The Presidency as an institution
Both the administration of Carter and Reagan were shaped by the Cold War in the aftermath of Watergate. Watergate created cynicism of the government, which in turn made governing difficult both intentionally as well as improvisational because the institution of the President was seen as acting in the best interest of itself. President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan both had their difficulties as President. Carter had terrible problems with economics as our country underwent high unemployment as well as many other economic problems. Reagan was one of the unfortunate Presidents that had to deal with assassination attempts. Both Presidents had great accomplishments both foreign and domestic. Carter ran as an anti-Washington establishment candidate. Reagan was elected four years later on a mandate for less government. The Carter and Reagan administrations are the start of an institutional evolution of the Presidency.
Reagan was good at the institutional end of the Presidency because of his belief in limited government and his ability to communicate what many in the country were feeling during the poor economy of the late 1970’s. Reagan was able to efficiently adapt to situations by using immediate change to his advantage-surviving an assassination to garner support for his tax plan and understanding the circumstances in the former Soviet Union that, with proper engagement in this “fog” of the Cold War, help bring about the demise of communism as a major power in Europe.
Reagan’s success in changing to adapt to the political terrain, yet staying on his limited core intentions, can be used as a benchmark for change in the institution of the Presidency. With excellent communication skills and intuition for reading the changes inherent in politics, Reagan was able to not only gain support for his plans and reactions, but also become the “Teflon President.”
President Jimmy Carter had trouble with the intention of his Presidency because he alienated his own political party, and received little assistance from the Republicans. Carter shunned Speaker of the House Thomas O’Neill offer to advise him on congressional relations. Carter also made fellow Democrats angry when he dropped a controversial tax rebate that he and other Democrats had worked on, right from under their noses.
However,1978 was a successful year fo...
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...dministration recommended it; such as when Carter helped negotiate a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, which was tearing apart the Middle East at the time. Carter gained praises not only from Americans, but also from people world-
Page 5 wide. Reagan had to deal with economics when he became President. He realized that something needed to be done for our struggling economic structure. Intentionally, Reagan had to do something about the economic structure and did so by proposing a tax cut that was passed by congress and in turn helped our economy get back on its feet.
The Carter and Reagan administrations are the start of an institutional evolution of the Presidency. Both the administration of Carter and Reagan were shaped by the Cold War in the aftermath of Watergate. Watergate created cynicism of the government, which in turn made governing difficult both intentionally as well as improvisational because the institution of the President was seen as acting in the best interest of itself. Carter and Reagan suffered many difficulties during their Presidencies in which they fought through and helped re-shape the Presidency during the Cold War and the aftermath of Watergate.