Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership

Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership

Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership

Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership

Excerpt

When we inaugurate a President of the United States we give a man the powers of our highest public office. From the moment he is sworn the man confronts a personal problem: how to make those powers work for him. That problem is the subject of this book. My theme is personal power and its politics: what it is, how to get it, how to keep it, how to use it. My interest is in what a President can do to make his own will felt within his own Administration; what he can do, as one man among many, to carry his own choices through that maze of personalities and institutions called the government of the United States.

This is not a book about the Presidency as an organization, or as legal powers, or as precedents, or as procedures. It is not about the politics of getting to the White House; nor is it a history of what has happened there. Least of all is it a list of what occurs there hour by hour. Fortunately, we have many books on all these other aspects of the Presidency: historical treatments, administrative surveys, nomination and election studies, contemporary commentaries, biographies galore. The reader who seeks background is referred to these; their contributions are not duplicated here.

The purpose here is to explore the power problem of the man inside the White House. This is the classic problem of the man on top in any political system: how to be on top in fact as well as name. It is a problem common to Prime Ministers and Premiers . . .

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