NATIONAL GOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS
39. Alexander Hamilton
* Argument for vigorous and energetic executive branch.
· Competent powers are necessary so that the executive does not become powerless or controlled by the legislature.
· Argument for unified, single executive:
-- ability to make quick decisions (balances slow/deliberative legislature)
-- a plural executive would diminish respectability and accountability
-- plural executive conceals faults
· Government is viewed in positive terms by Hamilton: this contrasts which Madison's more negative outlook (compare their ideas for the design of the Congress).
Hamilton views an energetic executive as
a) a relatively unimportant aspect of politics.
b) a threat to liberty.
c) a necessary part of good government.
d) a threat to the states.
40. Clinton Rossiter
The Presidency: Focus of Leadership
* Presidency as king; argues for strong executive, like Hamilton.
-- Supports the idea of the imperial presidency.
· President is leader in numerous areas:
1) Of the executive branch-- President is responsible for setting an example (for the rest of the executive branch) in terms of ethics, loyalty, efficiency, frugality, and responsiveness to the public.
2) Of forces of peace and war-- is not only Commander-in-Chief, but also responsible for actions during wartime like avoiding industry strikes, etc.
3) Of Congress-- and President must get along with Congress.
4) Of party-- president must be a politician.
5) Of public opinion-- moral spokesman for the country, establishes a unified national direction.
6) Of the rituals of American democracy--"the dignity of a king and the power of a prime minister"-- greet heads of state, be seen at ceremonial affairs, etc.--Chief of State function.
7) Of the free nations of the world.
· These roles are always in play at all times; this creates great pressures on the president in being able to lead in all these areas.
· The President is, however, "a leader without any equal in the history of democracy."
· Nevertheless, the President is still limited: can only lead in the direction we are accustomed to be led (for example, a president cannot lead members of Congress to abdicate their functions).
· Some of these roles conflict with each other: note that the role as party leader, which requires the ability to promote the party and hence to stress differences with opponents, conflicts with the President's role in presenting leadership for a unified nation.
Clinton Rossiter views the president as:
a) a king-like leader with no limitations.
b) a clerk whose power derives from persuasion rather than leadership.
c) a king-like leader with some limitations.
d) less powerful than European leaders.
41. Richard Neustadt
* President as clerk (contrasts Rossiter's President-as-king).
· President's strength depends on his/her capacity to influence the conduct of people in government: persuasion.
-- Power is the President's bargaining influence, not prerogative/leadership.
· "The same conditions that promote [the President's] leadership in form preclude a guarantee of leadership in fact."
-- This is because the President's support is useful and necessary; his/her leadership is not.
· Many sources make demands on President:
1) Executive branch: it needs decisions, political protection, and a referee for fights within the branch.
2) Congress: they need an agenda, so they look to the President.
3) Parties need a record: they point to the President.
4) People need a focus for their views about government: they look to the President.
5) Foreign nations need a focus for American decisions and policies: they look to Washington, and Washington is symbolized by the President.
· The reason that there are demands on the President from so many sources, yet these sources need not follow the President's lead, is because other actors have their own points of view and obligations.
Richard Neustadt argues that:
a) the President's leadership powers are overrated.
b) the President must follow the lead of the Courts.
c) the states have more power than the President.
d) the President is a king-like leader.
42. James David Barber
The Presidential Character
* Psychological framework for categorizing and predicting presidential behavior.
· Personality shapes performance
-- Character: the way the President orients self towards life;
-- the key is self-esteem.
-- World View: primary, politically relevant beliefs about human nature, social causality, etc.
-- Style: Habitual way of performing the president's three roles: rhetoric, personal relations, and homework.
· Presidential character develops in childhood and adolescence.
· President's relationship to the political configuration is what makes the system tick. President must offer reassurance, a sense of progress and action, and a sense of legitimacy.
Barber's Categorization of Presidential Types:
· Categories of Presidents, based on combinations of four factors:
-- Active or Passive: whether or not the President is active or not.
-- Positive or Negative: whether or not the President seems to enjoy his/her political life.
-- Active-Positive: Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, JFK.
-- Active-Negative: John Adams, Woodrow Wilson, LBJ, Nixon.
-- Passive-Positive: James Madison.
-- Passive-Negative: Washington, Eisenhower, Coolidge.
According to James David Barber, which is most important factor in predicting a President's performance?
a) the separation of powers and other institutional factors
b) the strength of public support for government
c) the effects of the president's childhood and adolescence
d) the president's party affiliation
43. George Reedy
The Press and the President
* There are limits to the extent that the White House can "manage the news," even given its highly developed and formal structures for doing so.
· The following factors limit Presidents' ability to manage the news:
1) President can time appearances, but not acts (must react to international crises, inflation, etc.).
2) All actions affect the Washington community, and so there will always be opponents to Presidential decisions.
3) All actions have a direct impact on all citizens, and there are limits to the ability of a President to mislead the public.
· Furthermore, efforts to manipulate the media challenge the press to dig deeper than they ordinarily would-- therefore, while the press can be manipulated, Reedy argues that serious attempts to mislead on a large scale will backfire.
According to George Reedy, the President's ability to manage the news:
a) is limited by the nature of uncontrollable events.
b) is a result of the media’s desire to avoid conflict.
c) is a threat to liberty and the freedom of the press.
d) leads to scandals like Watergate.
44. Aaron Wildavsky
The Two Presidencies
* There is a split between the foreign affairs presidency and the domestic presidency.
· Foreign policy concerns drive out domestic policy
-- The situation since World War II:
-- limited time and resources to spend on policy.
-- the speed and importance of world affairs.
-- The usual competition against the President is limited in the foreign policy arena:
-- Public depends on the President.
-- Interest groups here are small and usually have a narrow focus.
-- Congress defers to the President.
-- The military is weak in terms of policy issues.
-- "Military-industrial complex" is focussed on getting contracts, which is not the same as influencing policy.
-- Department of State: follows the policies of the President.
-- Presidents have weak record in domestic affairs: most advances/policies are incremental and build on existing policy.
-- Presidents are strong in foreign affairs: they have the power to act, and room for discretion is large.
According to Aaron Wildavsky, "the two presidencies" refers to:
a) the clerk-presidency and the king-presidency.
b) the traditional presidency and the modern presidency.
c) the foreign-affairs presidency and the domestic-affairs presidency.
d) the American presidency and the European presidency.
45. Sidney M. Milkis
The Presidency and Political Parties
* Milkis argues that modern presidents have become isolated from party politics and support.
* Presidents are therefore encouraged to rely on direct popular appeals and administrative action, subjecting them to an unstable political environment that can rapidly erase popular support.
Milkis' Historical Argument:
· Franklin Roosevelt, during the Great Depression, faced a dilemma: the decentralized nature of American government could only be reformed through strong presidential leadership, but any such centralized effort undercut party unity.
Roosevelt's reforms sought to create an administrative apparatus insulated from electoral changes. The new bureaucracy cemented New Deal values in government regardless of electoral outcomes. Johnson and Nixon continued the centralization of power in the executive branch. Reagan's efforts to reinvigorate the Republican party were limited by the need for administrative action to achieve policy goals.
The Presidency came to pre-empt traditional party functions, weakening the parties. This, in turn, weakened the organizational support presidents have traditionally enjoyed. Presidents are therefore increasingly tied directly to the public, making them vulnerable to shifts in public opinion. George Bush's swift decline symbolizes this vulnerability.
President Clinton's attempts to transform social policy from the White House also illustrate the gap between Presidential policymaking and traditional, party-based support. His efforts to lift the ban on gays and lesbians in the military, his support of NAFTA over the opposition of traditional Democratic supporters among labor unions, his angering of conservatives during the health care debate, and the ultimate failure to deliver sweeping health care reforms to liberal supporters all are indications of the President 's separation from traditional, party-based support. Ultimately, Clintons' reelection was based on his candidate-centered campaign and a strong economy; benefits for his party generally failed to materialize.
According to Sidney Milkis, which of the following did not further the president's isolation from traditional sources of support?
a) Franklin D. Roosevelt
b) Lyndon B. Johnson
c) Richard M. Nixon
d) none of the above
46. Richard J. Ellis
Presidential Lightning Rods: The Politics of Blame Avoidance
* Presidents often position members of their administration to take blame for unpopular policies.
Pros and Cons of Lightning Rods:
Good rationales exist supporting and opposing the use of lightning rods to deflect blame; each position, though, holds certain risks
In support of lightning rods:
-- lightning rods serve important goals of minimizing societal conflict and maintaining public support for authority
-- because presidents serve a fixed term, it is necessary for them to avoid being discredited by daily political battles
-- The risk of utilizing lightning rods is that a president can retreat too far into the background
Against lightning rods:
-- presidents benefit by taking responsibility themselves
-- supporters of party government oppose the use of lightning rods as just another way politicians manipulate the system and avoid accountability
-- The risk of leading without lightning rods is greater polarization as presidents, closely associated with specific policies, become sources of division and argument
Ellis wants to outline "conditions under which a president can successfully deflect blame onto subordinates" :
* When presidents are unconcerned about an initiative's outcome, "blame avoidance may be a fitting strategy".
* When presidents feel strongly about a program or idea, they will probably need to use their prestige directly, without hiding behind others.
Which of the following demonstrates use of a "Presidential lightning rod", as explained by Richard J. Ellis?
a) the President blames Congress for stalling passage of a bill.
b) the President, in a major speech, takes responsibility for a failed military action.
c) the President fires his chief advisor after a new tax proposal fails in Congress.
d) the President resigns his office after being caught in a scandal.
47. Peter Woll
Constitutional Democracy and Bureaucratic Power
* The bureaucracy reflects the fragmentation of our political system; it is often the battleground for the three branches of government as well as for outside interests.
· The Constitution does not mention the bureaucracy, which has become a pawn in a power struggle between Congress and the President, as well as the courts and other interests.
· Review of Hamilton's argument for executive control of administration, from Federalist 72:
-- Administrators should be assistants to the President; therefore chosen at President's appointment and subject to President's superintendence.
-- President thus should control, and be responsible for, administrative action.
· In actuality, both Congress and the President have constitutional responsibilities for the bureaucracy:
Congress: retains primary control; creates and destroys agencies; controls appropriations; defines agencies' jurisdictions; approves high level appointments; places them within or outside of executive branch.
-- The incentive is to make agencies independent, and thus beyond control of the President.
President: appoints officials (with Senate advice and consent); attempts to control and coordinate (because President is only official elected nationally) control through patronage has declined.
Courts: Judicial review of administrative decisions, based on the rule of law, limits legislative and executive control over the bureaucracy.
-- This prevents over-control by either branch.
-- It also acts as a check on the agencies themselves, which often combine various functions of government in the same (unelected) hands.
According to Peter Woll, Hamilton supported:
a) an independent bureaucracy.
b) an administrative bureaucracy under the president.
c) Congressional control of all bureaucratic functions.
d) a bureaucracy subject to dominance by an independent judiciary.
48. James Q. Wilson
The Rise of the Bureaucratic State
* The bureaucracy has been created as a response to private-sector demands.
-- It is thus not a conspiracy by government officials to increase their power (this argues against part of Fiorina's argument, selection 49).
* Pluralism in the U.S. has affected the bureaucracy by dividing it into clientele sectors.
· History of bureaucracy; It is not mentioned in the Constitution.
-- Original bureaucracy was small and had limited duties.
-- Growth comes in 20th century.
· 3 ways in which political power may be gathered undesirably into bureaucratic hands:
1) Growth of an administrative apparatus so large that it becomes immune from popular control.
-- 19th century growth due to demands for service.
-- After 1861, agencies were created to respond to demands from specific interests: Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Commerce.
-- These agencies were not intended to subsidize or regulate these areas, but to promote their interests.
2) Power over the bureaucracy placed in private hands.
-- Examples are local licensing boards.
-- New Deal is the high water mark of bureaucratic clientelism.
-- The principal client group remains the states and cities.
-- Recently (since the 1960s), Federal monies have been spent less in response to the claims of distinct and organized clients, and more in ways that create clients.
-- The Madisonian system makes it easy for delegation of public power to private interests to go unchallenged, bureaucratic clientelism thus becomes self-perpetuating.
-- Bureaucracies and benefits are hard to stop once they're in place.
3) Bureaucracies allowed discretionary authority that can be exercised independent of the public good.
-- Agencies are granted authority to make binding decisions without any clear standards of choice.
Wilson on Regulatory Politics:
· The Madisonian system can be temporarily suspended due to a crisis, scandal, etc.:
-- "Exceptional majorities [rather than Madisonian coalitions of interests] propelled by a public mood and led by a skillful policy entrepreneur take action that might not be possible under ordinary circumstances."
-- Agencies are created with broad mandates of power and/or exacting standards.
-- The agency will then seek to expand its authority further, from a variety of motives: to satisfy demands of the regulated industry to be protected; to attend to unanticipated side effects of initial regulatory action; to discover the meaning of vague statutory language; or to respond to new constituencies.
-- Regulatory agencies are slow to respond to change: they lack incentive.
James Q. Wilson writes that public agencies:
a) were originally created to promote special interests.
b) were originally created to regulate special interests.
c) are relatively easy to dismantle once their purpose has been served.
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