The Presidency of United States

(Part 2)


Designed as a one unit office, the presidency has a capacity for quick decision and action. Even though the framers wanted and anticipated that Congress would be the predominant branch of government, contemporary presidents have achieved formidable formal and informal powers and resources to govern our country.


Most Americans want their president to be a Уregular personФ who understands them and their daily struggles. Yet, many Americans also expect their presidents to rise above the rest and command the international stage. Modern presidents must meet these and other conflicting challenges, including the attempts of the opposing party in Congress and organized special interests groups, to stop or fundamentally reshape the presidentТs policy initiatives.


The US system generates a constant struggle for power between the two institutions. Due to this inherent conflict the president usually has trouble keeping up with his policy making and achieve his policy goals.

Since 1945, the Executive branch has grown and expanded along with the growth in the size of the presidency. The institutionalized Executive branch now includes the White House Office (WHO) the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Executive Office of the President (EOP). These offices provide modern presidents with layers of bureaucracy that they can use to enhance their power and influence to achieve their policy goals successfully. However, some presidents have found that the White House bureaucracy can actually make them feel out-of-touch with his position and powers. As many political programmes within the Executive branch mainly the White House Office developed, so did the agencies that ran them. These agencies have strong connections with Congress as it is Congress that authorizes their existence and finds the funds to finance them. Congressional committees must also oversee their operation. This acts as check on presidential power and a president who fails to influence his office with his goals will realize surely this. Therefore, the president has come to rely more on the specialized staff that work for him in the EOP.

The WHO can only operate effectively when it works in partnership with the Executive branch. By employing his own staff in the White House, the president can overcome some of the conflicts that arise. However, as time has progressed, the increasing size of this staff once again can mean that a president cannot guarantee that it will do as he wishes. During the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the WHO became so big, that certain members of it had bigger staffs than heads of government departments. This lead to problems within it regardless of its relationship with the Federal bureaucracy.

Every President has various strategies he or she can use to run the White House. One essential part of a well-organized White House is the ability for the President to receive outside advice with his constituents outside his administration. With the president not dependent on White House Staff, informal channels of information and advice is a way for the president to Уchallenge his own thinking and that of his staffs, and otherwise influence their considerations. This is a strategy used by most presidents in order to get the most unbiased and loyal information about pressing issues, policies, and so forth.
Even so, information from the EOP, Cabinet as well as committee are important and can either help or destroy the President if he is not careful. This means that the president must have as much always have access to viable information as much as possible. The issue of hierarchy and internal centralization can many times make this difficult to achieve. As the president needs a stronger chief of staff and more advisors in general, the flow of information is much less and most information is filtered through a surrounding body of White House. Because of this, in most cases, the President is constantly pressured to organize and reorganize the White House so that he continues to be the main decision maker and gets all the viable information he wants to use and influence the government towards his policy goals.

The crucial difference between congress and the presidency is that the presidency is one single unified institution, in the sense that it has one supreme authority: the president. Congress, however, is made up of hundreds of equal individuals, each concerned to reach his or her own constituents; they face serious collective action problems in arriving at decisions and policies that are stable and mutually beneficial to the country. The internal organization of the presidency reflects the interests and the policy goals of the president. In choosing his own preferences and making his own decisions, the president does not suffer from the collective action problems that plague Congress. The task of institution building is much more straightforward here. Presidents are in charge, and they try to create and organize political structures to enhance their own capacity for effective leadership to successfully achieve his or her policy goals.



The Presidency of United States