Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics

By Ryan J. Barilleaux | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
The Presidency and Social Policy

BYRON W. DAYNES AND GLEN SUSSMAN

Although social policy has been referred to in various ways--as policies of "emotive symbolism" ( Smith 1975), as a type of regulatory policy ( Tatalovich and Daynes 1988), as a variant of regulatory policy, namely, social regulatory policy ( Tatalovich and Daynes 1988), or as morality policy ( Mooney and Lee 1995)--it is basically public policy possessing legal authority that has the potential of affecting moral practices, individual standards of behavior, as well as community values. The social policies we will refer to in this chapter will include pornography, abortion, gun control, homosexuality, school prayer, affirmative action, and environmental policy. 1

Each of these social policies has at one time or another become politicized. Thus, it is surprising that scholars have basically ignored social policies in their research on the presidency. Several reasons may account for this oversight. To begin with, despite recent attention paid to social issues and presidential politics in 1996, 2 no social issue has ever been a determining factor in a presidential campaign. Not until 1992, for example, was abortion--one of the more visible social issues--considered a contributing factor to a presidential election outcome ( Wattier, Daynes, and Tatalovich 1997: 69). Nor can one always find social policy to be part of a president's program. A president realizes that social policy politics can often result in a "no-win" situation, losing as many votes as are gained. Moreover, when a president has become involved with social policies, it has not always been his own choice but has been the result of a position forced on him. This occurred with both Presidents Ford and Carter who only reluctantly took a position on abortion. Or the president has taken such a posture because of an unusual circumstance or because of a crisis situation.

Social issues have also provided some presidents with an avenue to strengthen their political bonds with certain constituencies, as Lyndon Johnson found from

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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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