Richard Neustadt: The Power Of The Presidency

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It was Richard Neustadt who said that “the power of the Presidency is simply the power to persuade”, referring to the United States political system, made up of checks and balances, in which the President of the US has to coax and persuade Congress to their will on any legislative decision. Neustadt is a very interesting character, as he was on the advisory board for Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), who is focussed on in this essay. Neustadt also wrote this quote just before John F. Kennedy came into office, crucially, after the other President I will look at, Dwight D. Eisenhower, left office. His statement is very credible and still has very real implications to modern American politics, where it seems persuasion has many more outlets in the media driven political landscape than it ever has done. Votes are won and lots through the meticulous attention paid by journalists to politicians. However, persuasion is only necessary if the President in fact wishes to pursue an overtly active Presidential tenure, as Lyndon B. Johnson did, and not if they preferred working in a lot less limelight, like Eisenhower. Yet this lack of perceived action does not always reduce the power of the President, especially in regards to domestic policy. Dwight D. Eisenhower did not in any outward fashion…show more content…
Eisenhower by the public and historians, suitably captured by Boyle, who says he had “a surprising degree of calculated cunning, which, paradoxically, made him appear quite incorrectly, to be an amateurish political innocent” . Echoes of Eisenhower’s criticised behaviour of being too pre-occupied with leisure pursuits, like golf, can be seen with George W. Bush Jr. Yet, does this undermine Eisenhower’s power as president? Interestingly, this dual interpretation of Eisenhower’s behaviour can be seen in the major domestic problems he had to face in his presidency, which also gives us an insight into whether his power was at all
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