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"What Factors contribute to a 'Failed' presidency? Illustrate your answer with examples from the period 1961-2004"

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Introduction

AMERICAN POLITICS "What Factors contribute to a 'Failed' presidency? Illustrate your answer with examples from the period 1961-2004" On the surface, the most straightforward way of deciding who can be deemed a successful president is whether they complete a second term of presidency by gaining a victory upon re-election after completion of their first term. The biggest 'failure' of a president is surely not being victorious in election for a second term of power, or worse still not being elected in the first place. More crucial is to establish the key 'factors' as to why a particular president 'failed' to successfully fulfil two terms of power. It would be to simplistic to state that, in recent times, Presidents Johnsen, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Bush have all been successful for they have all completed, or in Bush's case set to complete, two terms of Presidential power. In many cases Presidents have been extremely competent in some areas while systematically failed in others. It is also important to be aware that there can be polarising opinions, by different factions, as to whether a President has been a success or failure. The President is represented as a symbol of American people for the simple reason that he is the only solitary official of America, excluding the vice president, that the whole country elects. The presidency, as with any imperative institution is in constant transition. Historically he receives the utmost respect and admiration by the American people, however recent presidents and controversies have significantly discredited the position. ...read more.

Middle

Since the 1960's the primary concern of a successful President is to drive his legislative program, if he fails to convince Congress to ratify his basic bills then he is deemed a failure.IV There are several examples of Presidents who have done this triumphantly and those who have not. President Clinton 1992-2000, tried to pass masses of bills through Congress early on in his reign however many of these failed, e.g. Health Care bill, allowing homosexuals into the army etc. The 'honeymoon' period of Clinton's Presidency was not a success especially considering he had a united Congress, consequently he lost Congress after his second year in power. However this was almost a turning point in favour of Clinton's presidency. He demonstrated that a divided Congress could still work successfully in harmony, this required Clinton to hold intense negotiations with Congress. He then consistently passed through small but noteworthy bills, in a similar vein to President Reagan 1980-88, with the most substantial being the budget. President Johnsen 1963-68, used President Kennedy's assassination to his advantage by receiving sympathy from Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act. He wanted to give blacks equality, allowing them an education and into the army etc. Congress would look immoral and insensitive if they it after Kennedy's drive to have it passed before his tragic assassination. He built the ideal of 'Great Society' as part of his 'grand plan', this included the introduction of two grants. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bush is mocked in the media for his illogical use of English language and incoherent speeches. The media is a key institution in determining how successful a President is, it is a direct opportunity for him to increase his power by speaking directly to the people, 'speak American to America'. Congress does not get this opportunity. The televised press conference is the biggest opportunity for Presidents to attain public support and is very important to whoever is the current president. They have services and means for a successful campaign by already being in the public eye that an opponent does not, the president needs to ensure he lays out his future legislative policies. Evidently it is complex to decide whether a Presidency has been totally a success or 'failure' nor can you simply compare one Presidents success to another. However the factors stated are key contributions to how a President fairs. On the whole, the middle ground president appeals to most people, one that fulfils his duty to work relentlessly in completing a legislative program that involves every problem in American Society. If a president weakens the office's power through ignorance or spinelessness then he will be considered a failure. I Malcolm Walles, 'Understanding the US Presidency', (Simon and Schuster International Group, 1991) P4 II Malcolm Walles, 'Understanding the US Presidency', (Simon and Schuster International Group, 1991) P7 III Ibid, P8 IV Clinton Rossiter, 'The American Presidency, The powers and practices the personalities and problems of the most important office in the World, (Great Britain, 1957) P83 Oliver King Page-1- 02/05/2007 ...read more.

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