The POTUS (Pres. of the US) • 7 roles: Cmdr. In chief, Chief Executive, Chief Agenda setter, Rep. of the Nation, Chief of State, Foreign Policy Leader, Party Leader • Written qualifications: 35 yrs. old, natural born citizen, resident for 14 yrs. • Unwritten qualifications: usually white, male, Christian (Protestant), European descent, married, government and/or military experience, charismatic, well-educated (usually lawyers), able to raise $, moderate political views, no serious personal problems (“skeletons” in the closet)
Party Chief Chief Diplomat Chief Legislator Chief of State Chief Executive
Succession • Washington set precedent of two 4 yr terms • FDR broke the precedent—Congress passed 22nd amendment (limit: 2 terms, max. 10 yrs) • 25th amendment: if VP becomes Pres., he can nominate replacement VP. 1973: Nixon resigned, VP Ford became Pres. Rockefeller became VP. Only time in history.) • Order: VP, Speaker, Pres pro tem, Sec. of State, Treas., Defense, Atty. Gen., etc.
Salary & Benefits • $400,000/yr. +$50,000 expenses +$100,000 for travel +$19,000 for entertainment • White House, Camp David, Blair House • Cadillac One, Air Force One, Marine One • Secret Service protection • Retirement: $191,000/yr, Secret Service protection for ten yrs (after Bill Clinton—he & those before him get lifetime protection), travel funds/stamps/shipping
Powers of the POTUS • Constitutional powers: commander of armed forces, appoints justices & ambassadors, makes treaties, pardon/reduce sentences/fines, State of the Union address, propose legislation, propose a budget, enforces laws, signs legislation, can call Congress into special sessions • Inherent powers: powers that benefit the nation as long as they aren’t prohibited by the Constitution (Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, Lincoln, FDR, Bush, Johnson: all expanded POTUS’ powers)
Limits on the POTUS • Override of veto • Amending the Constitution • War Powers Act (1973) during Vietnam War • Supreme Court (Marbury v. Madison, 1803) • Bureaucratic limits: lack of information, lack of cooperation, etc. • Public opinion: limits President (opinion polls: Gallup Poll: current weekly approval rating for Obama, as of Dec. 1, 2013: 42%)
*Vetoes & Override Records* • Most presidential vetoes: Franklin D. Roosevelt (635) • Fewest presidential vetoes: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, James A. Garfield (0) • Most vetoes in a single complete term: Grover Cleveland, (414) • Most vetoes in two complete terms: Grover Cleveland (584) • Fewest vetoes in a single complete term: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe , John Quincy Adams, George W. Bush (1st Term) (0) • Fewest vetoes in two complete terms: Thomas Jefferson (0) • Most vetoes in a single congressional session: Grover Cleveland, 50th United States Congress (212) • Most veto overrides by congress: Andrew Johnson (15)
Political Parties • Republicans/Democrats (originally Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, Whigs) • 3rd parties:single-issue (Tea Party), ideological (Libertarians), splinter (Bull Moose). Hard to get on ballot: need more names, single member districts (almost always won by D/R) • Organization: local, state & national levels. Precinct, precinct captain, county chair, state committee & chair, national convention/ committee/chair. • Functions: recruit, educate, operate govt., reward loyal members, “watchdog” role, peaceful transfer of power
Nomination/Election Process • Caucuses: starts locally to choose candidates • Primaries: vote for candidates (2 types: closed [only party members] & open [all can vote, but only for one party]) • Nominating conventions: choose representatives to go to the conventions—choose Pres. & VP to run on the ticket • Platform: party positions (made up of planks)
Campaign Funding/Spending • Needs lots of $$$: to pay staff, buy advertising (radio, print, TV, etc.), pay for travel expenses • Federal Election Campaign Act (1974): requires disclosure of campaign spending, limits individual & corporate contributions • Presidential Campaign Fund • Private funding: PACs (political action committees)—advertise for the candidate • Soft-money: give $ to party instead of candidate
Media/Advertising/Polling • Interest groups sponsor polls • Media plays a huge role in shaping opinion: what they show you (and what they don’t): letters to editor, talk shows, etc. • Emails, faxes, websites, phone calls, letters • Straw polls (ask questions): can be biased—sample size? Random sample? Sampling error? Cluster sampling? • Family, school, peers, ethnicity, income level, age, region, gender, leaders influence your opinions (socialization)
The right to vote • Suffrage: the right to vote—originally only for wealthy, white males • 15th amendment: race can’t be used to keep you from voting • 19th amendment: female suffrage • 1965 & 1970: Voting Rights Act outlawed literacy tests • 24th amendment: outlawed poll taxes • 26th amendment: 18 yr olds vote • Must register to vote. Assigned a precinct, vote at a polling place. Use secret ballots.
Electoral College • Original system: states chose electors & they voted. Majority winner was Pres., 2nd was VP • 1800: 12th amendment passed—separate ballots for Pres. & VP. House chooses if no majority winner (1800 & 1824) • Political parties choose nominees at conventions summer before election. • Votes are actually tallied for 538 electors (100 Senators + 435 reps. +3 reps from DC)—need 270 to win
Electoral College, con’t. • Electors vote in Dec./Winner declared in Jan. • US Reps.+ US Senators= # of electors. [Ga: 15] • 3 major weaknesses: • Winner-take-all (except for Maine & Nebraska): win majority of votes in a state, get all the electoral votes (give appearance of a big win when it could be closer). Can win popular vote & still lose! (4 times: JQ Adams, Hayes, Harrison, GW Bush)
Two other weaknesses: • 3rd party candidate: can win votes & then bargain to give them to another candidate • If the House chooses, small states get less influence, must agree to keep vote & third party candidates can stop the process. • 3 Suggested reforms: vote by congressional district, win % of electoral votes won in pop. vote, straight pop. vote (but candidates would only campaign in high pop. states)
Impeachment • Process: majority of House of Reps. bring charges. Senate holds trial; 2/3rds must vote to convict. • Andrew Johnson: 1868: acquitted by 1 vote • Richard Nixon: 1974: resigned before he was impeached—pardoned by Ford. • Bill Clinton: 1998: impeached for perjury & obstruction of justice. Acquitted. • “Treason, bribery other high crimes & misdemeanors:” deliberately left vague
The Cabinet • Secretaries of the 15 executive departments + Vice-President • Function: advise the President, but don’t always get asked (or get along) • Inner cabinet: State, Defense & Treasury • Leaks a problem—conflicting loyalties • Executive Office: Office of Management & Budget, National Security Council, Council of Economic Advisers, Homeland Security • White House Staff: press secretary, press staff, aides, etc.
Federal Bureaucracy • Independent regulatory agencies: NASA, CIA, Archives, Amtrak, EPA, NEA, NLRB, OSHA, Peace Corps, Selective Service • Government corporations: TVA, FDIC, USPS—run like businesses • Regulatory commissions: make rules for businesses: CPSC, EEOC, FCC, FedReserve, Nuclear Regulatory Comm., SEC, SSA, SBA • Executive departments: Agr., Commerce, Defense, Educ., Energy, Health/Human Services, Homeland Security, HUD, Justice, Labor, State, Interior, Treasury, Transportation, Veterans’ Affairs
Interest Groups • Support candidates & try to influence govt—bridge gap between citizens & govt. • Can be very powerful: business or labor related (AFL-CIO, UAW, Teamsters, Farmers) • Professional organizations: ABA, AMA, NEA • Environmental: Sierra Club, WWF • Public Interest: Common Cause, Consumers’ Union • In government: Governors’ Assoc., League of Cities • Others: NRA, NOW, Right to Life, Planned Parenthood
Lobbying • Function: hired to make direct contact with legislators—to influence legislation. Usually former legislators. Provide information & help draft bills (their way, of course). • Advertise, get members to write, give $$$ • Laws/rules: PACs can give $5000 directly to a candidate—no limit on total amt. spent on a candidate (advertising, for example) • Examples: oil companies, realtors, cattlemen, abortion rights, right to life, etc.
Foreign Policy • Goals: security, free trade, peace, democracy, humanitarian aid • Diplomacy: Pres. appoints ambassadors & Sec. of State to negotiate with other countries (NSC & CIA) • Economic, military, humanitarian aid: most-favored nation status, mutual defense alliances, regional security pacts (NATO) • Treaties: Pres. negotiates, Senate approves • Executive agreements: pacts with other governments • Sanctions: withholding loans, weapons, or money—restricting trade (embargo on Cuba) • Military intervention: Iraq Gulf War, Vietnam, Haiti, Korea, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan