Informal resources and constraints
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Informal Resources and Constraints. Freewrite. What formal resources (Congress, Courts, parties, bureaucracy, staff, media, public opinion) give a president the greatest advantage? What institution provides the greatest constraints on presidential power?

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Freewrite

What formal resources (Congress, Courts, parties, bureaucracy, staff, media, public opinion) give a president the greatest advantage? What institution provides the greatest constraints on presidential power?

What are some informal (non-institutional) resources that may help a president? What are some informal constraints on presidential power?


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Informal resources & constraints

  • Skills:

    • Persuasion

    • Hidden hand leadership

  • Personality

  • Ambition

  • Changes in the dominant political rhetoric


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Richard Neustadt

  • The constitutional presidency is a clerkship

  • Presidential power is the power to persuade

  • The power to persuade is the power to bargain


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Three Cases of Command

  • Truman firing General MacArthur

  • Truman seizing the steel mills

  • Eisenhower ordering troops to Little Rock


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In order to command, you need:

  • 1.    President’s involvement unambiguous

  • 2.    President’s words unambiguous

  • 3.    President’s order widely publicized

  • 4.    People who received order had everything they needed to carry it out

  • 5. President’s authority to issue the order not in doubt


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Why persuasion is necessary

“When one man shares authority with another, but does not gain or lose his job upon the other’s whim, his willingness to act upon the urging of the other turns on whether he conceives the action to be right for him. The essence of a President’s persuasive task is to convince such men that what the White House wants of them is what they ought to do for their sake and on their authority.”

--Neustadt, Presidential Power, P. 30


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Two resources

  • Professional reputation

  • Public prestige



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6 strategies

  • Hidden hand leadership

  • Instrumental Use of Language

  • Do not engage in personalities

  • Base action on personality analysis

  • Delegation Selectively practiced

  • Build public support