Chapter 12 the american presidency
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Chapter 12: The American Presidency. Presidential Functions. Interest representation Rule initiation Rule application (chief executive officer of the federal bureaucracy). Presidential Functions. 4. Rule interpretation through nominating federal judges and top regulatory officials

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Presidential Functions

  • Interest representation

  • Rule initiation

  • Rule application

    (chief executive officer

    of the federal bureaucracy)

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Presidential Functions

4. Rule interpretation through nominating federal judges and top regulatory officials

5. Resolves conflicts

  • Generates support for the party and political system

  • Creates legitimacy ex. Bill signing

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History of the Office

No top executive under the Articles of Confederation

Not all of the constitutional framers wanted a presidential office

The Federalist 69 addresses these arguments

Article 2 of the US Constitution

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The Constitution and the Presidency

Implied powers – argument that the constitutional framers gave the president certain implied powers in order to do what is necessary to preserve national security

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Article 2’s expressed powers

  • Commander in chief of the armed forces

  • The president has the powers to make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate

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Constitution’s Expressed Powers

3. The president can nomination and with the advice and consent of the Senate appoint ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls.

4. The president is authorized to receive ambassadors and public leaders.

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Constitution’s Expressed Powers

More generally….

  • Has the power to grant pardons

  • Can nominate and appoint judges and other officials

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Constitution’s Expressed Powers

7. Must provide a state of the union address to congress and can offer legislation at other times

8. Veto subject to congressional override

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Job Description

Chief of State

Chief Executive

Chief Diplomat


Chief legislator

Manager of Prosperity

Chief of party

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Informal Sources of Power

Public Support




Bully Pulpit—term coined by Theodore Roosevelt—refers to effective communication

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Formal Sources of Power

These were the sources mentioned earlier.

They come from:

  • The Constitution

  • Special legislation

  • Court Decisions

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Formal Sources of Power

  • VETO

  • President has 10 working days to sign a veto

  • If he/she uses the veto, the bill goes back to the originating house with an explanation for the veto

  • Congress can override with 2/3 vote

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Formal Sources of Power

Pocket veto—by taking no action, the president can let the bill die

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Potential Avenues to Actual Power

  • Bargaining ability

  • Enemies lists

    example: Richard Nixon

    3. Powers are not self-executing so must make effort

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Limits on Power

  • President appoints but requires Senate approval

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Limits on Power

Treaties require Senate approval

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Limits on Power

President can recommend legislation but Congress must pass

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Limits on Power

President can veto but Congress can override

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Limits on Power

Supreme Court can overrule

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Limits on Power

The 22nd amendment limits the President to two terms—additional check and balance

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Limits on Power

  • President can be impeached –

    (requires majority of votes in the House)

  • President can be convicted and removed

    (2/3 vote Senate)

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Informal Limits on Influence/Power

  • Public Opinion

  • Events

  • Isolation from others

  • Groupthink

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Structure of the Presidency

  • Presidential establishment—President is surrounded by advisors and aides

  • Swelling of the presidency

  • Inner Sanctum—no checks and balances

  • Role of the machinery

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Structure of the Presidency

Inner Circle

  • Closest friends and advisors

  • Can include first lady

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Structure of the Presidency

White House Staff

  • Personal Aides

  • Chosen for loyalty and support

  • Often have worked for President before

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Structure of the Presidency

Office of Management & Budget (OMB)

  • President appoints top officials

  • Rank and file are normally career staffers

  • Prepares President’s annual budget

  • Funnel legislative advice

  • Prepares congressional testimony

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Structure of the Presidency

Economic Advisors

  • National Economic Council (NEC)

    • Established by President Clinton

    • Condoleeza Rice

    • Deficit Analysis

    • Tax Advice

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Structure of the Presidency

National Security Council (NSC)

  • Includes President, V.P., Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and more

  • Created 1947

  • Utilization depends on times and President

  • Influences foreign relations

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Structure of the Presidency

Domestic Council

  • Established by Nixon

  • Is to domestic policy what NSC is to foreign policy

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Structure of the Presidency

Vice President

  • Role depends on the President

  • Serves as President of Senate

  • Next in succession for Presidency

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Structure of the Presidency

The Cabinet

  • Constitution does not provide for a cabinet but each President has had one.

  • President, V.P. the heads of all the agencies/departments

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The Cabinet (cont)

  • Carter and Reagan utilized for decisions

  • Whole is less than the sum of the parts

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Structure of the Presidency

Miscellaneous agencies and special

Presidential Commissions

  • Outer circles of structure

  • Councils can influence public opinion

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Presidential Structure varies

from President to President

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Presidential Power in Foreign Affairs

Role of President is strong b/c can respond quickly

Public support

Complexities of international relations

Commander-in-chief role

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Congress declares war

Congress ratifies treaties and appts.

Congress raises and supports armies, provides and maintains the navy and appropriates money.

Congress relugates the armed forces and provides for calling forth the militia

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The War Powers Act

November 7, 1973

Nixon vetoed and congress overrode

Law spells out the conditions under which a president can deploy troops and commit them to hostilities (status reports, consultation, etc)

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Domestic Affairs

President’s constitutional powers less imposing

Popular support may vary

Conflicting demands from constituencies