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"Imperial in foreign affairs, imperilled in others". How accurate is this view of Presidential power?

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Introduction

"Imperial in foreign affairs, imperilled in others". How accurate is this view of Presidential power? I would agree with the view that the President of the United States is imperial in foreign affairs, yet imperilled in others, especially those domestic. The imperilled presidency is a concept put forward by Gerald Ford, who suggested that far from being too powerful, the President is in a constant power struggle. This is because the power of the president is severely constricted by, among other things, a lack of public trust and a dependence on Congress and the Supreme Court in order to pass legislation, especially following the shift in power between the executive and the legislature following the events of Watergate and Vietnam in the 1970s. I think that the Presidency is imperilled in domestic affairs because he must rely on Congress to pass any bills proposed by him. This is because the balance of powers outlined in the Constitution prevents the executive from being part of the legislature, unlike in the UK. This means that the President, I think, has very little power other than, as Richard Neustadt claims, the power to persuade. ...read more.

Middle

I think that this means that the President is no longer entrusted with jobs he may have held in the days of such Presidents as Franklin Roosevelt. For example, the President's previous duties of deciding the details of financial and domestic policy mainly falls to subordinates, and I think that this has removed some of the powers of the President. Some historians, such as Arthur Schleisinger, would disagree with the view that the Presidency is imperilled in domestic affairs. The would argue, for example, that the President is imperial in domestic affairs due to the large amount of advisory committees and agencies that are loyal to the President and unelected by the public, which give the President power that is not accountable to the public. For example, the National Security Council, which offers policy advice to the President, has been unelected and with little accountability since its inception during Truman's presidency. It also makes up part of the Executive Office of the President. In addition, critics such as Schleisinger would argue that because appointments to agencies and committees such as the NSC are not approved by the Senate, this means that the activities of the NSC and such members of the EOP are not accountable to Congress. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is because these events have led to the American public feeling united against an external threat and feeling more hawkish as a result of a desire to protect American interests. I think that this is characterised by the American public's willingness to accept wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan started by George W. Bush. For example, a 2002 CBS poll found that 60% of Americans would support an invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power if necessary. This leads me to suggest that the power of the President, especially power in foreign affairs, increases in times of war. For example, Bush's 2004 election campaign centred around the Republican being a 'war president', and in that time where Americans felt threatened they voted for Bush as a result. I would suggest, therefore, that presidential power is cyclical. To conclude, I would agree with the suggestion that the American President is imperial in foreign affairs and imperilled in domestic affairs. This, I think, is due to the weakening influence of the President as a part of the federal bureaucracy and the increased significance of the President abroad, especially his influence as Commander-in Chief of the armed forces. ...read more.

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