2 Presidencies Essay Research Paper Presidential power

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2 Presidencies Essay, Research Paper Presidential power can be viewed in terms of Domestic and Foreign affairs. This chapter discusses how the presiden’ts normal problem with domestic policy is to get congressional support for the programs he prefers, while in foreign affairs he can almost always get support for policies that he believes will protect the nation. The president soon discovers that he has more policy preference in domestic matters than in foreign policy. THE RECORD OF PRESIDENTIAL CONTROL It takes great crisis for presidents to succeed in controlling domestic policy. From the end of the 1930s to the present presidents have often been frustrated in their domestic programs. In the realm of foreign policy there has not been a single major issue on which

presidents, when they were serious and determined, have failed. Derious etbacks to the president in controlling foreign policy are extraordinary and unusual. Presidents have significantly better records in foreing policy and defense matters than in domestic policies. WORLD EVENTS AND PRESIDENTIAL RESOURCES Power in politics is control over governmental decisions. The number of nations with which the U.S. has diplomatic relations has increased; the world has also become a much more dangerous place. Our government must always be aware of the possibility of nuclear war. Yet, the mere existence of great powers with effective thermonuclear weapons would not vastly increase our rate of interaction with most other nations. We are interested in what happens everywhere because we see

these events as connected with larger interests, involving the possibility of ultimate destruction. Given the overrriding fact that the world is dangerous and that small causes are percieved to have potentially great effects, it follows that presidents must be interested in relatively small matters. Few failures in domestic policy could have as disastrous consequences as any one of dozens of mistakes in the international arena. Foreign policy concerns tend to drive out domestic policy. Foreign affairs have consistently higher priority for presidents. The importance of foreign affairs is intensified by the increasing speed of events in the world. Presidents must expect to face the consequences of their own actions while still in office. Domestic policy making is based on

experimental adjustments to an existing situation while foreign affairs are often percieved to be irreversible. Presidents have to be oriented towards the future in the use of their resources. Because the consequences of events in foreign affairs are potentially more grave, and less easily reversible than in domestic affairs, presidents are more willing to use up their resources. THE POWER TO ACT Particularly important to the president is his power as comander-in-chief to move troops. Presidents posses both the formal power to act and the knowledge that elites and the general public expect them to act. Presidential discreation in foreign affairs makes it difficult for Congress to restrict their actions. Presidents also have far greater ability than anyone else to obtain

information on developments abroad through the Departments of State and Defense. The rise of the defense intellectuals has given the president enhanced ability to control defense policy. He can choose among defense intellectuals from the research corporations and the academies for alternative sources of advice. Presidents prevail not only because they may have superior sources but because their potential opponents are weak, divided, or believe that they should not control foreign policy. COMPETITORS FOR CONTROL OF POLICY The general public is much more dependent on presidents in foreign affairs than in domestic matters. People expect the president to act in foreign affairs and reward him with their confidence. Although presidents lead opinion in foreign affairs, they know they