes a careful balance of pleasing supporters, cooperating with others in D.C., remembering group interest, and actually accomplishing promised objectives. Edwards claims that to be successful they must create their own policy alliances and mobilize their supporters and take to unifying the country as a whole.
Electors and popular vote decide the outcome of a presidential campaign, while political parties organize voters, select candidates, and represent policy. The campaigns have become more candidate centered-they create their organization, raise their own money, form strategies, and appeal to the voters. But, this personalized character of presidential campaigns has raised expectations for performance and can often leave the candidate incapable of fulfilling campaign promises.
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Chap. 3 Pt. 1: The Presidential Election
(Carrie McDonough, spring 2000)
The Strategic Environment
The Electoral College
- # of electors
equal to # of senators & reps
- each had 2 votes but could only cast one for person of own state
- person receiving majority in college is Presidential and second is vp
need to study public political attitudes and patterns of social interaction
major candidates receive funding from government; third party candidates get funding if they receive 5% of of presidential vote -- get $ in proportion to popular voteNews Coverage
national parties spend $.02 for every citizen of voting age in support of their nominees
Fed Election Campaign Act allow state & local parties to spend unlimited amount on funds for voluntary efforts to turn out vote -"soft money"
voters follow campaigns on TV
policy questions receive less coverage than events surrounding campaign
first time candidate states a position it is news
average length quote in ‘68 was 42.3 seconds; ‘92- 8.4 sec; ’96-8.2
commentators and anchors tell story of election, not candidates
TV influence independents by exciting interest, arouse concern, improve knowledge, affect decision to vote
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Chap. 3, part 2: THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
(Dan Ogle, spring 2000)
- campaigning by presidential candidates
began in 1840 with the candidacy of General William Henry Harrison.
- however, campaigning soon faded, before resurfacing in the 1880’s with the campaign of James Garfield.
- the advent of television created both opportunities and obstacles for candidates (focus on candidate's personal image; be able to both make broad public appeals and target specific groups in the electorate; development of campaign organizations)
I. Creating an Organization
- political organizations have many responsibilities in a presidential campaign (i.e. advance work, press arrangements, research, advertising, etc.)II. Designing an Image
- historically, Democratic campaign organizations have been more decentralized and less rigid than those of their Republican counterparts (the Clinton campaigns were exceptions)
- in addition to helping a candidate win an election, campaign organizations also make the transition to government and provide a preview of the new administration (Reagan’s passive style vs. Clinton’s more direct involvement)
- many campaign personnel are later selected to serve in many administrative positions.
- in order to be elected, candidates need to exhibit the characteristics of an ideal president (act "presidential")III. Projecting a Partisan Appeal
- candidates need to display such traits as strength, boldness, decisiveness, honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness.
- however, it is also important that a candidate must at least have the appearance of possessing the skill and knowledge necessary to hold the office.
- incumbency has both strengths and weaknesses in a campaign - presidents usually receive blame for the nation's problems and will often receive more credit than they deserve for the nation's successes.
- more difficult as a challenger - must be able to "discredit" the incumbent while maintaining a "presidential" persona.
- candidates tend to associate themselves with the traditional "platforms" of their respective parties: Democrats usually emphasize such economic issues as jobs, wages, and benefits; Republicans focus on "family values"IV. Building a Winning Coalition
* however, in 1992 and 1996, Clinton achieved great success by taking the "middle road" on a number of issues that the republicans had hoped to use as ammunition against him (i.e. family values, personal safety, etc.)
- emphasizing the negative: belief that, the more negative the perception of a candidate is, the less likely his chances are of winning the election (this strategy backfired for Rep. candidate Bob Dole in the 1996 election)
- it is essential for candidates to form solid coalitions in order to win an election (often includes determining both their bases of support and the states with the most electoral votes.V. Media Tactics
- three primary goals of political coalitions: revive partisan loyalty, appeal to independents, and encourage a sizable voter turnout.
- in the nomination process, candidates usually focus on party activists in an attempt to gain the party nomination; they must broaden their focus, however, in the general election to include the most diverse group of potential voters.
- campaigns also focus their resources on specific geographic regions, namely those states with the most electoral votes (this hurt Dole in 1996 - couldn’t decide where to allocate resources)
a. News Coverage
- control over media coverage is very important in a campaign.
- speeches, press releases, and advertisements are geared to strengthen the appeal of a candidate (i.e. sound bites, symbols, constant presentation of campaign themes, etc.)
- candidates hope that their coverage in the media centers around their agenda, issues, and policy positions, not topics selected by the media for the entertainment of their audience.
- debates have become of vital importance to the presidential campaign
- candidates often view debates as an opportunity to improve their image, while damaging the image of their opponent
- "spin doctors" are usually available to speak to the media following the debates, hoping to improve the press's evaluation of their candidate.
- debates usually help the challenger by providing national exposure, but rarely have a major impact on the perceptions of voters; in fact, they often simply reinforce the views of those who watch them.
- ads must seem truthful, convey relevant info., and be interesting in order to be effective
- ads usually target a specific group of people or geographic region in an attempt to associate with the needs of the people in a given area.
- negative advertising is also frequently used, but can be excessive (George Bush in 1988 and 1992)
- quick response to ads is also important in the shaping of voter perceptions and attitudes
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I. Polling of the People
- since 1916, nationwide polls have been taken in order to evaluate the opinions and sentiments of the American electorate towards a given election; however, polls are not always accurate indicators of the results of the election (i.e. Landon and Dewey)
- perhaps the most accurate poll is the exit poll, a survey taken once voters leave the voting booth; however, in the hands of the media, the accuracy of exit polls can often adversely affect those who have yet to vote by prematurely predicting the winnersII. Analyzing the Results
III. Assessing the Mandate
- presidents are rarely given a clear mandate for governing.
- in order for a mandate to exist, candidates must take distinct and compatible positions on the issues, and must be elected on these issues; also, the party of the president needs to be consistent with the majority party in Congress
- nonetheless, presidents are expected to keep the promises they make during the campaign
IV. Converting the Electoral Coalition for
- it has become much more difficult for a successful electoral coalition to achieve the same degree of success as a governing coalition (i.e. decline of party leaders, autonomy of state and congressional electoral systems, etc.)
- it is important for presidents to exhibit strong leadership ASAP; also, they need to establish priorities consistent with their campaigns and the will of the people
- furthermore, presidents must take advantage of their opportunities (i.e. create policy alliances, rally supporters, etc.)
- presidents usually suffer a decline in popularity over time which can inhibit their ability to accomplish their objectives
- thus, presidents are relegated to being facilitators when they might wish to be the agents of change
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• America’s Opinion- since the 50s, public knowledge of policy has nose dived, voters aren’t awarePublic Expectations
• Public Opinion Polls- done more in US than anywhere/ “how do you feel about the president” OR “is the US headed the right way”
• Mail from the Public- mail, both letters and e-mail, are seldom used to understand public opinion because little mail actually provides useful information and insight into policy. (Grassroots lobbying that misinterpret laws)
• Acting Contrary to Public Opinion- they know more about policy, therefore are more guided in the subject and more likely to make better decisions
• High expectations- (Obama) assurance of peace, stability, and prosperity/ span from candidates themselvesPublic Approval of President
• Contradictory Expectations- leader but follower of public opinion, open minded and compromising- but firm, relatable but exceptional (Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam war)
• Levels of approval- relations with the public, often fickle and presidents cant dependLeading the Public
• Party identification
• Positivity Bias- early administration, then public starts to sway with negatives
• Persistence of approval- support doesn’t last long after election, but first few months allow pres. to establish popular base
• Long term decline- standard decline and enthusiasm towards end of term
• Personality of policy- positive effect when pres. has favorable personality
• Rally events- used to boost ratings (often regard national security, defense, or the economy)
• Direct Opinion Leadership—seeking public opinion in policy is best way to gain support.
• Framing issues- altering issues to make them more easily understood and accepted by the public
• Use of symbols—simple language, putting a positive message to a complex idea
• Public relations—tools used to get word out about policies, reach more of the public, produce good image, increase involvement
• Success of opinion leadership- not much success in asking for publics opinion
Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Four- The President and the Public
By Chrys Lake, Fall 2008
- Understanding Public Opinion:
o American’s Opinions- Edwards claims that most American’s, individually, do not have the time, knowledge, or inclination to form educated opinions on policy and governmental issues, though they readily share them! But, the collective public opinion holds stable, real, and sensible opinions about policy—this type of opinion is essential to a president and his ability to please his constituency.- Public Expectations of the President:
o Public Opinion Polls- This is a common tool in measuring public attitudes and allows the president to learn ‘how a cross section of the population feels about a specific policy, general living conditions, or the administration’s performance. Problems with polls: often don’t engage the intensity of the problem, seldom ‘mesh’ with the decisions that presidents face, result may reflect the wording of the choices (agree/disagree). Edwards argues that polls rarely influence government decisions, but do influence political strategy.
o Presidential Election Results- A candidate’s support in the election can help to gauge the concerns of the public and their constituents. *If they support the candidate, they supported their platforms.
o Mail from the Public- mail, both letters and e-mail, are seldom used to understand public opinion because little mail actually provides useful information and insight into policy.
o Acting Contrary to Public Opinion- A president sometimes chooses to go against public opinion. They do this for a number of reasons, including representing the silent majority, the underrepresented, and statesmen, and they also often feel like they know more about policy, therefore are more guided in the subject and more likely to make better decisions.
o High Expectations- ‘the public’s expectations of the president in the area of policy are substantial and include the assurance of peace, security, and prosperity.’ Though, Edwards later claims that though expectations are high in security and economic matters, the margin often appears in social expectations. American’s expect successful politics and an extraordinary individual, both strong and morally straight (!). Edwards says that these high expectations span from the candidates themselves, political socialization, the prominence of the president, his tendency to personalize, and a lack of understanding of the context in which the president works. This often leads to negative consequences.- Public Approval of the President:
o Contradictory Expectations- ‘contradictory expectations of presidents deal with either the content of policy or their style of performance.’ Edwards highlights the paradoxes within the expectations ( leader but follower of public opinion, open-minded and compromising but decisive and firm, statesman but politician loyal to his party, run open administrations but in control of the White House, relatable but exceptional)
o Levels of Approval- the president’s most visible and significant aspect of the presidents’ relations with the public. The public is often fickle in its level of approval, and presidents cannot depend on it.- Leading the Public:
o Party Identification- evaluations of the president’s performance reflect the underlying partisan loyalties of the party. Naturally, members of the candidate’s party are more likely to approve higher than those of the opposing party (though often to not a great degree!)
o Positivity Bias- ‘the tendency to show evaluation of the public figures and institutions in a generally positive direction’. The American tendency to lean towards the positive instead of the negative can often work in a president’s favor. (Edwards claims this is especially important at the beginning of an administration) As the public become more acquainted with the candidate, they lean more towards the negative, often caused by bandwagoning, depolarization of politics after an election, and positive bias itself create attitude change.
o The Persistence of Approval- Substantial support does not last long after the election. Alienation soon begins as the president faces difficult decisions and the politics of Washington, but sometimes it does last longer than what Edwards calls ‘the honeymoon’. He claims that though declines to occur, they are not inevitable or swift and his first few months allows the president to establish a popular base before his support declines.
o Long-Term Decline- Beginning in 1966 approval levels changed dramatically and since then presidents receive a bare minimum of support (Edwards argues that it might have been the war in Vietnam and the Watergate Scandal?) There is an inconsistency amongst presidents in approval ratings, but generally there is a decline in enthusiasm amongst voters.
o Personality or Policy? - There is often a positive effect on approval when the president has a ‘favorable’ personality, but it can not explain for shifts in approval rating (does his personality change, therefore his approval rating change?)
o Personal Characteristics- or integrity, intelligence, and leadership abilities--decision making style often effects approval in relation to social and security issues.
o Issues- Obviously a president’s stance on issues and his ability to make responsible and well rounded decisions in regards to those issues is an important factor in approval ratings. Edwards argues it is the single most important factor.
o Rally Events- there are certain occurrence that boosts a president’s approval rating—often regarding national security, defense or the economy (crisis or international events), which helps the public’s confidence in a candidate.
o Direct Opinion Leadership- the idea that seeking the public’s opinion in policy and government matters is the best way to gain the public’s support. They do this by being public and noticeable figures, but the public’s recent general lack of interest is hindering their ability to utilize this method. Edwards says that presidents have to worry about their medium and their message.- Conclusions: Presidents need the support of the people to play an effective leadership role, but it is difficult to obtain. Expectations are high and hard to achieve. Though they directly appeal to the public for their opinions they often do not follow it—instead they try to mirror it in policy.
o Framing Issues- The complexity of issues, both relative to voters and not so relative, creates burdens for average Americans and the White House. The people’s perception of these issues is based on their value system, which the president can then try to mold and change in his favor.
o The Use of Symbols- the use of simple language (or symbols as Edwards calls it) helps make policy choices more relatable and understandable—impacting how much influence the president can have over the public and the possibility of support. This can be tag-lines, values, ect. Anything to put a positive and reassuring message to a complex idea.
o Public Relations- the importance of substance, presentation, and timing of policy. Public Relations tools are used to ‘get the word out’ about policies, reach a broader audience, produce a good image, and increase public involvement and support.
o Success of Opinion Leadership- Is asking for the public’s opinion an effective way to gain their support? No! Edwards argues that it doesn’t. He states that the direct leadership of public opinion provides opportunities, especially in foreign policy, but no guarantees of success!
o Information Control- This is the idea that controlling what information the public sees, when they see it, how clear it is, and how true it is, are ways to influence public opinion. Edwards argues that this gives presidents more flexibility in dealing with issues, because the public isn’t as aware.
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Chap. 4 - President and the Public
(Jared Lyles, spring 2000)
- Presidents lead the general public towards their goals not push the goals on the public.
- There are two types of presidents;
- Public opinion polls tell what the majority of the public wants.
Public’s goals from the president:
- leader, statesman, open-minded, and relate to average person.
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• Main way of communication with public, also analyze and interpret policiesRelations between the President and the Press
• Little media attention until the 20th century (newspapers, television, internet)
• White House Corps- elite group of diverse media that covers white house regularlyPress Coverage for the President
• Presidential Press Operation—president’s press secretary controls the information flow from the president, important for president to follow news as well
• Presidential Press Conference—direct interaction between pres. and press, more formal in recent years, crucial to communication
• Services for the Press1. Briefings- weekly, media is updated on any changes• Managing the News- creating a positive agenda, representing pres. at his best, and monitoring access to negative events
2. Backgrounders- media source that allows pres. or those in WH to give info anonymously
3. Interviews—with WH staff
4. Cultivation—more a means of flattery and favoritism
• Leaks—liability to pres.Media Effects
• Superficiality- press is more concerned with “personal and trivial” not policy
• Bias—most politically charged issue in press relations with pres./ impossible to completely eliminate biases in media
• Sets Public Agenda—more media time= more important
• Media framing and priming- media more likely to influence perceptions rather than attitudes
• Public Knowledge- media has substantial impact on publics knowledge of public policy
• Limiting the President’s Options- media can effect the issues the president should focus on, negative image that works against the executive
• Undermining the President
• Limits on media effects—general lack of interest, lack of attentiveness and follow through, and forgetfulness
Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Five: The President and the Media
By Chrys Lake, Fall 2008
- The Evolution of Media Coverage: The media
is the main what that president’s communicate with the public, but they
also play an active role in analyzing and interpreting policies and activities.
Originally there was little media attention, but the 20th century and technological
advances allowed presidents to use a variety of media resources: newspapers,
television, internet, ect. Edwards claims that the presidency and the media
will always conflict.
- Relations Between the President and the Press:
o The White House Press Corps- there is an elite group of diverse media that covers the White House regularly—newspapers, magazines, foreign press.- Press Coverage of the President:
o The Presidential Press Operation- The person who deals daily and directly with the press is the president’s press secretary, who serves as the media representative for the executive. Presidents often have to coordinate the news, limiting or allowing certain information to flow—also when, how, and where it flows. Edwards claims that it is essential for a president to follow the news as well.
o The Presidential Press Conference- this is best-known direct interaction between the president and the press. These have become more formal in recent years, but different presidents use different methods. Many presidents consider these crucial to communication.
o Services for the Press-1. Briefings: held weekday mornings and afternoon for the White House Press in which the media is updated on any changes or events.o Managing the News- the White House can manage the news by creating a positive agenda—representing the president at his best—and monitoring their access to less positive events. By reaching out to local news stations and mediums, the executive is able to limit attention to larger media sources, such as Washington and New York, who are often critical.
2. Backgrounders: a media source which allows for the president or those in the White House to speak or give information concerning position or status without being identified.
3. Interviews: Individual interviews with important White House staff are valuable to the media and are often done as ‘favors’.
4. Cultivation: This more a means of flattery and favoritism.
o Leaks- information leaks can be a major liability to the president, but everyone is usually responsible in some sense, even the president himself. Sometime it is done on purpose to promote a policy and to test public opinion, and to assist in foreign policy, for personal political goals, and political pressure.- Media Effects:
o Superficiality- this is the idea that the press is more concerned about the ‘personal and trivial’ and not the substance of politics. But, Edwards says that this is due to the fact that main stream media is responsible for relaying information to the American public about complex issues that must be short and simple. But, that this means of communication often hurts the president.
o Bias- Edwards claims that this is the most politically charged issue in press relations with the president. While it is impossible to completely eliminate biases within the media, there is a fair amount of neutral coverage.
o Setting the Public’s Agenda- What impact does media coverage have on the public opinion? Edwards claims that the media helps in familiarizing policy, therefore making the public more receptive to it. They can do this by up or down playing an issue (more media time=more important, less media time=less important)- Conclusions: The mass media plays a very important role in the presidency, providing information to voters, mediating with the White House, and reaching out to the public. There problems with the biased and superficial nature of the press, but it is a ‘pillar of free society’ and appeals to the general public.
o Media Framing and Priming- ‘Media coverage of issues and events may prime the criteria most people select for evaluating the president’, and the media is more likely to influence perceptions than attitudes.
o Public Knowledge- Edwards claims that the media has a substantial impact on the public’s knowledge of public policy. Interesting fact: ‘Research has found that people are frequently misinformed about policy, and the less they know, the more confidence they have in their beliefs.’
o Limiting the President’s Options- Just as the president can effect the issues the media covers, the media can also affect the issues that the president should focus on. Since the media is the way people acquire knowledge, it can often limit what the president can do, especially in times of crisis. They can create a negative image that works against an executive.
o Undermining the President- ‘the preoccupation of the press with personality, drama, and the results of policies does little to help the public appreciate the complexity of presidential decision making, the trade-offs involved in policy choices, and the broad trends outside the president’s control.’ Instead in paints an incomplete, negative picture in which the president doesn’t perform or provide as hoped.
o Limits on Media Effects- the media’s influence is limited by the characteristics of the readers and viewers, general lack of interest in politics, lack of attentiveness and follow through, and forgetfulness. Other limits such as time, resources, staff, and sources affect the media as well.
Chap. 5: The President and the Media
Evolution of Media Coverage
Relations between the President and the Press
journalists from major news organizations. covering the White HousePress Secretary
1/3 White House staff involved in media relations
must be credible 1) credibility and 2) access to & respect of presidentPress Coverage of the President
help reporters gain access to staff members
explain needs of press to pres.
give pres. advice on image presented to press
Services for the Press: briefings, backgrounders, interviews, cultivation
Managing the News: briefing, press releases used to divert attention from embarrassing matters
- Leaks: trial balloons, info leaked to cause favorable stories, send other nations signals of US attitude,Media Effects
influence personal matters
- Superficiality: short run, instant history
- Bias, Distortion
- simplify complex issues and events and provide continuity of persons, institutions and issues
- emphasizes some info at expense of other data
Media Activism: Somalia
Negativity: scandals -- Monica
media has little or no influence on public opinion, just reinforce existing attitudesLimits on Media Effects
- influence perceptions rather than attitudes
- those with little concern for politics susceptible to media more because have no other means of education on issues
- Setting Public Agenda: familiarity with issues is related to coverage in media
characteristics of readers and viewers limit impact of media
ability of people to reject or ignore evaluations in stories
great volume of info available
time to absorb info
disconnected snippets in TV and papers
visuals distract verbal messages
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Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Six: The President’s
Notes by Rhett Williams, Spring 2014; other sets follow
• The Evolution of the Cabinet—framers didn’t include advisory council, but presidency began to use the department heads as advisors, creating the executive cabinetProviding a Presidential Staffing System
• The Creation of the Presidential Bureaucracy- 1939 due to the growth of the executive branch, need for coordination, and help the pres. preform tasks including: policy making and policy implementation1. Today, 11 offices, 2 Executive residences, staff of 1800, and budget of 328 million• Consequences of Structural Change—management styles of different presidents have produced instability, irregularity, and uncertainty (institutional mechanism paradox)
• Personalized WH- 1939-1960, competition between a few aides to increase productivity, personal atmosphere
• Institionalized WH- 1980-present, expanded the importance of aids, better known with more power, senior aids became policy advisors, decreased dependency on departments
• Trends in WH staff- each president expands staff to met his needs
• VP- providing policy advise, ceremonial duties, increased power since founding—national security positions, legislative power
• Spouse—social and ceremonial functions, little are involved in politics, can be positive and negative
Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Six: The President’s Office
By Chrys Lake, Fall 2008
- Organizing Executive Advice:
o The Evolution of the Cabinet- Initially the framers did not include an advisory council for the president, but the presidency began to use the department heads as advisors—thus creating the executive cabinet, and members are expected to provide counsel and support. Each president varies on the influence and decisive nature of the cabinet, ultimately declining in importance, but communication between the departments is still essential to success.- Providing a Presidential Staffing System:
o The Creation of the Presidential Bureaucracy- Edwards claims that the Executive Office of the President was created in 1939 due to the growth of the executive branch, the need for coordination within it, and the orientation of the departments toward their clientele and its goal is to help the president perform central, nondelegable tasks, including those involved in their expanded policy-making and policy implementation roles. Today it consists of eleven offices, two executive residences, on board, a staff of 1,833 authorized personnel and a budget of $328 million. Changes have occurred to do ‘historical accidents’.
o Consequences of Structural Change- Changes occur with the management styles of the individual presidents and have produced instability, irregularity, and uncertainty within the organization. Also, other organizations have been formed to do what the EOP was initially intended to do. Edwards says that even though the EOP has increased the president’s discretion and influence, it has generated internal rivalry and competition. The paradox is this: the institutional mechanism has made it possible for the president to accomplish more, but as a result it has increased the demands and expectations on his job and the need for him to accomplish more.
o The Early Years- Beginning with no secretarial support, the size and job description of aides and secretaries to the president has grown substantially.- Conclusions: There are too many expectations on today’s presidency to be taken on alone. This can be seen in the growth and institutionalization of the presidential office, most of which has happened in the last 100 years.
o The Personalized White House, 1939 to 1960- During these years president’s encouraged competition between few aides to increase productivity, while maintaining a personal and minimal atmosphere. Their influence spanned from their mediating role, their ability to obtain information, and their proximity to the president.
o The Institutionalized White House, 1980 to the Present- this era expanded the influence and importance of aides and secretaries, in which they became better known, exercised more power, and monopolized the president’s attention and time. Senior aides even became principal policy advisors, lower level aides were neglected, and the institutionalization of policy making gave president’s more discretion, decreased the president’s dependency of departments and agencies, and increased the status of assistants.
o Trends in White House Staffing- Each president expands the White House staff to meet the needs of his administration, his style, and his personal needs.
o The Growth of the Vice Presidency- Duties range from providing policy advice and making political appeals to performing a variety of ceremonial functions. The position has increased in importance since its founding—now holding national security positions, legislative power, advisory power, ect.
o The President’s Spouse- though not outlined in any way, spouses perform social and ceremonial functions, though are involved little in actual politics ( tell that to Hilary Clinton!) They can be both positive and negative forces.
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Chap. 6: President’s Office
The President’s Office
* presidency is too complex for one man to handle alone.Organizing Executive Advice
* executive agencies and departments intended to provide help but they answer to congress also so they don’t always help the president.
* president needs own advisory bodies and institutional structures.
* 3 reasons: 1) to obtain information on people and policies 2) to maintain linkage to the constituencies 3) to ensure priorities are clear, decisions are implemented, interests are, protected.
* presidents need good staff support but also need staff to tell them what they might not want to hear.
The evolution of the cabinet.
* constitution did not create separate advisory council for the president, because of fear that president would blame them Ex: King could do not wrong (his advisors made the wrong decisions)The Development of Cabinet Councils
* originally planned to use secretaries a both administrative and advisory councils.
* personal relationships with congress put Secretaries in better shape than president so strong cabinets and weak presidents represented most of the 19th century
* 20th century presidents influence increases
* FDR cabinet meetings became more of a discussion.
* Eisenhower cabinet resurgence 230 times year
* after Eisenhower presidents met with cabinet because they were expected to do so.
* cabinet decline because of need of specialized information and Secretaries lack of it.
* This need of specialized information led to organizations of cabinet councils on certain issues; domestic, economic, and national security.Creation of presidential Bureaucracy
* (EOP) Executive office of the President -- 1939Consequences of Structural change
* misnomer -- not primarily executive nor a single office
* principle objective- help presidents perform non delegable tasks.
* 1st EOP -- Bureau of Budget and the White House
* now 12 offices, 2 Executive residences, 1800 staff, budget of 253 million.
* evolved in size but not function
* EOP is product of historical accidents and the needs of different administrations
NOTE: most extensive reorganization , Nixon
* structural changes produced instability in organization, irregularity in operations, turmoil in personnel.
* development of institutionalized presidency has enhanced President’s power but may also make it more difficult to ensure influence because of large size of staff.
* president can resolve this by two means
1) immerse themselves in administration and consume time and energy.
2) delegate authority and risk misuse
Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Seven: Presidential
Notes by Rhett Williams, Spring 2014; other sets follow
• Previous commitments- past decisions often dictate how a president makes decisions (spend money, defend allies, maintain services)Organizational and Style of Decision Making
• Time Constraints- severe constraints due to the amount of time an executive has to accomplish goals due to a vast amount of diverse obligations, hierarchy of issues
• White House Organization- reflects personality and habits of incumbentRelationships with Advisors1. Hierarchical• Form of Advice- ways presidents communicate, memos, directly talking, both with chances of miscommunication, (orally genuinely leads to better understanding)
2. “Spokes of the Wheel”
• Multiple Advocacy- range of information, better quality of decision, but can be too many people explaining too many things
• Presidential Involvement- must physically retrieve and analyze date themselves to make effective decisions
• Not many disagree with the pres. because of his power and their job, so its often hard for the president to hear what he needs toBureaucratic Politics and Decision Making
• Discouraging advice- executives that punish aides who present info he dislikes
• Groupthink- advisor strength in numbers
• Organizational Parochialism- hiring like minded recruits, uniformity expected
• Maintaining the Organization- resist any organization to take away their influence so they maintain health and standing in Gov.
• Organizational and Personal Influence- institutions and people will distort information to improve influence in executive
• Bureaucratic Structure-1. Hierarchy: most bureaucracies are organized this way, with information and responsibilities flowing from top to bottom.
2. Decentralization: even in a hierarchical executive branch, information can’t be centralized.
3. Standard Operating Procedures: these are uniform means of gathering and processing information in a methodical way.
Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Seven: Presidential Decision Making
By Chrys Lake, Fall 2008
- Previous Commitments: The most important
aspect of the president’s role is decision making, and this influence by
all types of things. Edwards notes that it is crucial to understand the
atmosphere in which the president makes decisions—they have to make decisions
under severe constraints. There are often prior commitments made by the
government that requires it to spend money, defend allies, maintain services,
or protect rights. He is also strained by the institutional capabilities
of the executive branch—which is also a product of past decisions.
- Time Constraints: There are severe constraints to the amount of time an executive has to accomplish goals due to a vast amount of diverse obligations. This also tends to create a hierarchy of issues within the agenda.
- Organization and Style of Decision Making:
o White House Organization- the organization of the White House reflects the personality and work habits of the incumbent and fall within two types: hierarchical and the ‘spokes of the wheel’ Though the organization varies, it is important. It can hinder or help in time management, which allows the president to focus on more important decisions.- Relationships with Advisers:
o The Form of Advice-certain presidents communicate in certain ways: memos, memoranda, talking directly to aides. There are pros and cons to both oral and written communication—both with the chances or miscommunication, misunderstandings, and leaking. But, oral generally allows for clearer understanding and varying points of view, while written saves time and protects confidentiality.
o Multiple Advocacy- this refers to the range of options presents receive and the effectiveness with which those options are presented. This allows the president to keep from depending on one source of information, allows for a better quality of decision and for more issues to be discussed. But, this creates conflicts within staff and efficiency—too many people trying to explain too many things.
o Presidential Involvement- ‘presidents need information, including tangible details, to construct a necessary frame of reference for decision making. They can not assume that any person or advisory system will provide them with the options and information they require, and thus they must reach out widely’. This is the thought that presidents must physically retrieve and analyze data themselves to make effective decisions.
o Disagreeing with the President- this is often difficult for an advisor seeing as presidents are strong individuals and an advisor’s job depends on his approval. Therefore it is often hard for a president to get the critical, straightforward advice he needs.- Bureaucratic Politics and Decision Making:
o Discouraging Advice- ‘An executive who ‘punishes’ those aides who present options or information he dislikes may reinforce the reluctance of advisers to disagree with the president.’ This causes a reluctance to share information with the executive and causes tension between the president and his aides.
o Groupthink- this refers to the general phenomenon of people agreeing when they talk in small, cohesive decision-making groups (the idea of consensus) which allows for advisor ‘strength in numbers’.
o Staff Rivalries- feuding and internal fighting for power hinders the aides and advisors ability to provide good rationale for decision-making.
o Loss of Perspective-narrowing of viewpoints often occurs within the White House due to comfortable environments and isolation from ‘the real world’.
o Role Conceptions- ‘advisers’ conceptions of their jobs influence their delivery of information and options.’
o Organizational Parochialism- organizations tend to hire and recruit like-minded individuals who believe in the actions of the agency. The idea of status quo plays heavily in decision making, and uniformity can always be expected.- Conclusions: There are many restraints and restrictions presidents face in making decisions. There are also ways in which the president must organize the White House, according to the most efficient means. The White House must also take the bureaucracies influence into consideration when understanding the decision-making process.
o Maintaining the Organization- the object of an organization is to maintain its health and standing in the government because they feel it is vital to the national interests. To do this they generally present options and gather information that is in the interests of their organization and will resist any other organization to take away their power and influence.
o Organizational and Personal Influence- institutions will often distort information and options to improve their influence in the executive. Edwards claims that personnel within the organizations often believe that they are the most knowledgeable and guided on the subject and therefore desire to posses the primary influence over issues concerning their area of expertise.
o Bureaucratic Structure- Hierarchy: most bureaucracies are organized this way, with information and responsibilities flowing from top to bottom. Decentralization: even in a hierarchical executive branch, information can’t be centralized. Standard Operating Procedures: these are uniform means of gathering and processing information in a methodical way.
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Chap. 7: Presidential Decision Making
I Influences on Presidential Decision Making
A Previous Commitments
B Time Constraints
Presidents have severe constraints, regardless of approach Institutional capability restrictions
C Organization and Decision Making
diverse obligations very rarely can predict upcoming and new issues deadlines may make it necessary to make decision without time to fully study less controversial parts of policies get little attention
E Bureaucratic Politics and Decision Making
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Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Eight: The Psychological
Notes by Rhett Williams, Spring 2014; other sets follow
• Natural born, resident of US for 14 years, 35 years oldGeneral Health
Social and Political Background
• Usually high social standing, elevated families, elite education
• Ability to use emotion in his favor is a big attribute, health problems are often underplayed[Psychological theory is bypassed in this set of notes]
• Stylistic differences are a product of personal needs and experience, (environment they work in, staff size, hours they work)
• White House Relationships—staff is often characterized by many of the president’s personality traits, work too much, know too much, compete and burn out
Edwards and Wayne, Chapter Eight: The Psychological Presidency
By Chrys Lake, Fall 2008
- Qualifications for Office- The founders
only listed three requirements for qualification into office: 1. the president
must be a natural-born citizen 2. He must be a resident in the U.S. for
at least 14 years. 3. He must be at least 35 years old. They did this with
the idea that the presidency was a position that any citizen of the US
could aspire to achieve.
- Social and Political Background- The way a president runs his administration is reflective of his personality. Typically presidents are men from high social standing, from elevated families, elite educational institutions, and successful professional careers. These circumstances can often enhance a president’s standing in the political community, but can hinder their appeal to the average American.
- Physical Attributes and General Health- a president’s ability to use emotion in his favor is a huge attribute, but it can easily work against him. Their general health is a source of major concern in facing large and important decisions every day. Health problems are often underplayed.
- Psychological Orientation- How does personality affect the presidency? There are two types of studies that focus on the relationship between personality and performance.
1. Psychobiography, which seeks to explain presidential behavior on the basis of a comprehensive psychological analysis of a president’s life.- Cognitive Dimensions:
2. how does personality affect seeking the presidency, structuring and staffing it, and then exercising power within it—how personality shapes, motivates, activates, and conditions responses, and influences judgments?
The influence of character, worldview, and style embody a candidate.
o Impact of Worldviews- ‘Beliefs are shaped by how individuals view themselves and others within their environment’. Presidents bring a belief structure (in regards to policy, issues, ect) when they enter office. These beliefs undoubtedly effect policy and can also cause dysfunction. They may affect a president’s ability to identify problems, determine objectives of policy, and provide options and alternative solutions to problems.- Presidential Style: ‘stylistic differences are a product of personal needs and experience’. Edwards speaks about the environment in which they work in, from the hours, to the staff size, to the involvement, to their interaction with the community, to further emphasize the individualized nature of the presidency.
o Managing Inconsistency- Edwards suggests a few ways in which presidents approach inconsistency in policy and actions: First, attach negative consequences to alternatives. Second, employ selective information implying that a particular situation could not possibly occur or would definitely occur. Third, engage in ‘wishful thinking’. Fourth, reasoning by analogy. Fifth, discredit the source of information and options. Sixth, avoid information.
Chap. 8: Psychological Presidency
By Marie Wilkerson, 2002
Social and Political Background
- American Presidents have been advantaged by virtue of their wealth, the professional
positions they have held, and the personal contacts they have made.
- Born into families of high social status and considersable economic means ( higher educationa
and professional opportunities)
- eight of our presidents were the product of only four families
- Only Calvin Collidge, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan might be said to have suffered from
poverty in their youths
- Education has been used as a springboard for professional careers that have culminated in
Physical Attributes and General Health
- Information about the medical pathologies of presidents has been extremely limited
- Presidents and their advisors want to prevent precipitous public relations to an illness or injury
to the president and desire to maintain continuity of policy both within the government and
between it and other governments.
- Given th magnitude of their task and the stress they are under, presidents need excellent and
continuous medical care
- Studies have shown that presidents who served more than four years in office have had more
serious health problems and shorter life spans than those who completed on term or less
- The duties and responsibility of the office also aggrevate the ageing process
Psychobiograph- seek to explain presidential behavior on the basis of a comprehensive
psychological analysis of a presidnet's life
Barber's Presonality Traits
-character, style, worldviews
Presidential Character Types
- Impact of Worldview
* identifying problems * determining objectives
* raising options * managing inconsistency
- Managing Inconsistency
* inference mechanisms
- Presidnet set the tone for the white house
- Some presidnets feel the need to dominate relationships with their subordinates
- some presidents need to operate in a very protective environment
White House Staff Relationships
- The work is arduous and the hours, extensive
- Aids usually arrive before the president and depart after he leaves (60-80 standard week)
- Social background, physical well-being, presidnetial character, cognitive views, and personal
style and staff interaction all condition the president performance in office
- If socialization, physical condition, and psycholigical orientation- which includes character,
worldviews, and style- affect behavior, then they must hve a impacto on the president's capacity to lead
- In conclusion is that leadership is not only a consequence of who the leader but of how that
leader interacts with others in the changing social economic, and political milieu of the presidency
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Lack of Attention to Implementation
• Often too many other responsibilities, and implementation is not a strengthCommunication of Presidential Decisions
• Transmission- decision has been made and the implementation process occurs, often transmission doesn’t occur successfully (vagueness in orders, orders go through too many people)Dispositions
• Clarity- implementation directives must be clear, if not it could give way to different meanings of policies
• Consistency- inconsistency allows more personal discretion to implementers
• White House Distrust- executive believes officials and agencies they represent have personal interest and work in advance to protect those. Often leads to miscommunication and non appliance, as well as tensionThe Bureaucratic Structure
• Bureaucratic Responsiveness to the President- even though there is tension, there is more cooperation with the president’s wishes than not
• Staffing the Bureaucracy- replacing those who resist implementation with those who cooperate is effective way to fix the problem. Executive can do this by appointment
• Limiting Discretion- regulations, congressional testimony, limiting agency budgets are ways of limiting discretion of implementers
• Standard Operating Procedures- routines that enable public officials to make numerous everyday decisions. Uniformity and structure to procedures
• Fragmentation- dispersion of responsibility for a policy among several organizations, this creates confusion and lack of coordination, hinders implementation process
- Lack of Attention to Implementation: Often a
low priority in administrations, there are too many other responsibilities
for presidents to worry about and implementation is not one of their strengths
or political interests. Edwards claims that there are little incentives
for a president to worry about implementation, but as economic and social
issues become front-runners of policy again the public might see a change
in that area.
- Communication of Presidential Decisions:
o Transmission- The decision has been made and an order to implement it has been issued. Communication errors occur often and transmission often does not occur successfully. There are many things that effect transmission—vagueness in orders, orders given out of anger or without proper consultation, the decentralized nature of the implementation of a public policy (it goes through to many people, or the president won’t communicate directly to subordinates).- Resources:
o Clarity- implementation directives must be clear, if not implementers can take leeway to give new meaning to policies. This is due to the complexity of policy making, the difficulty in reaching consensus, starting up a new program, often the legislature wants them vague, and strict guidelines.
o Consistency- inconsistency also allows implementers more personal discretion in regards to policy interpretation and implementation. This spans from the issues named above and the executives desire to please multiple interests.
o Money- the lack of money hinders the executive’s ability to implement policy.- Dispositions:
o Staff- Edwards claims this is a principal source of implementation failure, claiming that there are too few, qualified personnel to do an effective job. This creates issues in monitoring, updating, and obtaining data, in addition, expertise and physical numbers further hinder this resource.
o Authority- the president actually has very little direct authority over the executive branch operation and sometimes staff lacks the authority or authorization to implement policy.
o Facilities and Equipment-‘without the necessary buildings, equipment, supplies, and even green space, implementation will not succeed.’ Equipment is old and scarce.
o White House Distrust- centered on the idea that the bureaucracy is not a neutral instrument. Edwards states that the executive believe officials and the agencies they represent have personal interests and are working to advance and protect those, instead of viewing issues from the president’s perspective. If a specific agencies interest do not align with those of the presidency, then they are more likely to use their own discretion. This often leads to miscommunication and non-appliance to presidential mandate, as well as tension between organizations and the executive.- The Bureaucratic Structure:
o Bureaucratic Responsiveness to the President- Though there is tension between the two groups, there is more cooperation with the president’s wishes than not, even in areas of political controversy. This occurs in what Edwards calls the ‘cycle of accommodation’, in which career civil servants accommodated the needs and requests of the president.
o Staffing the Bureaucracy- replacing personnel who resist policy implementation with those who will cooperate is an effective way to fix the problem. The executive can do this by appointment. (Executive Schedule appointees, non career senior executives, Schedule C employees)
o Limiting Discretion-‘The government relies heavily on rules to limit the discretion of implementers’. There are several ways in which the executive constrains bureaucratic discretion, including regulations, congressional testimony, limiting agency budgets, and establishing process restrictions. Unfortunately, this often furthers the difficulty in implementation.
o Standard Operating Procedures- these are routines that enable public officials to make numerous everyday decisions. They bring uniformity and structure to procedures and make personnel interchangeable. But, in some cases they are inappropriate and even obstacles. They hinder implementation by inhibiting change—because they are made for specific circumstances.- Conclusions: The president faces large obstacles in implementing public policy, and he is not typically in command of the bureaucracy within the executive branch. Improving implementation is difficult because of the institutionalization of bureaucratic methods, the president’s working environment, the lack of incentives and recognition in concerns to implementation.
o Fragmentation- ‘the dispersion of responsibility for a policy area among several organizational units.’ Too many agencies dealing with the same issues—this creates confusion, a lack of coordination, and ineffectiveness and hinders the implementation process.
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Chap. 9: President & Executive Branch
Jarret Layson, 2002
lack of attention—presidents face many obligations, which implementing policy is only one lack of experience in administration on large scale foreign affairs are always a top priority incentives to invest time in implementation are few presidents usually receive little credit
Transmission-before decision can be implemented, subordinates must be aware that the decision has been made and an order to implement it has been issued
Money-sometimes the problem the president faces in implementation is lack of money Staff Insufficient staff is especially critical to implementation when the policy involved imposes unwelcome constraints on people Lack of staff makes compliance data hard to receive Sometimes the necessary personnel are very difficult to hire Needed staff may not exist Authority Formal authority is mistaken for effective authority The desire for self-preservation keeps many of the president’s agencies from withdrawing funds Lack of authority of public officials is small compared to the lack of authority for in the private sector Facilities and Equipment Frequently a shortage of sophisticated equipment Congress often prefers to spread resources over many policies rather than to fund fewer programs adequately
how they exercise the discretion in the implementation depends on their dispositions about the policies and rules they administer implementers may oppose policy-opposition can prevent a policy option from even being tried defeat immediate goals cooperation between agencies is lost due to differences in viewpoints Staffing the bureaucracy Appointments-president appoints less than 1 percent of appointees under the executive branch and are constrained politically Civil Service-if they don’t carry out implementation then it’s hard for president to dismiss of them Incentives-manipulation of incentives
Standard Operation Procedures
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- Formal Legislative Powers: Presidents
play a central role in the legislative process, expected to formulate and
promote specific policies. Much of this happens within the executive branch,
and the president is given a broad scope of legislative authority though
only four responsibilities were laid out by Article II ( State of the Union,
recommend necessary and expedient legislation, summon Congress into special
session, and veto power). Many presidents have used their legislative power
to enhance their congressional influence. Allowances in their responsibilities
have grown too—recommending legislation has become agenda-setting, State
of the Union to promote policy, though calling special sessions has fallen
- Sources of Conflict Between the Executive and Legislative Branches:
o Internal Structures- The executive branch is organized in a hierarchical manner with the president influenced by many interests and applying them to policy, while the houses of Congress are highly decentralized. This creates conflict between the two organizations. Congress has a difficult time in assessing all aspects of an issue because members act as individuals, not as a complete body-information is not shared, communication is minimal, and the ability to deal with many issues at once, unlike the executive with the president at the head claiming responsibility for all actions.- Agenda Setting: ‘Obtaining agenda space for his most important proposals is at the core of every president’s legislative strategy.’
o Information and Expertise- ‘The different internal structures of the president and Congress influence the amount and quality of the information available to them for decision making, further encouraging the two branches to see issues from different perspectives.’
o Time Perspectives- Congress has a longer time period in which to accomplish goals, while the President works within a limited frame, encouraging the two organizations to process legislation at different speeds.
o Party Support of the President- members of the president’s party in the house and senate are the core of his support system in the legislature and with out them the executive will find it almost impossible to pass policy. Legislative support is reflective of the executive branch as well, with their voting tendencies changing according to who is in office.- Public Support
o Leading the Party- Edwards claims that a representative is more likely to vote in favor of the executive because his standing in the public is their opportunity at reelection. The president is also the standing leader of the party; therefore the representative’s loyalties should lie with the executive.
o Public Approval- Edwards states that if the president has the public’s support, then he is more likely to succeed in the legislature, but it also works in the opposite way. If a president doesn’t have the support of the people, then representatives have less of a reason to support their policies if they want reelection.- Evaluating Strategic Position: ‘The first step a new administration should take to ensure success with Congress is to accurately assess its strategic position so it understands the potential for change.’ This often relates to the need for change in policy and gauging the desires of the public. Edwards says it can be disastrous if the president misreads its position in regards to the legislature and proposes weak and unsubstantial legislation.
o Mandates- the presidential election and its results also help the executive work with the legislature. If a candidate was elected on certain issues, than the president will have more success in passing policies related to those issues. ‘Moreover, concerns for both representation and political survival will encourage members of Congress to support the president if they feel the people have spoken’.
o Congressional Liaison- used to influence congressional support of legislation, the executive engages in cooperation through the congressional liaison staff, which represents presidential interests in the houses and on the Hill.- The Veto: Since all bills and joint resolutions, except those proposing constitutional amendments, must be presented to the president for approval, he has the opportunity to veto, another way of influencing legislation. But, there are many aspects of the veto. The president can sign the measure (making it a law), not sign the measure and return it to the house, or do nothing. Congress can overturn a veto, but it must be done by 2/3 majority in both houses and before the session ends. The president can only veto an entire bill, not parts of one, they can pocket them, and they can stop legislation before it passes at all.
o Personal Appeals- this technique is used to gain votes in the houses by the president’s active and personal appeal for votes. Edwards argues that this tactic must be used selectively and only on legislation important and vital to the executive, as its effectiveness will declined used too often.
o Bargaining- the idea of ‘buying’ votes in the houses. These occur often and only on an individual basis, and usually allot for special requests and allowances within future presidential policy and legislation.
o Services of Amenities- the idea of using favors to create a ‘voting debt’ to the executive. This usually occurs within the president’s party.
o Pressure- This is a more aggressive means of acquiring legislative support in which the president reminds Congress of its power and influence in Washington.
o Consultation- Consulting members of Congress on legislation before it is brought to the Hill creates an advantage for the executive. It allows for representatives to feel involved and engaged in the process, furthering the probability of their support.
o Setting Priorities-Setting an agenda of presidential priorities allows Congress time to evaluate and digest policy. This also allows the executive to lobby, spread out policy amongst several committees, and focus attention a set group of legislation.
o Moving Quickly- ‘The president must move quickly to exploit the honeymoon atmosphere that typically characterizes the early months of a new administration.’
o Structuring Choice- choosing issues for policy that the president is public supported on helps it gain Congressional support as well. ‘Portraying policies in terms of criteria on which there is a consensus, and playing down divisive issues, are often at the core of efforts to structure choices for Congress.’
o The Context of Influence- the nature of Congress itself-a bipartisan, assertive group—makes the president’s ability to influence them difficult. This often leads to stalemate.
o The Impact of Legislative Skills- ‘ Presidential legislative skills must compete, as does public support, with other, more stable factors that affect voting in Congress, including party, ideology, personal views and commitments on specific policies, and constituency interests.’ Edwards argues that the stubborn nature of Congress is in itself an issue, and executives must be resourceful and influential in their legislative skills.
- Conclusions: The president’s formal power
can help and hinder legislation, but these powers don’t often help them
get what they want. Presidents face a difficult task in dealing and influencing
Congress in support of their policy, but remain an important influence
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Chap. 10: President & Congress
Abbreviated version of notes by Hunter Wolfe, 2004
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President- Supreme Court Relations-
Selection of Lower-Court Judges: Federal district courts and the courts of appeals, President nominates person to fill the position for lifetime service, Senate confirms by a majority vote, the idea of ‘senatorial courtesy’ has become established were the President looks to the senators of that state for recommendation and approval of appointees. Presidents attempt to appoint judges with similar philosophical and policy orientation as the president and party. Backgrounds of Lower-Court Judges: all are lawyers, overwhelmingly white and male, held office as judges or prosecutors and have often been involved in partisan politics, and almost always of the same party affiliation. Selection of Supreme Court Justices- must be approved by a majority of those voting in the Senate, approved by the ABA; individual senators play much smaller role. Characteristics of Justices: Competence, ethical behavior, skilled, honorable, effective advocates, lawyers, white males (all but 4), upper-middle to upper class, Protestant, Partisan, held previous high administrative or judicial positions.
Molding the Court: one of the executive’s most significant powers, done through nominations to the Supreme Court, the idea of ‘packing’ the courts—nominating people of your party (but often causes problems) Arguments in the Courts: ‘the president may influence what cases the courts hear as well as who hears them.’ This is done by the solicitor general who supervises the litigation of the federal executive branch (he creates the agenda of the federal appellate courts), supervises the preparation of the government’s arguments in support of its position Enforcing Court Decisions: U.S. marshals, the courts often rely on the president to enforce their decisions, especially the controversial ones. The role of implementer. Other Relationships: Often the lines between the President and the Supreme Court are blurred, as the Chief Justice often serves other roles—advisory, diplomatic, etc.
Presidential Compliance: how do you get the president to comply with rulings against him and his policies? Marbury v. Madison established that the Supreme Court was highest in land and the president was obligated to accept its rulings. Deference to the President: What happens when the court finds presidential actions to be in violation of the Constitution? Rarely happens because presidents are given such a broad scope of power (especially during wartime)
President holds power to issue pardons, commute sentences, grant clemency, and proclaim amnesty—which they hold exclusively.
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Chap. 11: President & Judiciary
Joey Hollis, 2002
-The Presidents primary means of exercising leadership is through the nomination of federal judges.
SELECTION OF LOWER COURT JUDGES
-The President nominates judges for the federal district courts, as well as the courts of appeals
-persons are nominated for lifetime service, and must be confirmed by a senate vote
-Senatorial Courtesy is the customary manner in which the Senate disposes of state level federal nominations for such positions as judgeships and U.S. attorneys.PROCESS OF NOMINATIONNominations for these positions are not confirmed when a senator from the state in which the nominee is to serve opposes
-If Presidents want to they can refuse to appoint anyone to the position in an attempt to pressure a senator into supporting their nominee in order to avoid a backlog of federal cases in the state.
(1) When there is a vacant judgeship, the senator of the President's Party in the state in which the judge is to serve suggests one or more names to the attorney general and the president.BACKGROUNDS OF LOWER COURT JUDGES
(2) If there is no senator of the President's party, the state reps of the President's party might suggest.
(3) THe DOJ and the FBI then conduct competency and background checks
(4) Finally the President selects a nominee from those who survive the process
- Presidents have more influence in the selection of judges to the federal courts of appeals than to federal district courts;
- individual senators are not in the position to recommend, because appellant courts cover more than one or two states
- All lawyers, overwhelmingly white and maleSELECTION OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICES
- Only Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter have appointed a substantial # of women to the bench
-Only Clinton and Carter appointed minorities
-Presidents rarely appoint someone that is not of their ideology
-When the position of Chief Justice becomes vacant, the president usually nominates someone from outside the court.CHARACTERISTICS OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICES
- The President is interested in the Court because of the importance of its work...The Court rules on the scope of Presidential powers.
- Presidents also rely on the Attorney general and the DOJ to identify and screen candidates for the Court
-Supreme Justices themselves have often tried to influence decisions of the Court
-The American Bar Association's Standing Committee is really irrelevant, evaluating Justices after nomination
-Through 1998, 108 have served out of 148 nominations (Presidents have failed 20% of the time)
-Presidents survey candidates decisions (speeches, political stands, writings, and other expressions of opinion)
-Competence, ethical behavior, as well as skilled and honorable justicesPRESIDENT-SUPREME COURT RELATIONS
-All are lawyers, and all but 4 have been white males
-Overwhelmingly have been in fifties and sixties, from the upper to middle classes, and Protestants
-Race and gender have become more salient however,
-Partisanship remains important - Only 13 out of 108 members were nominated ny president's of differing party
-90% of a President's judicial nominations are members of his party
-Most judges have had some experience as a judge, often at the appellant level, or the DOJ
*Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren as Chief Justice as political pay back for the crucial role he played in his attaining the Republican nomination for President
-One of the President's most significant powers is molding the Court through nominationsARGUMENTS IN THE COURTS
-They also turn to people they know well for advice
-Bill Clinton differed in strategy when identifying persons with strong legal credentials, especially women and minorities
He was however, reluctant to appoint mostly Democrats to judgeships like his predecessors of the same party- instead he cashed in political favors with the Senate Republicans. ["Triangulation"]
-Solicitor GeneralENFORCING COURT DECISIONS
-presidential appointee who must be confirmed by the Senate , and who serves in the DOJ
-Supervises the litigation of the Federal Executive Branch, so plays a major role in determining the agenda of federal appellate courts
-Decides which of the cases lost by the federal government in the federal district courts will be appealed.
-Solicitor General files amicus curiae (friend of the court briefs)
- The federal government wins the majority of its cases
-The Constitution gives the President jurisdiction to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed On some occasions, the President has deployed federal troops to ensure that the laws are followed, as deemed by the court Though the Court is said to be the Supreme interpreter of the law of the land, the constitution, it is weak bc it cannot enforce the laws. As far as Presidential compliance is concerned, the Court found in Mississippi v. Johnson that it lacked jurisdiction to stop the President from performing official duties that required executive discretion; consequently, the issue failed to come to a head. There is rarely a problem for the President as far as a checking of his actions is concerned - there are few instances which the SC has ruled Presidential acts unconstitutional. In the areas of Foreign Policy and Defense, the Court has interpreted the Constitution and its statutes so as to give the president broad discretion to act.
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The Development of a Policy-Making Role-
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Edwards, Chapter 13: Budgetary and Economic
by Chrystine D. Lake, Fall 2008
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Chap. 13: Budgetary & Economic Policymaking
by Maegan McCollum, Spring 2008
- Budgetary problems are made worse by a weak economy and lessened by a strong one. Large and continuing budget and trade deficits (or surpluses) can have long and short-term effects on the economy.
- The budget predicts revenue and estimates expenditures of the federal government for a fiscal year—beginning October 1 and continuing until the following September 30.
- Presidential budget has been required since 1921—The Budget and Accounting Act. Costs of WWI increased the federal government expenditures, produced budget deficits, and encouraged Congress to give the president budget authority.
- In its early years the budget was small, oriented toward executive agencies, and used primarily for controlling federal spending.
- FDR’s New Deal programs followed by WWII and the Cold War accelerated spending in domestic and defense areas—expanding the size of the budget and moving it into an incremental phase (existing programs were maintained with a budget that included an increment to cover increased costs, including inflation).
- During the incremental phase, the budget highlighted new programs and supported existing ones.
- Since the 1970s entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc—have consumed a mounting proportion of government expenditures. Today, they make up 2/3 of the total budget.
- Interest on the national debt makes up 8% of the total budget. Payments for agricultural commodities and government support programs are also required by law.
- President’s have only a limited discretion over a relatively small portion of the total budget—those who want to reduce government expenditures have little leverage to do so.
- Political ramifications of the budget constrain public officials; instead of primarily affecting departments and agencies, the budget has a direct impact on many people and groups outside the government. As a consequence, constituencies have organized to protect and extend their benefits.
- The regular involvement of interest groups on budgetary politics has made it more difficult for the president and Congress to use the budget to control spending.
- Budget battles between Congress and the president broke out in the 1980s over the large deficit. These tensions eased during the 90s with the new balanced budget, but in 2001 new tax cuts along with the costs of the Iraq war, improving homeland security, etc. have returned Congress and the presidency to the partisan budgetary politics that large deficits produce.
- Presidents and Congress are constrained by previous commitments, existing legislation, and their campaign promises but they are also subject to strong clientele and constituency pressures, as well as fluctuations in the economy that may prevent them from imposing spending discipline or repealing popular tax benefits. Negotiation and compromise describes the relationship between Congress and the presidency dealing with the budget.
- The OMB is a principle player in the budgeting process—working with the president to allocate funds from agency to agency in order to produce his desired budget.
- Departments and agencies are asked to submit yearly estimates for their programs and operational costs and have to defend these before the OMB and Congress.
- The president and his advisers establish the guidelines, the departments and agencies make their estimates, and the OMB evaluates those estimates, but Congress must appropriate the money as required by the Constitution.
- The economic policy makers are: The Department of the Treasury (represents the financial community), The Federal Reserve Board (principle function is to regulate monetary policy), The Council of Economic Advisors (advises the president on macroeconomic policy), The Office of Management and Budget (advises the president on economic matters, handles departmental budget requests), and the International Economic Advisors (includes The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, The State Department…all other departments who deal with overseas economic affairs).
- Budget legislation—The Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 etc—has created a joint process in which both the president at Congress work together. Both have their own constituencies and agendas, even when the same party controls them both.
- The politicization of economic decision making has made long-range planning more difficult and economic decisions less stable over time; the election cycle must be considered when calculating the effect of policy change.
- President’s are more likely to strive for what is politically feasible rather than what may be theoretically optimal or ideologically desirable.
- The president’s ability to affect budgetary and economic matters has not kept up with growing expectations.
- Presidents need crisis as action-forcing and coalition-building mechanisms to do; this need raises the stakes, delays solutions, and frequently shortens the time frame in which those solutions are developed and implemented. The best a president can do is facilitate.
- To do so effectively, they have to give more time to budgetary matters and selectively involve themselves in economic issues.
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Executive Orders and Proclamations-
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Chap 15: The Unilateral Presidency
Charles U Walters, spring '06
I. decentralized political parties, a balance of powers and a federal government make it hard for the president to lead alone therefore they need to be able to persuade though it alone may not be enough
II. They can use Executive Authority and power as Commander in Chief and in times of emergency their power expands as the country looks to them for leadership
III. In exercising their unilateral powers presidents direct more than facilitate
IV. Executive Orders and Proclamations
a. Can order subordinates to perform a task in a specific manner through
i. executive ordersb. More executive orders have been issued since 1952 at a average rate of 60/year and the average percentage of importance of the orders has increased since 1945—many of these pertaining to civil rights such as
iv. or directive that has force of law as long as it doesn’t conflict with previous law or the Constitution
i. Emancipation Proclamationc. Mayer attributes this to the political environment- in situations where persuasion is difficult, presidents use this power to achieve policy and objectives and also to increase popularity towards a reelection, Clinton was a good example of late-term orders he:
ii. Truman’s desegregating the military
iii. Eisenhower’s federalizing the AK National Guard to enforce school segregation in Little Rock.
iv. More recently Bush’s order on stem cell research and his setting of air and water standards
i. expanded the amount of national monuments by including millions of national forest acreaged. Presidents have used their powers to act when they have been compelled to act quickly and decisively
ii. he heightened environmental standards
iii. ordered the FDA to consider tobacco as a drug and provide regulations on its sale and labeling- each could have been reversed by Congress or the next president, but haven’t
i. Bush ordered the Justice Department to investigate lapses in U.S. intelligence and security right after 9-11e. Congressional inaction as prompted unilateral executive actions where the president uses his power as leverage to get Congress to consider legislation, they have also used it to gain policy initiative, promote particular policy outcome, or prevent an outcome
ii. Orders have been issued to prevent White House staff from testifying before Congress
i. Clinton banned assault weapons, declared tobacco a drug, and issued new and higher standards for air and water purificationV. Executive Agreements and Foreign Policy Doctrines
ii. Congress has infrequently overridden executive orders, most are not even scrutinized by Congress
iii. The thought of congressional override does constrain the president at times such as when Clinton did not remove the ban on homosexuals in the military for fear of Congress overturning his order
f. Divided governments give incentives to presidents to produce more orders but it also creates a greater likelihood that Congress will reverse or modify them; therefore, the numbers of orders tend to decline during divided government
g. The judiciary gives the president large leeway in order not to damage their reputation as a nonpartisan body or their stature as final constitutional interpreters, and they are dependent on the executive to enforce their judgments
h. The bottom line is that the judiciary and Congress can limit the presidential unilateral power, but rarely do so
i. The overuse of the power can also undermine a president when it may upset members of Congress
a. Presidents have negotiated directly and concluded agreements with other heads of state and reinterpreted treaties ratified by the Senate
VI. Command Authority: The President’s War Powersi. Reagan said the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty did not apply to the development and testing of space missiles, only to their deploymentb. Without a formal agreement or declaration the president can make policy by just announcing it
ii. W. Bush declared the ABM treaty obsolete
c. Diplomatic doctrines issued by presidents have also served to guide the country’s foreign policy decisions such as the Monroe Doctrine warning European countries not to interfere with the interests of the US in the Western Hemisphere, and the Truman Doctrine (to contain the spread of communism in Europe)
a. President can summon Congress into special session, issue the state of the union to give the legislature the information it needs, and recommend necessary and expedient legislationVII. The Legislative Veto
b. Historical Precedentsi. The Whiskey Rebellion1. The Prize Cases where Lincoln ordered ships to take enemy cargo as prizes of war
ii. Madison ordered troops to SC to gain compliance with a tariff law
iii. Polk backed up his expansionist policy by ordering troops to Mexico
iv. Lincoln’s broad use of power at the onset of the Civil War such as the suspension of Habeas Corpus
v. During periods of war most court decisions have validated expansion of the presidential powers such as:
2. Ex Parte Milligan- allowed the president to establish military tribunals for those accused of aiding and abetting the enemy
3. Korematsu v US- Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese during WWII
i. Veto threats are more common than actual vetoes
ii. Andrew Jackson was the first president to use a veto threat to gain leverage over Congress
iii. Out of 2500 vetoes only 107 have been overridden
iv. Charles M. Cameron did a study and found that a majority of vetoes are performed when government is divided- the reason of this is because presidents have less influence in times of divided government.
v. Bush did not use a veto in his first term in office and he used the veto threat only sparingly
vi. Clinton vetoed 38 bills and used the veto threat often during his term
vii. Vetoes are used for presidents to prevent Congress from enacting legislation they oppose, and veto threats are bargaining tools to increase a president’s influence in Congress
VIII. Judicial Pardons
i. Pardons spark considerable controversy
ii. Andrew Johnson’s amnesty to Civil War resisters and Carter’s to draft dodgers
iii. with the exception of these blanket amnesties, pardons usually have little impact
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