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PO 226 Midterm Review.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Political Science
Thomas Heuglin

PO 226 Midterm Review 2/9/2013 3:44:00 PM Gridlock  The inability of the government to act because rival parties control different parts of the government  Is a necessary consequence of a system of representative democracy  Opposite of direct democracy Tonkin Gulf Resolution  Joint resolution that the US congress passed in response to Gulf of Tonkin incident  Gave Lyndon Johnson authorization without formal declaration of war by congress for the use of conventional military force  Authorized the president to do whatever necessary in order to assist any member or protocol state The Three Audiences  Because of the sketchy constitutional powers given to the president and the lack of an assured legislative majority, the president must rely heavily on persuasion if he is to accomplish much  The presidents persuasive powers are aimed at three audiences: o 1. Washington DC, audience of fellow politicians and leaders- reputation among these affect how much deference his views receive and thus how much power he can yield o 2. Party Activists and Officeholders outside DC  partisan grassroots  these people want the president to exemplify their principles, trumpet their slogans, appeal to their fear and hopes, and help them get reelected o 3. “The Public”- really, many publics with a different view or set of interests Bully Pulpit  Presidents have made fewer impromptu remarks since FDR o Rely on more on prepared speeches  Hoover and FDR held 6 or 7 press conferences a month but every president from Nixon to Clinton has held barely one  Modern presidents instead make formal speeches  Use of these speeches is called the bully pulpit o Means taking advantage of the prestige and visibility of the presidency to try to guide or mobilize the American people  Ability to take an issue and make it their own o Ex. Gun control Filibuster  A type of parliamentary procedure where debate is extended, allowing one or more members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal  Also known as talking out a bill  Characterized as a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision making body Veto  the constitution gives the president the power to veto legislation  most presidents have asserted the right of executive privilege or the right to withhold info that congress may want to obtain  these efforts are not only a way of blocking action but also a way of forcing congress to bargain with him over the substance of policies  if a president disapproves of a bill passed by both houses of congress he may veto it in one of two ways: o Veto message: a statement that the president sends to congress accompanying the bill, within 10 days after the bill has been passed  In it he sets for his reasons for not signing the bill o Pocket Veto: if the president does not sign the bill within 10 days and congress has adjourned within that time, then the bill will not become law  Can be used only during a certain time of year  A bill not signed or vetoed within 10 days while congress is in session it automatically becomes law  A vetoed bill can be passed over the presidents objections if at least 2/3rds of each house votes to override it Line Item Veto  The president must accept or reject the entire bill  Presidents do not have the power, possessed by most governors, to exercise a line item veto o With which the chief executive can approve some provisions of a bill and disapprove others  Congress could take advantage of this by putting items the president did not like into a bill he otherwise favored, forcing him to approve these provisions Jay Treaty  Treaty between US and Britain  Credited with averting war, resolving issues remaining since the end of the American Revolution, and facilitating 10 years of peaceful trade  Contested by Jeffersonians- feared that close economic ties with Britain would strengthen the federalist party, promote aristocracy and undercut republicanism Executive Privilege  The constitution says nothing about whether the president is obliged to divulge private communications between himself and his advisors o But they have acted as if they do have a privilege of confidentiality  Based on two grounds: o 1. Doctrine of the separation of powers means that one branch does not have the right to enquire about another o 2. The principles of statecraft and prudent administration require that the president has the right to obtain confidential advice from subordinates  supreme court did not require the disclosure of confidential communications until Nixon Signing Statements  A presidential document that reveals what the president thinks of a new law and how it ought to be enforced  Members of congress are upset by this practice o Because to them t often blocks the enforcement of a law congress has passed and so it is equivalent to an unconstitutional line item veto  These documents not only clarify how the law should be implemented but also allow the president to declare what part of the law is in his view unconstitutional and thus ought not to be enforced at all Fiscal Cliff  Sharp decline in the budget deficit that could have occurred beginning in 2013 due to increased taxed and reduced spending as required by previously enacted laws  Would have likely led to a mild recession with higher unemployment, followed by strengthening in the labor market with increased economic growth Debt Ceiling  Is a legislative restriction on the amount of national debt that can be issued by the treasury  Since expenditures are authorized by separate legislation, the debt ceiling does not actually restrict deficits  Only restrains the treasury from paying for expenditures that have already been incurred Legislative Veto  The authority of congress to block a presidential action after is has taken place  The supreme court has held that congress does not have this power  First authorized by the Reorganization Act in 1939  Could be used to change, but not create or abolish an executive agency  Two years later the supreme court declared all legislative vetoes unconstitutional - today any presidential reorganization plan would have to take the form of regular law Impeachment  One other way besides death, disability, or resignation by which a president can leave office before his term expires  President, VP, and all civil officers can be removed this way  Changes against a president approved by a majority of the House of Representatives  Only two presidents have been impeached o Johnson and Clinton o Neither were convicted Entitlement Money  Programmed already o Social security  Programs people have paid into over the years and are entitled to in a certain way  Can’t be touched when government spending is cut  To coordinate all budgets for all departments The Bureaucracy Bureaucracy  A large, complex organization composed of appointed officials  Authority is divided among several managers o No one person is able to make all decisions  Large corporations, big universities, government agencies  An out-growth of representative democracy  The constitution permits both the president and congress to exercise authority over the bureaucracy Proxy Government  Washington pays state and local government and private groups to staff and administer federal programs  Much of the federal bureaucracy operates on this principle  In representative governments, the voters elect legislators who make laws o But in the US bureaucrats after pay “other people” to do the work  “other people” include state and local governments, business firms and non profit organizations o programs run this way:  social security and Medicare Discretionary Authority  The power of the bureaucracy depends on the extent to which appointed officials have this  It is the extent to which appointed bureaucrats can choose courses of action
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