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Discuss the view that the presidency is not a powerful office

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´╗┐Discuss the view that the presidency is not a powerful office The president of the USA has, on paper at least, numerous powers that he can exploit to his benefit. These powers have then been classified as those constitutional powers and those inherent powers, those not in the constitution. Anyone looking at a glance, would probably presume that the presidency is an extremely powerful office with powers such as ; chief of the executive, commander in chief, pardoning criminals and national leader of arguably the world?s largest power. However in reality there are equal amounts of checks and balances designed by the founding fathers to ?frustrate? the president to essentially prevent a dictatorship. Thus there are a wide variety of aspects to be explored when discussing whether the presidency is a powerful office or not. There is much evidence to suggest that despite the many limits on the constitutional powers of the presidency, there remain numerous examples to say that the presidency is a powerful office through the use of his constitutional powers. One major constitutional power of the presidency is that of being the commander in chief, usually falling within the realm of foreign policy. This effectively allows the president to have supreme authority over the nations military. Obama effectively used this power to withdraw some US troops from Iraq whilst with the same power he extended the war on terror into Yemen and Pakistan. ...read more.


For example despite his constitutional treaty making powers he failed to complete the free trade agreement with S.Korea, failed to get currency policy changed in China and European countries were not persuaded to increase government spending as a means of growth. This shows that perhaps the president?s treaty making powers are not as significant as they appear at first glance. The New Start treaty which would have reduced nuclear weapons was stalled in the Senate. Congress also blocked the global warming cap and trade bill as well as immigration reform stuck in the Senate. This demonstrates whilst the constitutional powers of treaty making, Congress has a large part to say and thus questions the importance of this constitutional power. The president?s power to nominate executive branch officials is also limited which could suggest that the presidency is less powerful in these areas. This power is limited due to the Senate having to confirm all these appointments by a majority vote. When the Senate is controlled by the opposition party, many would say that the president?s power is greatly reduced. In analysis this brings up a theory that the president is neither stagnantly powerful or not, but his power fluctuates with various factors, one being party control of Congress. Similarly executive orders and pardons are perhaps not as significant as they first appear, due to them as well being in the public eye, thus presidents may not be able to carry out certain executive orders depending on the mood of the public, thus limits these powers greatly. ...read more.


Perhaps the main weakness of these inherent powers are that they depend so much on other factors rather than the constitutional powers which are there, written down and can be used whenever. Of course public opinion does come into play even when exploiting constitutional powers, but more so with inherent powers. The presidency may not be able to use the Bully Pulpit for instance at times of unpopularity such as later stages of W.Bush?s reign after controversy of the Iraq war. Similarly many saw Obama?s State of the Union Address as a failure and this which usually sets out the presidents political agenda. This falls under the chief legislator inherent power and thus after a ?failed? state of the union address this could affect the power of persuasion, the agenda setting and national leader inherent powers. In evaluation it seems that although the inherent powers of the presidency are varied and powerful in certain circumstances they all rely of the power of persuasion and external factors, which means that not all of the time they will have the same power ?behind them?. In conclusion the presidency has a lot of powers both constitutional and inherent which at certain times can make the office extremely powerful. However it cannot be said that the office is or isn?t powerful, as the power fluctuates so much with external factors such as the public opinion, meaning that the presidency is at times a very powerful office as shown through examples previously, but equally can be a rather lame office at other times. ...read more.

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