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Transcript of Presidential Powers
Article II, Sec. II
Head of all military (but not in the military) Chief Legislator -
Sets the legislative agenda by:
State of the Union (Article II, Sec. 3)
Approve or veto legislation
Proposes federal budget
Sticks and carrots to pass favored bills
Lobbies for his agenda ("The Johnson Treatment") Chief Diplomat
Makes treaties with the approval of 2/3 of the Senate (Article II, Sec. 2)
Recognize other nations
Chief spokesman to the world
Appoints and directs the Secretary of State Chief Executive
Article II, Sec. 1
CEO of the country (top decision maker)
President's job is to execute/enforce the laws (Article II, Sec. 3)
Appointment power - Cabinet, ambassadors, Supreme Court Justices (all needing the approval of the Senate)
Cabinet - Run the various government agencies (Dept. Health & Human Services, State Department, Defense Department, Department of Education, etc.) Also advise the president.
Reprieves and pardons Chief of the Party
Top elected official in their party
"Coat tail effect" (it's in his party's interest to make the president popular
Enforce party loyalty Chief of State -
Symbolic head of the country
Ceremonial functions (e.g. awarding medals, attending important funerals, etc.) Chief Citizen
"Bully Pulpit" - using their public prominence to pursuad the country (e.g. Jimmy Carter on reducing energy consumption, FDR "Fear itself" speech, etc.) Reasons for Expanded Presidential Power Vague constitutional language Crisis Threat of nuclear war Presidential personalities/abilities Public attention (e.g. mass media) Modern Debate on Presidential Power Upon entering the Oval Office in 2009, President Barack Obama faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Major industries were on the verge of bankruptcy, banks were failing, and millions of Americans were unemployed. Like President Roosevelt before him, President Obama had to take action. Critics claimed his actions overstepped his powers, while others praised him for leading the nation in avoiding even greater economic difficulty. President Obama, 2010 -
"I had just inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit from the previous administration, so that the last thing I wanted to do was to spend money on a recovery package, or help the American auto industry keep its doors open, or prevent the collapse of Wall Street banks...But what I knew was if I didn't act boldly and I didn't act quickly,...we could have risked an even greater disaster....I'm absolutely confident that if we continue to take responsiblitiy to invest in our future that our brightest days are still ahed of us." Sen. Mitch McConnell (R - Kentucky), 2010 -
"Washington can't even pay its bills, and yet over the last 16 months it's taken over banks, insurance companies, car companies, the student loan business, and health care. And now it's got its sights set on anyone in America who engages in a financial transaction....The administration...[is] using the financial crisis as a way to intrude into the lives of people and business...and to hire thousands of government employees and spend billions of dollars in taxpayer money to pay for it all." Tomorrow: What makes a successful president?
Homework: Ask an adult in your life (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor, etc) who has been the best president in their lifetime and why they think so. Questions 1-4