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The Institutional Presidency


Personal style and managerial skills of the individual ... Carter and Cyrus Vance. Reagan and Al Haig. Reagan and George Shultz. Ford and George H.W. Bush ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Institutional Presidency

Session 23
  • The Institutional Presidency
  • The Executive Office of the President

White House Staff
  • Contradictions
  • Personal style and managerial skills of the
    individual president versus characteristics that
    endure from administration to administration
  • Formality and hierarchy versus a collegial,
    informal and ad hoc organization
  • A potential tool yet bureaucratic, large, and
    difficult to use

Institutional Characteristics and Managerial
  • A brief history and background
  • tiny number of staff
  • family members
  • small salaries and budget
  • FDR - informality
  • Cabinet as a substitute?
  • borrowed staff
  • Informality in structure and assignments

  • FDR - continued
  • The Brownlow Committee
  • Larger numbers needed the president needs
  • Congress responds
  • The Reorganization Act of 1939
  • The Employment Act of 1946 Council of Economic
  • National Security Act of 1947 National Security

Growth of the White House StaffA Brief History
  • Eisenhower Administration
  • Existing units within the White House Office more
    clearly defined
  • Appointed the first chief of staff who oversaw
    domestic policy developments
  • 1953, staff of 250 500 by 1973
  • Currently 2000 including the OMB, NSC, CEA it is
    about 2000

The Institutional Presidency
  • The presidency not just the president
  • Complex Organization
  • Large in Size
  • Specialized Functions
  • Functionally defined specialized areas (example
    national security, environmental quality)
  • Presence of a central authority that coordinates
    the contributions of the institutions functional

  • Bureau of the Budget, 1921, reorganized to OMB in
  • Trade Representative, 1963
  • Policy Development, 1970
  • Environmental Quality, 1970
  • Science and Technology Policy, 1976
  • Drug Control Policy, 1989

Assistant to the President and Deputy National
Security Advisor
The Institutional Presidency
  • Differentiation from the Environment
  • A unique place in the policy process
  • Parts of the staff are organized to manage
    external relations with media, Congress, and
    different constituencies

Effects of an Institutional Presidency
  • Internal Centralization I Presidential Control
    of Policymaking
  • Pro Locates policymaking power within the
    confines of the presidency
  • Con Excludes other sources of advice
  • Carter and Cyrus Vance
  • Reagan and Al Haig
  • Reagan and George Shultz
  • Ford and George H.W. Bush
  • Clinton
  • George W. Bush

Effects of an Institutional Presidency
  • Internal Centralization II Hierarchy,
    Gate-Keeping, and
  • Presidential Isolation
  • Pros
  • Centralization of power within the staff
  • Clear lines of authority
  • Protects the presidents political standing
  • Cons
  • Corruption and abuse of power
  • A gatekeeper
  • Flawed Decisionmaking

Then Regan's tone was contemptuous. Now he grins
at the mention of Nancy's obstructiveness. "Every
government has idiosyncrasies, what can I say?"
he shrugs. "Nancy and I have buried the hatchet.
Recently we both attended the dedication of a new
carrier and we had a very nice chat. With the
former president's health going downhill, she has
mellowed." He checks himself. "I've got to be
careful about the way I say this."
Effects of an Institutional Presidency
  • Bureaucratization
  • Lower level staff takes on the character of a
    bureaucratic organization
  • Court politics
  • Politicization
  • Loss of neutral
  • competence and
  • professionalism

Putting the President Back In
  • An institution, but a personal one how to
    utilize the institution
  • Choose staff carefully and well (avoid campaign
    workers and long-time loyalists) focus on those
    with experience
  • Use informal channels of advice cabinet
    members, members of Congress, friends
  • Encourage candor from staff
  • Avoid bureaucratic entrenchment