Institution versus the individual<br />Studying the president<br />
BarberThe Presidential Character, 1972<br />A psychological approach that focuses on the ways that interpersonal experiences shape individual characteristics that then influence how the Presidents perform.<br />Personality and President <br />President’s personality is important for understanding Presidential behavior<br />Best way to predict personality is to look at a President’s formative years<br />
Dimensions Active- Passive -- how much energy does he invest in the Presidency <br /> <br />Active<br />Passive<br /> <br />Positive<br />Active-Positive: much activity and an enjoyment of it. High self-esteem and relative success in dealing with the environment. <br />Wants to achieve results<br /> <br />Passive-Positive: Very other-directed character, constantly searching for affection by trying to please everyone. Superficial optimism. <br />Wants love<br /> <br />Negative<br />Active-Negative: intense effort with a low level of emotional reward for that effort. ambitious and aggressive with a vague, discontinuous self-image. <br />Wants to get and keep power<br />Passive-Negative: sees public service as a “duty” that he is called to fill, but is not happy about it. Stoic or martyr like. <br />Emphasize their civic virtue<br /> Positive-Negative-- whether or not he seems to enjoy his political office/ life<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
Barber, Presidential Character<br />"The danger is that Nixon will commit himself irrevocably to some disastrous course of action" <br />
Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: Neustadt<br />All presidents are “clerks”: they accomplish a wide range of tasks, but clerkship is not leadership.<br />The strength or weakness of a President is measured in his ability to influence or persuade the other individuals who are part of running the country<br />Power=Influence<br />
FDR as the ideal president<br /> Should we compare Obama?<br />
Going Public<br />Engaging in intensive public relations to promote their policies to the voters and thereby induce cooperation from other elected office holders.<br />Example– <br />Reagan and Iran-Contra<br />Clinton and the government shut down<br />tone of State of the Union<br />
Past<br />Press conferences<br />Weekly radio addresses<br />Present– the technology question<br />Weekly web address<br />The official White House MySpace page<br />White House on Twitter<br />
Thinking about institutional constraints<br />
Institution versus person?<br />Difference in method and variables<br />Which better explains nuts and bolts of decision-making<br />Two ways of assessing White House Organization.<br />
Institutional pressures<br />Expectations of president after FDR– president as the ultimate scape-goat<br />Clinton and the economy<br />Bush and the economy<br />Expansion of the Executive Office of the President (EOP)<br />
Congress<br />Prefers decentralized, insulated bureaucracy<br />Preference guided by INSTITUTIONAL constraint of re-election pressure<br />Because social fear of state, Congress goes along with their preferenc.<br />Presidency<br />Prefers centralized, unified, coordinated bureaucracy that they control from the top.<br />Preference guided by the blame they receive. <br />“Presidents are held responsible by the public for virtually every aspect of national performance…”<br />
Institutions also help…<br />Constitutional and delegated powers allow for assertion of leadership through action.<br />Action hard to reverse by Congress because of legislative difficulties.<br />
Additional takes on constraints<br />The Obama promise– to change politics in Washington as we know it<br />Obama tries to follow through on promise.<br />Partisanship raises its head.<br />
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