The President and Policy Implementation

The President and Policy Implementation

The two sources claim that the President does not matter because of the continued demonstration of the lack of ability to significantly influence policy as the public hopes. Klein for instance, highlights the perpetual historical failures of the presidency to implement policy changes that will lead to the existence of a comprehensive health insurance cover, giving the example of failures by leaders such as Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. These perennial failures shared by leaders he argues cannot all be failures, Ezra believes must be blamed on the institution of the presidency, as the checks and balances essentially tie the hands of all white house occupants. Further, both the podcast and the article argue that the president similar to a CEO does not really influence the performance of the country be it in an economic sense, healthcare policies, or other legislative and administrative issues as the public likes to think, because all he can do is mostly provide leadership through various appointments, but not really dictate how these issues progress, as a majority of this depends on the team he appoints. As such, even though he does play a key role, it is not as significant as the public wishes to think.
The president has vastly less powers than is commonly believed in areas such as the economy, which according to Klein’s assertions, is clearly highlighted by the behavior of the stock markets. According to Klein, the stocks fared slightly poorly when the public thought John Kerry would win the presidency, and improved significantly when it became clear that president Bush would reclaim a second term. This is a clear demonstration of how much of an influence the president actually has on an economy. Essentially all the president can do is to appoint a team and try to push through favorable legislaton, which might actually be harder to accomplish than is thought.
The only option, through which a government can function with a weak presidency effectively, is to control both houses (the senate and congress). This would actually allow for the party in power to shape policies that would guide important issues within the country as well as drive their own agenda. This would then have the effect of allowing the weak presidency to push through legislation favorable to its cause. I do not believe that the framers of the constitution intended for the presidency to be a weak office, as historically speaking, the founding fathers were themselves strong individuals with great hopes for the country, they would not therefore have shot themselves in the foot by limiting how much of an influence they can exert on policy making. However, due to attempts to try and institute checks and balances, the constitution ended up creating a weak presidency incapable of influencing legislation as much as would have been hoped.
The president is sometimes helpless in carrying out some of the campaign promises due to the other arms of government, namely: the legislature and the judiciary. These arms of government usually act as huge impediments to the president actually being able to carry out and fulfill campaign pledges for instance through opposing legislation that would allow him to do so, or through unfavorable judgments. Personally, I still believe that the presidency does matter, more so if the party in power is also able to garner a majority in both houses. It is the presidency that appoints the team charged with implementing changes, as well as with drafting the policy proposals aimed at effecting those changes, not to mention campaigning for these policies

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