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 Illustrate important issues and methods in the study of American politics in general:  Power of presidency; two presidencies thesis  Relations between.

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Presentation on theme: " Illustrate important issues and methods in the study of American politics in general:  Power of presidency; two presidencies thesis  Relations between."— Presentation transcript:


2  Illustrate important issues and methods in the study of American politics in general:  Power of presidency; two presidencies thesis  Relations between presidency and Congress  Partisanship, bipartisanship  Measures of power and influence through discussion of agenda setting and policy success; measures such as roll call votes  Discussions of role of WH staff and presidential leadership styles.

3  Explores the power of presidents to set the agenda, versus the power of the press and the power of Congress  Argues that agenda setting:  Depends on foreign policy issue  Is often reciprocal among President, Congress and press

4  Agenda setting is important  Literature suggests that presidents, rather than being the originators of foreign policy agendas, may be only secondary setters: while they may set the agenda for Congress, their agenda is set by the press, which focuses the attention of elites and the public on particular international events.

5  Accepts that press may be involved, but is not convinced that the press sets all agendas and is not convinced it is the choice of the press that is the key factor  Rather, assumes that it is events that are behind the power of the press, and that events are extraordinary events rather than everyday occurrences  Also assumes that events are important because they draw attention to a particular issue; in doing so, they inevitably draw attention away from other issues.

6  Peake therefore wants to focus on everyday agenda.  Does so by focusing on issues that are of low salience (attract little attention and are not considered to be of high importance) and issues that are important to Congress  Particular types of regional issues  Issues of trade and foreign aid

7  Presidents can influence media agenda on less important regional issues, foreign trade and foreign aid  Presidents can influence Congressional agenda on less important regional issues, but not trade and aid  Presidential agenda influenced by events and by Congress on trade and aid and on less important regional issues by media.

8  Argues that presidential leadership styles are important to understanding president’s role in foreign policy, given  The importance of foreign policy issues  The increasingly complex set of actors and institutions involved in foreign policy  Thus focuses on the psychology of presidents, in terms of orientations towards work, conflict, management and leadership goals. These have been important variables in the study of presidential leadership styles since James Barber’s The Presidential Character.

9  Consolidates previous studies on presidential leadership and creates analytic categories that link those categories with Functions and Functions with Leadership Styles



12  These 2 x2 charts are common in these types of leadership studies  Also common are emphasis on degrees of hierarchy and degrees of involvement.  What is different here is the crossing of the leadership literature with that on the organization of staffs.

13  Literature on staffs emphasizes  Different ways in which staffs are organized  Hierarchical, military staff model, which emphasizes staffwork, chain of command and president as a leader who chooses among predetermined options  Hub and spoke models in which presidents are not at the top of a hierarchy, brainstorming is more important than staffwork, and presidents participate in the formulation of policy rather than acting as a chooser among options  Role and importance of chiefs of staff as gatekeepers  Tendency as time passes for the hierarchical model to prevail, even among presidents who initially prefer the hub and spoke model


15  Creates a typology that cuts across the usual understanding of staff organization described above by including variations of the hierarchical and hub and spoke models  While some presidents have had variations of these (hierarchical with no chief of staff, hub and spoke with strong chief of staff) it is not clear that these models are stable.  May be a better portrait of how presidents attempt to use the two main models rather than a persuasive establishment of new model types.

16  Important to understand how presidents focus on process and goals. Is a president interested in how policies are made or on whether goals are being achieved?  Also, are presidents interested in participating in the policymaking process or are they more interested in possessing workable policies even if that means deferring to experts?  Are presidents more interested in political compatibility or neutral policy competence among advisors?

17  Presidents may become bogged down in process  Presidents may focus on perceived effectiveness while neglecting politically important process  Political compatibility may lead to incompetence; focus on expertise may lead to a loss of presidential confidence in staff

18  Argues that there may be a causal relationship between US external environment and the strength of the presidency with regard to foreign affairs.  General approach is to examine a) the factors that might go into weakening the president and see if it still strong, b) examine domestic factors that might play into a strong presidency to see if they explain a strong foreign policy presidency, and c) examine possible external factors

19  Presidency strong in terms of foreign policy despite:  Strong foreign policy presidents losing elections because of domestic problems (Bush I)  Effects of Vietnam and Watergate  Increasing partisanship in foreign policy  Increasing importance of Congress and lobbying groups  The fact that the presidency is weak compared to other systems because it is part of a divided government system.

20  Two presidencies thesis as explanation for strong presidency: this explanation holds that many of the domestic constraints on a president that hobble him with regard to domestic policy (competition from Congress, interest from general public, competition from interest groups and think tanks, partisanship in general) are absent in the area of foreign policy; thus presidents will be stronger in foreign policy realm than in domestic policy realm.  Peterson argues that this is not the case. They are all present in the foreign policy realm and presidents are still powerful in terms of foreign policy

21  IR realists argue that the nature of the international system are such that states act as unitary actors. This means we ignore internal factors as irrelevant  Others, however, argue that the fact that states are unitary actors in the international system, while ultimately explainable by the system, must be traced through domestic systems. States act as unitary actors because the international system triggers changes in domestic systems that strengthen the role of solitary decision-makers

22  This latter explanation may hold for the US in ways that explain the power of the presidency in foreign affairs  International system requires quick decision making  International system generates issues that are of decisive importance for the survival of a country  The presidency has adopted systems and ways of doing business from the more centralized systems of Europe

23  Test of characterizations of foreign policy in terms of partisanship and bipartisanship. Challenges the understanding that foreign policy was a bipartisan arena before Vietnam, and that Vietnam changed it into a partisan arena.  Identifies problems with measuring partisanship in Congress and in looking only at partisanship and bipartisanship and not ideology.  Thus partakes of important methodologies and engages research issues related to Congressional studies.

24  Look at all foreign policy votes in House and Senate 1947-1988, not just select votes.  Bipartisan / partisan measures: a) whether majority of Dems and majority of Reps supported president’s position, b) percentage of each member’s agreement with the president’s position on all foreign policy positions  Ideological measures: conservative, moderate, liberal in accordance with ADA scores




28  Bipartisanship results:  Unevenness across time; Truman era low bipartisanship  Senate more likely to be bipartisan than House, but bipartisanship always relatively high compared with parliamentary systems  Change after Johnson  Partisanship results:  Generally a large gap between support by parties except for Eisenhower and Senate for Johnson; thus partisanship always has been significant  Generally larger gap in House  Lower levels of own party support in House than Senate  Still significant support by other party in both House and Senate

29  Ideology  Conservatives from both parties least likely to support presidents up through Johnson; then support conservative Republicans and oppose all others.  Liberals most likely to support presidents up through Johnson, then oppose conservative Republicans  Overall support by opposition party of all ideological hues has fluctuated but remained depressed since Nixon

30  Dated, but probably still holds true  Importance of ideological identification  Variations in support  Differences between Senate and House

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