The Cabinet and Politics: I
F ACE-TO-FACE contact between the President and his Cabinet is occasional and limited. Both parties make their greatest expenditure of time and energy in activities beyond the immediate President-Cabinet nexus. For the Chief Executive, there are the multiple tasks of leadership -- formal and informal, legal or extra-legal. For the Cabinet member, there are a host of involvements arising out of his departmental, constituency, partisan, and legislative relationships. What is the effect of these extensive extra-Cabinet activities on the President-Cabinet relationship? Do they help to account for the group behavior we have observed in the Cabinet meeting? Will the individual member's other involvements affect his position as adviser and "chief lieutenant" to the President? The answer to these questions must be sought by moving beyond the immediate President-Cabinet nexus and into the political system as a whole.
The President, it is commonly said, is "many men." He plays at least four distinguishable yet overlapping and frequently conflicting roles -- as Chief Representative of the Nation, Chief of his Party, Chief Legislator, and Chief Executive. His leadership, like all leadership, can be understood in terms of the interrelation of personal and situational phenomena. In playing his variety of roles, singly or in juxtaposition, the President will be required to demonstrate many different personal abilities, involving intelligence, skill, and temperament. He will be required, also, to function in different contexts, with regard for the limitations imposed upon him, the social constituencies to which he speaks, the degree of support he wishes to get, the goals he seeks