Evaluating Presidents ' Performance Often Poses Challenges For Political Experts

Evaluating Presidents ' Performance Often Poses Challenges For Political Experts

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Understanding and evaluating presidents’ performance often poses challenges for political experts. The nation votes one president at the time and each presidency faces different tests. The environments surrounding a presidency have a tremendous impact on the success and failure of that presidency. In addition, the president exercises his power through a check and balance system embody in the Constitution. As stated in (Collier 1959), the Constitution created a government of “separated institutions sharing power.” As a result, a president works with others institutions of the government to shape the nation’s agenda. Thus, determining a presidential performance becomes difficult, especially when it comes to comparing the performance among presidencies. The question then becomes how the presidency should be accurately evaluated? Should it be evaluated in term of “success” or “influence?” (Collier 1959), suggested that some studies have chosen to focus on success while others have examined the influence. However, most studies have a focus on the presidential success arguing that, emphasis on presidential influence is too narrow. On the other hand, (Collier 1959) argued that, given the problem of the government responsiveness in a system of separate institutions sharing power, it is important to analyze the conditions that might lead to the presidential success rather the success alone. Nonetheless, to find out why success is studied more frequently than influence, required an understanding of the difference between success and influence. According to (Collier 1959), Success evaluated presidential performance in terms of the passage of the legislation supported by the President. Influence emphasizes the president’s ability to alt...


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...fails to capture the full picture surrounding the passage of a piece of legislation. For example, as (Collier 1959) remarked, the passage of a piece of legislation signed by the president may be different than the original bill introduced in the Congress. Yet, the president can still claim political victory after the bill passes. In addition, during divided government, when party control is divided between the branches, success in terms of outcomes measures may fail to capture the full picture of which player was really preventing the objective of the other.
In the end, as some scholars suggested, success and influence are dependent on the strategic goal of the President and Congress, therefore, both should be concurrently used but defined differently depending on whether the process is taking place in the unified government or a government controlled by one party.

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