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The Presidency

The Executive Function


Each branch has a primary function
and virtue
Executive Function - Executing the Law
(power of the sword)
Executive Virtue - Energetic Action
Institutional Design to Match Function

What makes them powerful?


Decision, Activity, Secrecy & Dispatch
Accountability

Why do you need a President?


Rule of a Single Man
Need a Strong
Individual who can give
us direction.
Problems of Law
Complexity
Not Self-Executing
Cannot possibly foresee
every event
Prerogative Power

Lessons Learned from the Articles


Lessons learned from the Articles of
Confederation
Executive power restrained initially.
Legislative power became predominant
leading to legislative tyranny.

This showed a need for an independent,


national executive
All situations cannot be foreseen need
someone to lead.

Creating the Presidency

American Founders sought to remedy


problems of Articles.
How did they make it energetic?
Vested in a single person
Congress does not select
Four Year Term
Substantial Constitutional Powers
How did they make it accountable?
Each branch is supreme within
sphere
Checked by other branches often

Vesting clause
The executive Power shall
be vested in a President of
the United States of
America. (Article II, Section
1)
How does this differ from
Congress vesting clause?

Constitutional Powers and Duties


The Constitution empowers a president to do certain things

Commander-in-Chief
Opinions in Writing
Pardon
Treaties
Appointment
Veto
Constitution provides powers that cannot be taken away by
Congress.

Constitutional Powers and Duties


The Constitution places duties on a president that they must
do.

State of the Union


Receive Ambassadors
Take Care that the Laws be Faithfully Executed
Commission Officers of U.S.
The President is the only federal officer required to take an
oath of office.

Informal Sources of Presidential Power


Presidential Popularity
More popular better suited to
get people to listen to you
Less popular, you are a liability
to your party
Rhetorical Ability
Presidents who can speak
better are more successful
Scandals and Public Perception
Public perceptions determine
how you use your legal powers

Roles of the Presidency


Formal Roles
Commander-in-Chief
Top Diplomat
Policy Initiator
Head of Bureaucracy
Chief Law Enforcement
Officer
Informal Roles
Head of State
Chief of Party
Economist-in-Chief

Characteristics of the Office


Natural-born American citizen
At least 35 years of age
A resident of the United States
for at least 14 years
_____________________________
Term of 4 years
May only serve for 10 years total
VP takes over last two years of
predecessors term
National Constituency

Considerations about Term Limits


Importance of re-eligibility
President may not try to acquire
public good

Incentivize staying within the


boundaries of the law
Experience/Wisdom important for
leaders

Changed with the 22nd Amendment


(1951)

The Early Presidency

We had a limited constitutional role of


the President originally
Sentiments of the Washington very different
than modern presidents
National government originally very small.

The Early Presidency


First presidents were
very cautious
EX: Thomas Jefferson

Post-New Deal Change

Washington: The precedent setter


Office designed with Washington in
mind
Six Precedents:
1.Circumventing Congressional
power grabs
2.Establishment of a Cabinet
3.Removal Power of officials in
executive branch:

Washington: The precedent setter


Six Precedents:
4. Exercise of Take Care Clause
(Whiskey Rebellion).
5. Chief foreign policy actor:
6. Two-term presidency

Andrew Jackson & The Constitutional


Presidency
Appealed over the heads of
Congress directly to the
people
Creation of a mandate
First use of veto for policy
disagreement on the
National Bank

Lincoln & The Constitutional Presidency


Lincoln remembered for his leadership
and for his forceful use of executive
authority in order to preserve the
Union.
Lincoln extended the use of
presidential prerogative (exercised the
full extent of his office) due to the civil
war.

Theodore Roosevelt: The beginning of the


rhetorical presidency?
TR cultivated public opinion
through use of the bully
pulpit
Founders concerned about
demagoguery

Stewardship theory of the


presidency

Woodrow Wilson & The Modern


Presidency
President should rely on
shaping public opinion
Use of rhetoric relevant
President representative of
national opinion
President should be legislative
leader

A Wilsonian Understanding of the


Constitution
The Constitution was founded on the law of gravitation. The
government was to exist and move by virtue of the efficacy of
checks and balances. The trouble with the theory is that
government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not
under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of
organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is
modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to
its functions by the sheer pressure of life.
No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as
checks, and live.

A Wilsonian Understanding of the


Constitution
Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in
structure and in practice. Society is a living organism
and must obey the laws of life, not of mechanics; it
must develop. All the progressives ask or desire is
permissionin an era when development,
evolution, is the scientific wordto interpret the
Constitution according to the Darwinian principle.
Wilson (1912)
Checks and balances outdated.

FDR & The Modern Presidency


Fireside chats
Federal government directly
responsible for well-being of
Americans
Long-term changes to presidency

Structure of the Executive Branch


Unity
Command and Responsibility
Personnel
Vice Presidency
Executive Office of the President
Cabinet
Problems of a Large Bureaucracy
(see next slide)
Groupthink
Magnitude of Government

The Presidency and Other Branches:


Cooperation VS Conflict
Depending on the issues
they handle, presidents may
mix up strategies in order to
obtain their goals:
Deliberation (on merits of
policy)
Bargaining
Congressmen pursue a
similar strategy
Vetoes

Presidents Use of Direct Authority:


Proclamations
Executive orders
Signing statements
Recess
appointments
Executive
agreements

Constitution and War Powers


Congress:
Declare War
Raise & Regulate Military
Appropriate Funds
President:
Commander-in-Chief
Vesting Clause
Treaty Power
Conflict between the branches is
never fully resolved, but encourages
political deliberation

Key Provisions of the War Powers


Resolution of 1973
Definition of the
Presidents Power to
put Forces in Combat
Consultation with
Congress
Reporting to Congress
Withdrawing Troops

Factors in Presidential Leadership


Public support
Events and issues
Rally round the flag effect
Economy
The televised presidency
Kernell: Going public
Potential issue with overuse

The Illusion of Presidential Government


Negative press portrayals and
consequences for a president.
Credit claiming/Avoiding
blame

Picture above details results from


a 2012 poll.