Political Science

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Describe and discuss the powers of the presidency in the US.

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When we think of our government, we often tend to think that the President is in charge.  We talk about Obama's agenda and what laws Obama has made.  But what we often tend to overlook is that the president has very little legislative power.

The president's power, as a famous political scientist has said, is the power to persuade.  The president has no vote in Congress and he (or someday she) cannot even formally introduce a bill.  Of course, presidents can and do propose bills, but they have no formal clout that allows them to get those bills passed.

We can see this with President Obama's current jobs bill.  It is going nowhere because Congress does not believe in it.  Obama's only means of pushing his legislation is to persuade the people that it is a good idea and hope that they will pressure Congress.  This is not happening.

A president can only hope to persuade the people and the Congress to do what he wants.  Sometimes, when he is popular, this is relatively easy.  Other times, like now, when the President is unpopular and faces strong opposition from the other party in Congress, he has almost no power at all.

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