Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics

By Ryan J. Barilleaux | Go to book overview

As the two most popularly elected organs of the national government and the ones through which the people's views are most directly represented, the interrelation of the two is of utmost importance to the student of representative government. Studies concerning presidential leadership and power, the presidency in the public policy process, and the foreign policy presidency all are important at this level. So is a concern with the president's relationship with the federal courts, both in the appointment process and in the courtroom itself.


CONCLUSION

Presidents have long considered themselves to be the representatives of the American people. Political scientist, historians and other public thinkers, and even the Supreme Court have made similar assumptions about the office and its occupants. Although any regularly occurring thoughts about the office should occasion scholarly concern, conceiving of the presidents as a representative cuts so close to the heart of America's tradition of representative democracy as to demand special scholarly and public attention. And yet, puzzling as it is, the topic has gotten very little serious attention from students of the office.

Conceiving of the president as a representative in the American political system inevitably invites us to raise anew the central questions, that have arisen about executive power throughout the history of free government in Europe and America. How much power should we invest in our chief executive? How is that one man to be properly accountable for his actions? What is the proper relationship between the single executive and those other representatives assembbled in the legislature? What should be the relationship between the people's will and the president's actions? What does the way choose our executive say about the possibilities of the president being properly representative?

At the end of the twentieth century with the responsibilities of the federal government no longer growing, with the end of the Cold War, and with a variety of commentators urging us to make fundamental changes in our democratic processes, this is the proper time for scholars to rethink the presidency by thinking about its role as a representative in the political system. Such a concern is not only good for the field of presidential studies but will be a service to representative democracy as well.


NOTES
1.
I have elsewhere attempted a preliminary exploration of these important questions dealing with the president as representative. See The Presidential Republic: Executive Representation and Deliberative Democracy (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997) on which part of the present chapter has been based.
2.
I particularly exclude from this analysis my own study The Presidential Republic. It will be for others to determine the importance of that work.
3.
For a fine example of a study that takes a systematic perspective on the office, see

-34-

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Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I - The First Frontier: The Nature of the Office 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Normative Study of the Presidency 3
  • Notes 17
  • Chapter 2 - The President as Representative 23
  • Notes 34
  • References 35
  • Chapter 3 Washington And/Or Versailles: the White House as a Court Society 37
  • References 51
  • Chapter 4 - Electing Presidents and Other Potentates 53
  • Part II - New Insights on Power and Policy 77
  • Chapter 5 - The Overlooked Relevance of the Pardon Power 79
  • References 96
  • Chapter 6 - The Presidency and Social Policy 99
  • References 114
  • Chapter 7 - The Other Side of War: Presidential Peace Powers 119
  • References 133
  • Chapter 8 - The President and Federal Reserve Nominations 135
  • References 146
  • Part III - New Political and Cultural Frontiers 149
  • Chapter 9 - The Presidency as a Cultural Pulpit 151
  • References 175
  • Chapter 10 - The Other Side of Power: Who Is Left Out of Presidential Rhetoric? 179
  • References 190
  • Chapter 11 - First Partner: First Ladies and Their Roles 195
  • Appendix 221
  • Notes 223
  • References 223
  • Afterword 227
  • References 230
  • Index 231
  • About the Contributors 235
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