Presidential power can be viewed in terms of Domestic and Foreign affairs. This chapter discusses how the presiden’ts normal problem with domestic policy is to get congressional support for the programs he prefers, while in foreign affairs he can almost always get support for policies that he believes will protect the nation. The president soon discovers that he has more policy preference in domestic matters than in foreign policy.
THE RECORD OF PRESIDENTIAL CONTROL
It takes great crisis for presidents to succeed in controlling domestic policy. From the end of the 1930s to the present presidents have often been frustrated in their domestic programs. In the realm of foreign policy there has not been a single major issue on which presidents, when they were serious and determined, have failed. Derious etbacks to the president in controlling foreign policy are extraordinary and unusual. Presidents have significantly better records in foreing policy and defense matters than in domestic policies.
WORLD EVENTS AND PRESIDENTIAL RESOURCES
Power in politics is control over governmental decisions. The number of nations with which the U.S. has diplomatic relations has increased; the world has also become a much more dangerous place. Our government must always be aware of the possibility of nuclear war. Yet, the mere existence of great powers with effective thermonuclear weapons would not vastly increase our rate of interaction with most other nations. We are interested in what happens everywhere because we see these events as connected with larger interests, involving the possibility of ultimate destruction. Given the overrriding fact that the world is dangerous and that small causes are percieved to ...
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...rom time to time to support or protest particular policies, they usually disappear when the immediate problem is resolved. They are most effective when most narrowly and intensely focused. But their relatively small numbers limits their significance to presidents in the vastly more important general foreign policy picture.
The fact that ther are numerous Defense policies and situations competing for a president’s attention means that it is worthwhile to organize political activity in order to affect his agenda. A president may be compelled to reconsider a problem even though he could not overtly be force to alter the prevailing policy. If presidents are convinced that the current policy is best, the likelihood of gaining sufficient force to compel a change is quiete small. The man who can build foreign policies will find presidents beating a path to his door.