Sunday, October 3, 2010

Richard Neustadt, Presidential Power: Chapter 1, "Leader or Clerk?"

This is a strategic examination of presidential influence. Key questions: what is the nature of this influence and how do presidents sustain and increase it?

This is an examination of the "mid-century" presidency, which is characterized by an unusual continuity of issues, an unprecedented complexity of policy challenges, and the weakening of political party ties.

Presidents have been burdened both legally and by consensus with a greatly expanded set of tasks. In performing these tasks, they are beset by five constituencies -- executive officials, legislators, supporters, the public, and foreign countries. These tasks and pressures impose a kind of limitation on a president's ability to set his own agenda -- Neustadt calls this clerkship to suggest its conflict with leadership.

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