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Chapter 6 The Presidency. The Presidency. The Presidency. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive. Topic Overview Separation of powers and checks and balances system support weak and divided government.

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Chapter 6 The Presidency


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    1. Chapter 6The Presidency

    2. The Presidency

    3. The Presidency

    4. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Topic Overview Separation of powers and checks and balances system support weak and divided government. The emphasis being on how to prevent the exercise of arbitrary political power rather than how to ensure effective leadership.

    5. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Reading Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 70

    6. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Federalist 70 Alexander Hamilton’s views in Federalist 70 can be read as presenting a sharp contrast to the Madisonian model, for Hamilton supports energetic government and a unified executive. To Hamilton, a strong executive is the very definition of good government. The Hamiltonian model casts government in positive terms, whereas the Madisonian model views governmental power negatively.

    7. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Federalist 70 Hamilton states that all men of sense will agree in the necessity of an energetic executive and that the ingredients that constitute energy in the executive are unity, duration, an adequate provision for its support, and competent powers. Hamilton explains the importance of providing the president with powers independent of Congress and a separate term of office and explains the importance of unity in the executive.

    8. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Federalist 70 Hamilton states that the ingredients that constitute safety in the executive in the republican sense are (1) a due dependence on the people and (2) a due responsibility. The constitutional system brings this about in reference to the presidency because the Electoral College system almost immediately was used to provide for the popular rather than indirect election of the president.

    9. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Federalist 70 A due responsibility is produced, according to Hamilton, by a single executive more readily than by a plural executive. But one of the weightiest objections to a plurality in the executive is that it tends to conceal faults and destroy responsibility. It becomes impossible to determine on whom the blame or punishment of a measure ought to fall. It is shifted from one to another that the public opinion is left in suspense about the real author.

    10. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Significance In Federalist 70, Alexander Hamilton argued that the office of the president should be unified. In Federalist 70, Alexander Hamilton stated that energy in the executive is the definition of good government. Federalist 70 suggests a Hamiltonian view of government that backs strong executive power.

    11. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Reading Mark J. Rozell, George Washington and the Origins of the American Presidency

    12. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Theme Rozell writes that Washington’s burdens were unique in that only he had the responsibility to establish the office in practice. Mark J. Rozell states that perhaps Washington’s greatest legacy to the presidency was his substantial success in establishing the office for the future.

    13. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Washington took care to exercise his powers properly. He deferred to Congress where appropriate, but he was not at all reluctant to protect the powers of his office. He took some of his constitutionally based powers quite literally, as when he went to the Senate in person to seek the “advice and consent” of its members on a proposed treaty.

    14. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Washington took care to exercise his powers properly. He learned from this experience that perhaps the Constitution need not be interpreted so precisely, as he found the meeting with the senators a counterproductive one at which he became visibly angry and reportedly left the room, saying that he would be “damned” if he ever returned. Washington never repeated the experience of personally visiting the Senate to seek advice or consent prior to making such a decision.

    15. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Washington took care to exercise his powers properly. No president since has gone to the Senate chamber to seek either advice or consent on a treaty or an appointment. In this action, Washington helped establish the independent power of the president to act in foreign affairs before seeking the legislative input.

    16. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive On a host of matters Washington “filled in the blanks” of Article II. He established the presidential power to remove executive branch officials, a position that some attacked as an intrusion on the legislative authority. Washington’s action also helped to establish in practice the principle of an independent executive branch of the government.

    17. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive On a host of matters Washington “filled in the blanks” of Article II. Similarly, Washington established in practice the independent power of the president to act in foreign policy when he issued the controversial Neutrality Proclamation. Many presidents since have claimed that the executive holds the upper hand in the making of foreign policy, and the courts generally have sided with presidents in such disputes.

    18. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Washington established a British-style system of cabinet government. Washington appointed secretaries (with Senate approval) leading the departments of State, War, and Treasury. The Senate gave wide deference to the president to have the cabinet secretaries of his own choosing, which established another long-standing precedent.

    19. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Washington established a British-style system of cabinet government. Senatorial courtesy originated with Washington when he appointed an officer to command a Georgian naval port, and when the state’s two senators protested, Washington deferred to the senators and withdrew the appointment. He established the precedent that for federal appointments within a state the president must consult the state’s senators (today it is the senior senator of president’s own party within the state).

    20. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Perhaps Washington’s best-known precedent was the two-term limit. An informal practice broken only once in our history but then later foolishly amended into the Constitution. Washington surely could have served a third term.

    21. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Perhaps Washington’s best-known precedent was the two-term limit. The Constitutional Convention delegates had ultimately favored indefinite re-eligibility for the president, in part because of the widespread expectation that Washington would hold the office. In this case the well-being of the young Republic and Washington’s personal wishes converged. It is not clear that Washington actually acted this way in order to establish a good precedent.

    22. Constitutional Background: Single versus Plural Executive Washington was the first “Court-packer.” In the good sense of carefully submitting nominees to the Senate who had the highest qualifications to sustain the independence and credibility of the Supreme Court Washington was concerned first and foremost with creating a strong, independent judicial branch staffed by qualified individuals who revered the Constitution and had a deep commitment to public service.

    23. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Topic Overview In the next selection, Clinton Rossiter, one of the leading American scholars of the presidency and a student of Edward S. Corwin, gives his view of the role of the office. Although Rossiter wrote for a post–World War II generation, his analysis is as relevant in the twenty-first century as it was in the twentieth.

    24. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Reading Clinton Rossiter, The Presidency - Focus of Leadership

    25. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Theme Rossiter’s (1956) view of the presidency supports the imperial presidency. Rossiter states that the presidency has been a clear beacon of national purpose at great moments in our history. The Rossiter viewpoint is once again the prevailing one as the Obama presidency mobilizes to deal with the economic crisis and the continuing terrorist threat from abroad.

    26. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Rossiter claims that the president is to be leader of the executive branch. On the basis of constitutional provisions that provide that he is to see that the laws are faithfully executed and that he is to have powers of appointment and removal of executive officials

    27. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Authority of the president as commander in chief of the armed forces has been expanded since the framing of the Constitution. Rossiter states that it started with the rise of the imperial presidency, from which the unilateral power to engage American forces has accrued to the presidency.

    28. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes The president as party leader The president is actually the leader only of the presidential wing of his party. Given the lack of disciplined parties in the United States, and now the disintegration of parties, the role of the president as leader of his party does not necessarily give him much power. Congress is often of the opposite party.

    29. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes President as a leader of the free nations This is a Cold War phenomenon, but the president as the national leader and symbol of the nation continues to be the point person for democratic aspirations around the world.

    30. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Significance Rossiter argues that the presidency has assumed a wide range of responsibilities and views it as the focal point of national government. Rossiter views the president’s duties as extending beyond executive functions and writes that the president’s constitutional responsibilities are to be commander in chief. Rossiter states that it should be taken for granted that all people of sense will agree in the necessity of an energetic executive.

    31. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Reading Richard E. Neustadt, Presidential Power

    32. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Theme Neustadt states that a powerful presidency can only be produced by a highly skilled politician in the White House. The essential power of the presidency is the power to persuade, not to rule by prerogative. Neustadt views the president as a clerk, and his five categories of presidential constituents are executive officialdom, Congress, his political partisans, citizens at large, and foreign nations.

    33. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Why other parts of the government accept the authority of the president They have found it practically impossible to do their jobs without assurance of initiatives from him. Service for themselves has brought them to accept the leadership/authority of the president. They find his actions useful in their business and depend on an active White House. A president is an invaluable clerk, and his services are in demand all over Washington.

    34. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Difficulties the president finds in attempting to influence other parts of the government An important limitation on the president arises from the different constituencies of other parts of the government. His cabinet officers have departmental duties and constituents. His legislative leaders head congressional parties, one in either house. The constituencies of administrative agencies

    35. The Nature of the Presidency: Power, Persuasion, and Paradoxes Significance Richard Neustadt states that the Constitution made the president a clerk. Richard Neustadt argues that presidential power is the ability to persuade. A modern president, states Neustadt, is bound to face demands from the bureaucracy, Congress, and the public. Neustadt states that symbolically, presidents are leaders.

    36. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Topic Overview The preceding selections in this chapter have focused on the institutional aspects of the presidency and the constitutional and political responsibilities of the office. Richard Neustadt does focus on certain personal dimensions of the power equation, the ability to persuade, but he does not deal with presidential character outside the power context.

    37. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Topic Overview The following selection is taken from one of the most important and innovative of the recent books dealing with the presidency, in which the author, James David Barber, presents the thesis that it is the total characterof the person who occupies the White House that is the determinant of presidential performance.

    38. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Reading James David Barber, The Presidential Character

    39. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Theme The character of the president shapes the approach taken by the White House, including the presidential bureaucracy, to the performance of presidential responsibilities. James Barber in The Presidential Character states that Johnson created an atmosphere of fear and paranoia in the White House, fear at defying the president and paranoia about attacks upon Vietnam policy from the outside.

    40. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Argument Barber states his premises regarding the importance of presidential character upon performance. First, a president’s personality is an important shaper of his presidential behavior on nontrivial matters. Second, presidential personality is patterned. His character, worldview, and style fit together in a dynamic package, understandable in psychological terms.

    41. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Argument Third, a president’s personality interacts with the power situation he faces in the national climate of expectations dominant at the time he serves. The tuning, the resonance, or lack of it, between these external factors and his personality sets in motion the dynamics of his presidency. Fourth, the best way to predict a president’s character, worldview, and style is to see how they were put together in the first place.

    42. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Argument Barber outlines his now-famous typology of presidential character: active-positive; active-negative; passive-positive; passive-negative. Active-positive character fulfills the requirements for good performance in the White House. Active-positive president is oriented toward achievement, is productive, has well-defined goals, and is both rational and flexible in approach.

    43. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Argument Active-positive president has a strong sense of self-confidence, making it possible for him to accept criticism and change his mind when he finds that a course of action upon which he has embarked should be changed.

    44. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Barber feels that the presidency is much more than an institution. Barber writes that the presidency, in addition to being an institution, is a focus of feelings. In general, popular feelings about politics are low-key, shallow, casual. For example, the vast majority of Americans know virtually nothing of what Congress is doing and care less. The presidency is different.

    45. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Barber feels that the presidency is much more than an institution. The presidency is the focus for the most intense and persistent emotions in the American polity. The president is a symbolic leader, the one figure who draws together the people’s hopes and fears for the political future, and on top of all his routine duties, he has to carry that off or fail. The president is a kind of father figure, an emotional focal point in the polity for most citizens.

    46. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style The president’s style Style is the president’s habitual way of performing his three political roles: rhetoric, personal relations, and homework.

    47. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Barber defines the worldview of the president. A president’s worldview consists of his primary, politically relevant beliefs, particularly his conceptions of social causality, human nature, and the central moral conflicts of the time.

    48. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Four character types that Barber develops Active-positive presidents bring energy and enjoyment of the job. Active-negative presidents are energetic, serve out of a sense of duty, get no emotional rewards from the job like active-positive presidents. Passive-positive presidents have low energy but a positive attitude. Passive-negative presidents have little energy, no enjoyment in their job, and they serve out of a sense of duty.

    49. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Four character types that Barber develops Active-positive presidents include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy. Active-negative presidents are Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as Herbert Hoover and Woodrow Wilson. Passive-positive presidents are Warren G. Harding and William Howard Taft. The passive-negative presidents include Dwight D. Eisenhower and Calvin Coolidge.

    50. Presidential Politics: Presidential Character and Style Significance James David Barber concludes that the most desirable type of presidential character is active-positive. Active-negative presidents aim to get and keep power. James David Barber concludes that the presidency is primarily shaped by the character of the occupant of the Oval Office.