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GINSBERG: Chapter 10 - The Presidency

Key Concepts:
His powers are rooted in the Constitution
Contemporary ones exercise power that exceed what the Constitution provides them
Served by numerous offices and departments
Relies on a variety of political resources (media, political parties, etc.) to a
ccomplish his tasks
I. Presidential Power is Rooted in The Constitution
A. Article II of the Constitution contains:
1. “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the Un
ited States of America”
2. How the president is to be chosen
a. direct popular election - more independent and more p
owerful presidency
b. indirect election through an electoral college - electors wou
ld be selected by the state legislatures; “republican solution
” (strong president responsible to state and national legis
lators rather than directly to the electorate
c. presidential power increased with a more relationship to a ma
ss electorate
3. The basic powers of the presidency
a. make treaties, grant pardons, nominate judges
b. expressed powers - specifically defined powers grante
d to the president in Constitution; cannot be revoked
by the Congress without an amendment
c. receive ambassadors and command military forces
4. President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully execut
a. delegated powers - powers given to the president by C
ongress; constitutional powers that are assigned
to one government agency but that are exercised
by another agency
b. the Congress delegates the president only the power t
o develop the means through which to carry out its d
5. “the rights, duties, and obligations of the presidency”
a. inherent powers - not expressed in the Constitution,
but are inferred from it
b. asserted by presidents in times of war or national em
c. President Lincoln issued a series of executive orders
during the Civil War
B. Expressed Powers Come Directly from the Words of the Constitution
1. Military (Article II, Section 2)
a. commander in chief - the power of the president as co
mmander of the national military and the state n
ational guard units; highest military authority
b. 19th century - Congress normally directed the preside
nt’s military actions and decisions; 20th century
- presidents engaged the country in many military
actions and decisions
c. Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars were foug
ht without declarations of war
d. War Powers Resolution - law passed by Congress in 197
3 in response to presidential unilateralism; stat
es that the president can send troops into action a
broad only by authorization of Congress; ignored by presidents
e. “War on Terrorism” - authorized by Congress
f. October 2002 - Congress passes “Use of Force” resolut
ion - allowed the president to use American milita
ry force “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate”
g. the president directs the secretary of defense, the n
ation’s intelligence network (CIA, NSC, NSA, FBI)
2. Military Sources of Domestic Power
a. president is not obligated to deploy national troops
merely because the state legislature or governor
makes such a request
b. president may deploy troops in a state or city withou
t a specific request from the state legislature or
c. President Dwight Eisenhower - sent troops into Little
Rock, Arkansas against the wishes of the state
of Arkansas
d. the president does not have to wait for a request by
a state legislature or governor before acting as a dome
stic commander in chief
e. October 2001 - Congress enacted the USA Patriot Act w
hich expanded the power of government agencies to
engage in domestic surveillance activiti
f. 2002 - Congress created the Department of Homeland Se
3. Judicial (Article II, Section 2)
a. grant reprieves, pardons, and amnesties
b. examples: Andrew Johnson , 1968 - participators of
the “Late Rebellion”
President Carter, 1977 - draft evaders o
f the Vietnam War
c. this power of life and death over others helped eleva
te the president to the level of earlier conquerors an
d kings
4. Diplomatic (Article II, Section 2)
a. president is America’s “head of state” - chief repres
entative in dealings with other nations
b. power to make treaties for the United States (advice
and consent of the Senate)
c. power of almost unconditional authority to review the
claims of new ruling groups to determine if they inde
ed control the territory of their country
d. executive agreement - like a treaty; a contract betwe
en two countries that has the force of a treaty bu
t does not require the Senate’s advice and consent
5. Executive (Article II, Section 3)
a. must see all the laws are faithfully executed
b. will appoint, remove, watch all executive officers, a
nd appoint all federal judges
c. subject to some limitations, appointment of officials
is subject to a minority approval by the Senate
6. Legislative (Article II, Section 3; Article I, Section 7)
a. the president “shall from time to time give to the Co
ngress Information of the State of the Union, and
recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he sh
all judge necessary and expedient
b. “State of the Union” address - make recommendations f
or Congress’s consideration
c. veto power - constitutional power to prevent a bill f
rom becoming a law; a veto can only be overruled if
both the House and Senate override it by a two-
thirds vote
d. pocket veto - Congress does not even have the option
of overriding the veto; automatically triggered
if the president does not act on a given piece of
legislation passed during the final ten days of a legislative session
e. legislative initiative - president’s implied power to bring a legislative age
nda before Congress
f. executive orders - a rule or regulation issued by the
president that has the effect and formal status of leg
islation; most executive orders provide for the
reorganization of structures and procedures of the executive branch
C. Delegated Powers Come from Congress
1. Inescapable consequence of the expansion of government activi
ty in the United States since the New Deal
2. Congress must turn to the hundreds of departments and agencie
s in the executive branch to implement its goals
II. Institutional Resources of Presidential Power are Numerous
A. Political Appointments are an Important Tool of Management
1. Patronage - resources available to higher officials
a. making partisan appointments to offices, and conferri
ng grants, licenses, or special favors to suppor
B. The White House Staff Constitutes the President’s Eyes and Ears
1. White House Staff - composed mainly of analysts and advisers;
tend to be more closely associated with the president
2. Kitchen Cabinet - advisors to whom the president turns for co
unsel and guidance
C. The Executive Office of the President is a Visible Sign of the Modern
Strong Presidency
1. Executive Office of the President (EOP)
a. the permanent agencies that perform denied management
tasks for the president
b. created in 1939
c. includes the Office of Management and Budget, the Cou
ncil of Economic Advisers, the National Security
Council, and other agencies
d. also called the “institutional presidency”
e. most important and the largest EOP is the Office of M
anagement and Budget (OMB) - prepares the national bu
dget, designs the president’s program, reporting on age
ncy activities, and overseeing regulatory proposals
D. The Cabinet is Often Distant from the President
1. Cabinet
a. the traditional but informal designation for the head
s (secretaries or chief administrators) of all t
he major federal government departments
b. appointed by the president with the consent of the Se
c. no constitutional status
d. members are not responsible to the Senate or to Congr
ess at large
e. president tends to be more impatient, distrustful, an
d demanding with its members
E. The Vice Presidency Has Become More Important since the 1970s
1. Exists for two purposes only
a. to succeed the president in case of death, resignatio
n, or incapacitation
b. preside over the Senate, casting a tie-breaking vote
when necessary
2. As a political resource, the vice president’s value is electo
F. The First Spouse Has Become Important to Policy
1. The Roles of First Ladies
a. greet foreign dignitaries, visit other countries, att
end important national ceremonies, act as Ameri
ca’s “queen”
b. not subject to the same degree of media scrutiny or p
artisan attack, but this has changed in recent times;
Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosalynn Carter, and Lady Bird wer
e some very popular first ladies
III. The President Has Numerous Political Resources
A. Elections Provide a Resource Boost
1. A decisive presidential election translates into a more effec
tive presidency
2. Mandate - a claim by a victorious candidate that the electora
te has given him or her special authority to carry out p
romises made during the program; claimed to have been giv
en to a president by a landslide election
3. Landslide elections - 1964 (President Johnson) and 1980 (Pres
ident Reagan)
B. Party is a Key Presidential Resource
1. Presidential “batting average” - percentage of winning roll-c
all votes in Congress on bills publicly supported by the
president (view pg. 325 of book for chart)
a. relatively low during Republican presidents like Nixo
n, Ford, Reagan, and for Democrat Clinton after 1
2. Limitations as a Resource
a. the more unified the president’s party is behind legi
slative requests from the White House, the more un
ified the opposition party is also likely to be
b. the president often poses as being above partisanship
in order to win “bipartisan” support in
C. Groups are a Little Recognized Presidential Resource
1. New Deal coalition - composed of northern urban liberals, sou
thern white conservatives, organized labor and blacks that dominate
d national politics
a. interest groups included: organized labor, agricultur
e, financial community
b. the groups were permitted to write their own legislat
ion, but had to fully support Roosevelt against opposi
ng politicians
2. Republican group coalitions - Republican supporters were some
of the most important segments of organized business
D. Successful Presidents are Media-Savvy
1. Presidents of 20th century - sought more direct relationship
with public; used the media
2. Used the media to mobilize popular support for their programs
and to attempt to force Congress to follow their lead
3. Newspapers and television networks habitually look to the Whi
te House as the chief s source of news about public policy
4. “bully pulpit” - term referred to when talking about the pres
idency of Theodore Roosevelt; its visibility allowe
d him to preach to the nation and bring popular pressure
to bear against his opponents in Congress
5. “fireside chats” - radio broadcasts used by FDR in the 1930s;
press conferences, speeches, and movie newsreels to rally s
upport for his New Deal programs
E. Public Opinion Shapes Presidential Power
1. 1963 - President Kennedy signed a nuclear test ban treaty wit
h the Soviet Union, “in accordance” to the national inte
rest of America
2. George H. W. Bush - 1990-91 Persian Gulf crisis
3. George Bush - popularity boost during 2001 terrorist attacks
F. Mass Popularity is Both a Resource and a Liability
1. “permanent campaign” - a description of presidential politics
in which all presidential actions are taken with re-electi
ons in mind (President Clinton’s high public profile is an ex
2. “rallying affect” - the public generally reacts favorably to
presidential actions in foregin policy during internatio
nal crises