AMERICAN PRESIDENCY
POLITICAL SCIENCE 350
STUDY GUIDE


Useful Web Sites:

For good biographical information about all past president, a view of their records as president, and various programs and reports on the office, you may go to the Miller Center site at: http://millercenter.org/president

For information on the current president and office go to White House site at: http://www.whitehouse.gov

For information on former presidents go to the Presidential Libraries site maintained by the National  Archives at: http://www.archives.gov/presidential_libraries/addresses/addresses.html

For links to Official US Executive Branch Web Sites go to the page maintained by the Library of Congress at: http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/fedgov.html

To watch the American Experience programs on Presidents go to: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/

For very good resources on the presidency maintained by George C. Edwards III  at Texas A&M University go to:
http://presdata.tamu.edu/

To view many of the most well known television ads used in presidential campaigns, go to the following site: http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1952

For very useful information and data on different presidential administrations, go to the following site:  http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/

For videos of important presidential speeches you may go to: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/media.php

REQUIRED READINGS:

Robert E. Diclerico.  The Contemporary American President.  First Edition. New York: Pearson, 2013. 

 

James C. Pffifner and Roger H. Davidson.  Understanding the Presidency.  Seventh Edition.  New York: Pearson, 2013. 

 

Sidney M. Milkis and Michael Nelson.  The American Presidency.  Sixth Edition.  Washington, D.C.: Sage CQ Press, 2012. 

Students should also make extensive use of the resources on the Presidency available at the Miller Center site at: http://millercenter.org/president

Students are expected to follow news items of national and international importance found in The National Journal (a good nonpartisan source of news found at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/ ) and other news sources listed later in this syllabus.  Being aware of current political developments is important to good citizenship.  Each exam will have at least one essay question requiring students to reflect on current political news.  Students will be expected to follow the 2014 mid-term elections and the meaning of those elections for the Presidency. 

They should be checking on the facts presented in debates over the Obama administration, public policy, and competing claims regarding the issues and candidates in this year’s mid-term elections by making extensive use of the following site:  http://www.factcheck.org/
Many thoughtful students sometimes wonder how much they can trust information about politics they encounter when viewing political ads and reading political editorials. They also worry about the objectivity of media news reports. Both conservatives and liberals complain about the distortion of facts found in the political ads run by the other side and various websites sponsored by opposition ideological groups. Distorting the views and positions of the opposition to make them look as bad as possible is an all too typical campaign technique. As a citizen and a student you not only should consider examining many different perspectives and sources of information but also make use of above site sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The experts at this site check out the factual accuracy of many political speeches, ads, and news releases. They take on both the left and the right, finding errors put out by democrats and republicans. This site is especially useful when elections approach in examining current political debates over public policy.
Being aware of current political developments is important to good citizenship.  Each exam will have at least one essay question requiring students to reflect on current political news regarding the presidency.


Students are required to view all the available American Experience documentaries on presidents found at:   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/

Outline of Assignments for the Semester:

Week 1 Introduction to the study of the Presidency; The Constitution and the Presidency; Washington  
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 1, Readings 1-5
           The Constitution
           Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 1, 2, 3
           Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
           Also read about Washington at: http://www.mountvernon.org/meet-george-washington/biography-and-influence and be sure to read the accompanying links about his presidency; and http://bibowen.hubpages.com/hub/President-George-Washington

Special Topics:

Part 1. Introduction to the study of the Presidency
           What are the principal approaches to studying the Presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What are some of the different ways one might go about trying to understand the presidency?   
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of studying the presidency?
3.  What are some of the main challenges in trying to study the office?
4.  What factors complicate judging the behavior of those who hold the office?

Part 2. Creating the Presidency
           What were the most important issues at the Constitutional Convention regarding the office of the Presidency?
           What does the Constitution have to say about the Presidency?
           What were the challenges faced by the first two presidents in establishing the office?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What were the principal debates at the Constitutional Convention about the presidency?
2.  How did these debates get resolved?
3.  How did colonial experiences influence those debates?
4.  How did experiences under the Articles of Confederation influence those debates?
5.  How important and prophetic was Hamilton's vision of the office?
6.  What were the main fears regarding the office?
7.  What do you think the framers would think of the office today?
8.  What are your expectations about the office?
9.  As you were growing up what did you learn and think about the office and the individuals who have been president?
10. What are the principal constitutional parameters of the office?  (Understand the rules governing the office, its powers, and limitations under the Constitution.)

Part 3. Case Study:  Washington
Questions for Class Discussion:

1. What were the important issues and problems facing the first president?
2. How did Washington contribute to our understanding of the office?
3. What crises confronted the office under Washington?
4. How did the behavior of Washington shape the future of the office?
5. Was Washington a statesman, a politician, or both?
6. Why do we hold him in such esteem?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #1 In this essay you should explain what the office of the Presidency owes to Washington.

Week 2 The Early Presidency After Washington – from Adams to Jackson; Historical Perspectives on the Presidency
Sept. 1-5

Read:  Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 3, 4, 5
          
Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 2, Readings 6-10
           Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
Special Topics:
Part 1.  What do challenges that faced the Adams administration tell us about the Presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What were the achievements of Adams as president?
2.  How was he damaged by leaders in his own political party?
3.  What problems did he face within his own cabinet?
4.  What were the main crises he faced as president?
5.  What were his chief mistakes and shortcomings?
6.  Why was he defeated in his re-election bid?

Part 2.  What did Jefferson contribute to the office?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. How did Jefferson understand the nature of presidential power?
2. What were the main challenges facing his administration and how did he respond to them?
3. How did foreign policy issues shape his presidency?
4. What issues did he face in expanding the nation’s territory? 
5. What were his chief accomplishments as president?
6.  What were his major shortcomings?
7.  Why is he generally held in such high esteem?
8.  What was his vision for the nation?

Part 3.  How did Jackson shape the office?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. How did Jackson understand presidential power?
2. How did he transform the presidency?
3. What were the chief issues facing his presidency and how did he address them?
4. How does he represent the populist tradition in American politics?
5. What were his main achievements and shortcomings as president?
6.  What is the nature of his legacy?

Part 4. 
What have been some of the principal positions regarding the valid scope of Presidential powers?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What are the claims of the strict constructionist view of the presidency advanced by Taft?
2. What are the claims of the stewardship view of presidential leadership advanced by T. Roosevelt?
3. How did Wilson understand the nature of presidential leadership?
4. What did Lincoln contribute to our understanding of presidential power and leadership?
5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these conceptions of presidential power and leadership?
6. What forces have shaped the modern presidency?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #2 What lessons should presidents today learn from the administrations of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson?  Explain what their experiences can teach us about the office today.

Week 3  Public Opinion and the Presidency; The Media and the Presidency
Sept. 8-12
 
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 4, Readings 17-20
            DiClerico, Chpt. 4
            Milkis & Nelson, Chpt. 8
            Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
            Watch the following documentaries:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/tr/
                                                                      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/wilson/
            Study the data on the following sites:
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/popularity.php
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/initial_approval.php
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/100days_approval.php 
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/final_approval.php
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/newsconferences.php

Special Topics:


Part 1.  What are some of the primary factors that influence Presidential popularity?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What factors influence presidential popularity and job approval ratings?
2.  Why are some presidents more popular than others?
3.  Why do job approval ratings sometimes change dramatically during a president’s term in office?

Part 2.  How do Presidents try to shape public opinion?  
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  Which factors do presidents have little control over when it comes to public approval?
2.  What do presidents do to hurt their own popularity?
3.  What do they do to advance their own popularity?
4.  What tools are available to the White House in trying to shape public opinion?
5.  What do presidents need to do in this area?
6.  Which presidents have been most successful in this area?

Part 3. Why is the relationship between the President and the press often strained? How has that relationship evolved over the years?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  How has the media environment confronting presidents evolved over time?
2.  How have presidents responded to the changing media environment?
3.  What is the basis of the adversarial relationship that often exists between presidents and the press?
4.  How do presidents often make this relationship even worse?
5.  How do presidents try to influence media coverage?
6.  Has the office itself changed in terms of changes in the media environment?

Part 4. The battle for public opinion - Case studies: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. How did Theodore Roosevelt understand presidential power and leadership?
2. How did he transform the presidency?
3. What were the chief issues facing his presidency and how did he address them?
4. How did he see America’s role in the world?
5. How did he view public opinion?
6. What were his main achievements and shortcomings as president?
7. What is the nature of his legacy?
8. How did Woodrow Wilson understand the nature of his office?
9. How did he understand the requirements of presidential leadership?
10. How did he transform the presidency?
11. What were the chief issues facing his presidency and how did he address them?
12. How did he see America’s role in the world?
13. What was his vision for the world?
14. What did he owe to and contribute to the liberal tradition of the West?
15. What were his main achievements and shortcomings as president?
16. What is the nature of his legacy?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #3 Explain the most important factors that shape public perceptions of the President and job approval ratings.  What can Presidents do and what should they not do in regard to building and maintaining popular support?

Week 4  The Debate Over the Extent of Presidential Power
Sept. 15-19 
Read: Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 5, Reading 24; Section 7, Readings 31, 32; Section 9, Readings 40, 42
          Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
          Watch the Frontline program, “Cheney’s Law” at:  http://video.pbs.org/video/1082073775/
          Information on presidential signing statements: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/signingstatements.php
          Information on executive orders: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

Special Topics:

Part 1. How have Presidential powers evolved?  What dynamic social, economic, political and military forces have shaped the emergence of the modern presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What forces have shaped the modern presidency?
2. How have presidential powers evolved?
3. What forces place limits on those powers?

Part 2. Is there an Imperial Presidency?  What is involved in the debate over the theory of the unitary executive?
           To what extent has Obama’s exercise and claims of executive power resembled those of his predecessor?  To what extent are there differences?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What do some critics means when they speak of an imperial presidency?
2. Has presidential power gone too far?
3. What are the claims made for and criticisms of the unitary executive theory?
4. How did the George W. Bush and Richard Cheney understand the nature of executive power?
5. Is there an Imperial Presidency?  What is involved in the debate over the theory of the unitary executive?
6. What is meant when scholars talk about the administrative presidency?
7. What is the proper scope of unilateral powers belonging to the office?
8. To what extend does the Obama administration share the views of the Bush administration on presidential power?
9.  To what extend does the Obama administration reject the views of the Bush administration on presidential power?

Part 3.  First test
Note:  Your first test for the semester will
be on Tuesday, Sept. 16 and will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 5   The Selection Process
Sept. 22-26     Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 3, Readings 11-16
                               DiClerico, Chpt. 1
                               Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
Exit poll data on 2004 Elections: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/
Exit poll data on 2008 Elections: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/
Exit poll data on 2012 Elections:
http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/race/president?hpt=hp_inthenews and http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/results/president/exit-polls
Compare exit poll results between 2008 and 2012 at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/2012-exit-polls/table.html
Gallup data on voting by different demographic groups in presidential elections 1952-2012:
 http://www.gallup.com/poll/139880/Election-Polls-Presidential-Vote-Groups.aspx#1
Special Topics
Part 1. How does one go about becoming President?  How do Presidential candidates get nominated?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  How has the party system evolved over time?
2.  How is the current nomination process different from earlier nomination processes?
3.  What are the most important things to know about how to get nominated?
4.  What sorts of candidates are favored by the current nomination process?
5.  What are some of the major criticisms of how we nominate presidential candidates?
6.  What are some of the major reform proposals for the nomination process? 
 
Part 2. What factors shape the conduct and results of Presidential elections?  How have presidential elections evolved since World War II?
           Is this nation served well by the manner in which it selects Presidents? Should the process be changed?
Questions for class discussion:
1. What does it take to win in the general election?
2. What are the most important factors shaping the outcome of presidential elections?
3. How much is shaped by forces beyond the control of the campaigns?
4. How much is shaped by the campaigns?
5. How does the Electoral College system shape the conduct of campaigns?
6. Should the rules of the game be changed?
7. What should be noted about the changing length, costs, technology, and tactics found in presidential elections?
8. Can or should anything be done about the costs of presidential campaigns and how they are financed?

Part 3. Case Study: What can be learned from Elections 2004, 2008, 2012?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What can be learned from the experiences of the last three presidential campaigns?
2. What factors had the greatest impact on the outcomes in those elections? 
3. Is there such a thing as a presidential mandate?
4. What are the main tasks presidents face as party leaders when they try to govern?
5. What forces limit a president's party leadership?
6. Under what circumstances are presidents able to be successful in their role as party leader?
7. What are some of the major criticisms of how we elect presidents?
8. What are some of the major reform proposals for the general election?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise # 4 Explain the main factors at work in Barack Obama winning the 2008 election and his re-election in 2012. 

Week 6   The President and Congress
Sept. 29 – Oct. 3

Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 6, Readings 25-28; Section 7, Reading 29
           DiClerico, Chpt. 3
           Milkis & Nelson, Chpt. 7, 8, 11
           Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
           Watch the following documentary online:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/lbj/
           For an excellent study of ideological polarization in Congress go to the following site: http://nationaljournal.com/magazine/congress-hits-new-peak-in-polarization-20110224
           Make use of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum at: http://www.lbjlibrary.org/
           Make sure to read the material found at: http://www.lbjlibrary.org/about-lbj/timeline.html and http://www.lbjlibrary.org/about-lbj/ 
Special Topics:
Part 1. What does the President have going for him in dealing with the Congress?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What were the main shortcomings of so many post-Civil War presidents?
2.  How did Congress go about reasserting itself after Lincoln?
3.  What was at stake in the battle over the impeachment of Johnson?
4.  What tools did Congress use to dominate presidents in the second half of the nineteenth century?
5.  How did some of the presidents of that period try to resist Congressional domination?
6.  How would 20th century developments within American society transform the presidency?
7.  How did the Progressives transform the relationship between the Presidency and Congress?
8.  What did FDR and the New Deal mean for the relationship between the Presidency and Congress?
9.  What do Presidents have going for them in dealing with the Congress?
10.  What institutional tools do presidents have in dealing with Congress?
11. What are some of the most successful tactics presidents use in trying to influence Congress?
12. What circumstances favor presidential leadership of Congress?
12. What are the some of the biggest mistakes presidents make in dealing with Congress?
13.  How would you explain Barack Obama’s relationship with Congress thus far during his time in office?

Part 2. What forces limit Presidential influence with Congress?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What are the some of the biggest mistakes presidents make in dealing with Congress?
2.  Why is legislative leadership so difficult for presidents?
3.  What resources does Congress have in challenging presidents?
4.  What circumstances favor congressional dominance?
5.  Is presidential leadership of Congress more difficult in recent times?

Part 3. Case Study:  LBJ
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What were Johnson's strengths in dealing with Congress?
2.  What were his chief accomplishments in dealing with Congress?
3.  What damaged his relations with Congress?
4.  What was the Johnson treatment?
5.  What lessons should be learned from his relationship with Congress?
6.  What were his greatest achievements as President?
7.  What led him to escalate the war in Vietnam?
8   Why did he fail in Vietnam?
9.  What is the nature of his legacy?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #5 Why are some presidents more successful in getting their domestic agenda enacted by Congress than others? What makes for Presidential success in dealing with Congress? 

Week 7  Evaluating Presidential Greatness and Leadership
Oct. 6-10              

Read:  DiClerico, Chpt. 10
       Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 6, 9, 10
       Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
       Watch the following documentary online:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/fdr/
       Online articles and surveys on ranking great presidents: You may check out some rankings of presidents at: http://www.americanpresidents.org/survey/historians
       Make use of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum at:  http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/resources.html
       Make sure to read the material found at:  http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/facts.html
       Read about Lincoln at: http://www.biography.com/people/abraham-lincoln-9382540 
           There is an interesting book review of Robert W. Merry’s recent book, Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians in the July-August Issue of journal the National Interest at:   
           http://nationalinterest.org/bookreview/the-great-white-house-rating-game-7063
           Special Topics:

Part 1. What makes for Presidential greatness?  How do most surveys tend to rank our past presidents?  Which ones are seen as great?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  How have the experts rated presidents on the greatness scale?
2.  What makes for presidential greatness?
3.  Why do the rankings change in certain cases?
4.  Do rankings tell us more about the presidents or about the rankers?
5.  How do you rate recent presidents?
6.  What factors shape such rankings?
7.  Is greatness more a function of the times or of the person?

Part 2. Case Study:  Abraham Lincoln
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  Why does Lincoln usually top rankings of great presidents?
2.  What were his strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
3.  What did Lincoln contribute to the Presidency?
4.  What is the nature of his legacy?
5.  What should we learn from his leadership?

Part 3. Case Study:  Franklin Roosevelt
Questions for Class Discussion
:
1. Why is FDR considered by most experts to have been the greatest president of the 20th century?
2. What were FDR's greatest skills?
3.  What did he contribute to the Presidency?
4.  What were his strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
5.  What is the nature of his legacy?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #6 What criteria should be used in evaluating presidential leadership and greatness?  Why are such evaluations so difficult and often controversial?

Week 8  Oct. 13-17
FALL BREAK   OCTOBER 13-14 (Since this class meets once a week on Tuesdays, we do not have class this week.)

Week 9    Recent One Term Presidents
Oct. 20-24  Read: Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 11, 12
                             DeClerico, Chpt. 7 – pp. 336-340; Chpt. 11 – pp. 472-476
                             Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
                 Watch the following documentaries online:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/carter  
                                                                                    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/bush/               
                 You may go to the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum at: http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/  and check out biographical material at: http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/documents/jec/jecbio.phtml  and a view of his record as president at: http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/documents/jec/chron.phtml
                 You may go to the George Bush Library and Museum at: http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/
                  You may also go to the Miller Center for more information on Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush (Bush domestic policies: http://millercenter.org/president/bush/essays/biography/4 and Bush foreign policies: http://millercenter.org/president/bush/essays/biography/5 )
Special Topics:
Part 1. Case Study:  Carter
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  How did Carter get his party’s nomination?
2.  How did he manage to win the 1976 presidential election?
3.  What were his strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
4.  What were his most significant successes and failures?
5.  What were the most important challenges he faced as president?
6.  How should one judge his presidency?
7.  What should be noted about his career since leaving office?

Part 2. Case Study:  George H. W. Bush (Bush 41)
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What path did Bush follow to the White House?
2.  How did he manage to win the 1988 presidential election?
3.  What were his strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
4.  What were his most significant successes and failures?
5.  What were the most important challenges he faced as president?
6.  How should one judge his presidency?
7.  How does his presidency compare and contrast to that of his son?

Note:  You will have your second test on Tuesday, Oct. 21.  It will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 10    The Presidency, National Security, Foreign Policy, and Emergency Powers

Oct. 27-31    
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 8, Readings 34-38
           DiClerico, Chpts. 2, 8
           Milkis & Nelson, Chpt. 10, 11
           Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
           Review the work of the National War Powers Commission: http://millercenter.org/policy/commissions/warpowers
                                                                                                   http://web1.millercenter.org/reports/warpowers/report.pdf
           Watch the following documentaries:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/truman/
                                                                      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/jfk/   
           The War Powers Act, 1973 at: http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cases/nat-sec/War-Powers-r.htm  
           Optional:  CRS report on War Powers Act after 30 years: http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL32267.html  
Special Topics:
Part 1. What is the extent of the President’s powers in making foreign policy?
           What limits a President’s powers in making foreign policy? 
           What institutional resources do President’s have in this area?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  Why are presidents the dominant player in the making of foreign policy?
2.  What forces limit presidential leadership in foreign policy?
3.  How does Fisher describe the intentions of the framers of the Constitution when it comes to foreign policy?
4.  How do defenders of the presidency go about rejecting the position taken by the “constitutionalists” on this matter?
5.  What did Aaron Wildavsky mean by the two presidencies thesis?
6.  What is the importance of the 1936 case of United States v. Curtiss-Wright?
7.  What factors help to explain the degree of influence Congress may have on some foreign policy issues?
8.  What are the advantages presidents have in dealing with Congress on foreign policy matters?
9.  What institutional resources serve the president in making foreign policy?
10. What institutional problems confront presidential decision making in foreign policy?
11. How did Congress try to check presidential power with the 1973 War Powers Act?
12. What proposals were put forth by the National War Powers Commission regarding the roles of the president and Congress in the use of force abroad?
13. What are some of the other ways Congress tries to compete with the president in this area?

Part 2. Case Study: Truman

Questions for Class Discussion:

1.     What were Truman’s major achievements as president?
2. What were his strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
3. What were his major failures?

4. What were the major problems he faced as president?

5.  How should one evaluate his legacy?

Part 3. Case Study:  Kennedy

Questions for Class Discussion:

1.     What path did Kennedy follow to the White House?
What were Kennedy’s major achievements as president?
2. What were his strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
3. What were his major failures?

4. What were the major problems he faced as president?

5.  How should one evaluate his legacy?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise # 7 Have presidents carried their war making powers too far?  Or are such powers necessary for the security of the country?

Week 11     The Presidential Office, The Executive Office of the President, The Cabinet, and Decision Making; Domestic Policy Making
Nov. 3-7
Read:  DeClerico, Chpt. 9
          Pfeiffer & Davidson, Section 5, Readings 21-24; Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 7, Readings 29, 30
          Milkis & Nelson, Chpts.
          Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
                  Watch the following documentary online:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/eisenhower/  
                  Check out this link to various offices serving the president: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration
                  The following link deals with the White House Staff: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/staff
                  The following link deals with the Executive Office of the President: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop
                  The following link deals with the Cabinet: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/cabinet
                  For data on number of employees in the EOP, go to: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/eop.php
                  For news story on transition team questionnaire for job seekers go to: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/13/transition.questionnaire/index.html?iref=allsearch
                  For information of President Eisenhower go to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum at:  http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/all_about_ike/presidential/administration_facts.html#
                  For information about his presidency, go to: http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/all_about_ike/presidential/administration_facts.html
                  For information on Ronald Reagan go to his presidential library at: http://www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/visit/reagan.html
                  For more information on Ronald Reagan go to: http://www.presidentialtimeline.org/html/timeline.php?/n+MYE3d4oaHvCyUzQt1/zwGP8FRLtajQiJTGV9mk3g=
                  The following site is a useful list of major legislation enacted by Congress over the course of U.S. history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_federal_legislation
                  The following site has budget data, with deficit information, for presidents since 1930: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/budget.php
                  Differences between presidential budget requests and final Congressional appropriations: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/appropriations.php
                 Charts on public debt may be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_deficit
                 For more comprehensive charts on federal spending, gross domestic product, and debt go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms
                 The following link has a study of growing income inequality in the United States: http://www.slate.com/id/2266025/entry/2266026/
                 The following link has information on median household income: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_income
                 The following link deals with the Office of Management and Budget: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb
                 The following link deals with the Department of the Treasury: http://www.treasury.gov/
                 The following link presents important data on the American economy over the past 100 years: http://ycharts.com/economy
                 The following site allows the student to retrieve all sorts of economic data: http://www.measuringworth.com/index.php

Special Topics:
Part 1. What are the principal offices and agencies which Presidents have at their disposal for decision making?
           What roles are played by the EOP, senior White House Staff, and cabinet in the Executive Branch?
           What are the problems of coordinating the offices serving the President?
Part 2. Case study:  Eisenhower
Part 3. Case study:  Reagan
Part 4. Making domestic policy: What factors dominate domestic policy and economic and budget policy?  What resources do Presidents have in these areas? What limitations do they face in these areas? 

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #8 Write a position paper in which you advise a new President on the most important principles he or she should follow in organizing the work of the White House. Also explain the main sorts of problems he should try to avoid.  

Week 12  Presidents at Mid-term;
The Presidency and the 2014 Mid-term Elections (November 4)
Nov. 10-14
Read:  Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
Follow all news reports on election results.
You should also be familiar with the previous mid-term election of 2010:
The following websites may be very useful for that
            http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/
            http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/election.2010/the.basics/
            http://www.foxnews.com/politics/index.html 
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/mid-term_elections.php
            For information about campaign finance rules and data on campaign spending go to the Federal Election Commission site at: http://www.fec.gov/ 
            For New York Times articles about campaign finance rules and data on campaign spending go to: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/f/federal_election_commission/index.html?inline=nyt-org
            For information on campaign spending for media ads and some of the ads themselves go to: http://www.kantarmediana.com/cmag
            Check out election results at:  http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2010/results/main.results/#val=S
            Check out exit polls at: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2010/results/polls/#USH00p1
            Check out big shift in voting patterns in the 2010 election: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/03/us/politics/election-results-house-shift.html?ref=politics
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #9  Explain the results of this year’s mid-term elections.  What factors contributed to those results?  What do the results mean for the last two years of the Obama Presidency?     
  

Week 13    Presidential Personality and Character; Scandals
Nov. 17-21     Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 9, Readings 39, 41
                             Declerico, Chpt. 9
                             Milkis & Nelson, Chpts.
                             Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
                             Watch the following documentaries online:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/nixon/
                                                                                             http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/reagan/
                                                                                             http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/clinton/                  
Special Topics:
Part 1. Case Study: Nixon and Watergate
Part 2. Case Study: Reagan and Iran-Contra
Part 3. Case Study: Clinton, Lewinski and Impeachment

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #10 What should be learned from the Iran-Contra scandal? What are the lessons about presidential leadership that should be learned from this scandal?


Week 14    The Presidency and the Courts, The Vice Presidency
Nov. 24-25
Read: Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 6, Reading 27
          DiClerico, Chpt. 11
          Miller Center Resources: http://millercenter.org/president
Special Topics:
Part 1. What is the impact of the Presidency upon the courts? What impact have the courts had on the Presidency?
Part 2. How has the office of the Vice President evolved in the past half century?
Part 3. Test and Thanksgiving Vacation; Thanksgiving Vacation   November 26-30   
           Note:  You will have your third test on Tuesday, November 25.  It will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 15    Recent Presidents
Dec. 1-5     Read:  Milkis & Nelson, Chpts.
                             Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 7, Readings 31, 32; Section 8, Reading 37; Section 8, Readings 36, 37, 38: Section 9, Readings 41, 42
                             Miller Center Resources : http://millercenter.org/president
                             Watch the following documentaries online:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/reagan/
                                                                                                   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/bush/
                                                                                                   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/clinton/
                             Check out the timelines for the lives and careers of the following presidents:
                            
                             George H. W. Bush: http://www.presidentialtimeline.org/html/timeline.php?VS2uwNqq86yid0BKAp1LqEMuZB/gb5bttoA+b1ZOmB8=
                             William Jefferson Clinton: http://www.presidentialtimeline.org/html/timeline.php?q2SRfR34FN7a1ClOcG/xdifh8h3Uhw9KGHxdnMf2IIg=
                             George W. Bush: http://www.presidentialtimeline.org/html/timeline.php?Uqr33C06xukM3FQKkgjSN2FRrAJNDIdtlCI4knS/PEY=
Special Topics:
Part 1.  Case Study:  Bill Clinton
Part 2.  Case Study:  George W. Bush
Part 3.  Case Study:  Barack Obama

Dec. 5          Last Day of Classes
Dec. 6            Reading Day
Dec. 8-12        Final Examinations
                       Your final examination will be a comprehensive essay exam.  It will count for 1/6 of your semester
                       grade.  It will be given on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 11:30 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

 

 

Previous outline of assignments from a previous semester:

Week 1 Introduction to the study of the Presidency
              The
Constitution and the Presidency

Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 1, Readings 1-5
           The Constitution
Special Topics:
M: Introduction to the study of the Presidency
      What are the principal approaches to studying the Presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. How do political scientists try to understand the presidency?   
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of studying the presidency?

W: Creating the Presidency
      What were the most important issues at the Constitutional Convention regarding the office of the Presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What were the principal debates at the Constitutional Convention about the presidency?
2.  How did these debates get resolved?
3.  How did colonial experiences influence those debates?
4.  How did experiences under the Articles of Confederation influence those debates?
5.  How important and prophetic was Hamilton's vision of the office?
6.  What were the main fears regarding the office?

F:  What does the Constitution have to say about the Presidency?
     What were the challenges faced by the first two presidents in establishing the office?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What are the principal constitutional parameters of the office?
2. How did Washington contribute to our understanding of the office?
3. What crises confronted the office under Washington and Adams?
4. How did the behavior of Washington and Adams shape the future of the office?
5. How has the Constitution been amended since the convention to resolve various problems regarding the presidency?
6. What are some of the main criticisms of how the electoral college system works and misunderstandings regarding the intent of the framers about that system?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #1 Identify the most important debates that surrounded the creation of the Presidency.  Explain how some of today’s controversies surrounding the office reflect the concerns raised in those original debates. 

Week 2   Perspectives on Presidential Power, Leadership, and the Constitution; Public Opinion and the Presidency; The Media and the Presidency    
 
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 2, Readings 6-10;  Section 4, Readings 17-20
            DiClerico, Chpt. 4
            Study the data on the following sites:
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/popularity.php
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/initial_approval.php
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/100days_approval.php 
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/final_approval.php
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/newsconferences.php
Special Topics:
M: What have been some of the principal positions regarding the valid scope of Presidential powers?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What are the claims of the strict constructionist view of the presidency advanced by Taft?
2. What are the claims of the stewardship view of presidential leadership advanced by T. Roosevelt?
3. How did Wilson understand the nature of presidential leadership?
4. What did Lincoln contribute to our understanding of presidential power and leadership?
5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these conceptions of presidential power and leadership?
6. What forces have shaped the modern presidency?

W: What are some of the primary factors that influence Presidential popularity?  How do Presidents try to shape public opinion?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What factors influence presidential popularity and job approval ratings?
2.  Which factors do they have little control over?
3.  What do presidents do to hurt their own popularity?
4.  What do they do to advance their own popularity?
5.  What tools are available to the White House in trying to shape public opinion?
6.  What do presidents need to do in this area?
7.  Which presidents have been most successful in this area?

F:   Why is the relationship between the President and the press often strained?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What is the basis of the adversarial relationship that often exists between presidents and the press?
2.  How do presidents often make this relationship even worse?
3.  How do presidents try to influence media coverage?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #2 Explain the most important factors that shape public perceptions of the President and job approval ratings.  What can Presidents do and what should they not do in regard to building and maintaining popular support?

Week 3  The Selection Process and Political Parties
Read:   Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 3, Readings 11-16
                               DiClerico, Chpt. 1
Exit poll data on 2004 Elections: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/
Exit poll data on 2008 Elections: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/
Gallup data on voting by different demographic groups in presidential elections 1952-2008:
 http://www.gallup.com/poll/139880/Election-Polls-Presidential-Vote-Groups.aspx#1
Special Topics
M: No classes on Labor Day

W:  How does one go about becoming President?  How do Presidential candidates get nominated?
       What factors shape the conduct and results of Presidential elections?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  How did the party system evolve under Jefferson and Jackson?
2.  How is the current nomination process different from earlier nomination processes?
3.  What are the most important things to know about how to get nominated?
4.  What sorts of candidates are favored by the current nomination process?
5.  What are some of the major criticisms of how we nominate presidential candidates?
6.  What are some of the major reform proposals for the nomination process? 

F:  Case Study: What can be learned from Election 2008? 
       Is this nation served well by the manner in which it selects Presidents? Should the process be changed?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. What can be learned from the experiences of the Obama and McCain campaigns?
2. What does it take to win in the general election?
3. What are the most important factors in shaping the outcome of presidential elections?
4. What factors had the greatest impact on the outcome of the 2008 election? 
5. Should the electoral college system be retained?
6. How does that system shape the conduct of presidential campaigns?
7. Is there such a thing as a presidential mandate?
8. What are the main tasks presidents face as party leaders when they try to govern?
9. What forces limit a president's party leadership?
10. Under what circumstances are presidents able to be successful in their role as party leader?
11. What are some of the major criticisms of how we elect presidents?
12. What are some of the major reform proposals for the general election?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise # 3 Explain and evaluate what you regard as the five most important criticisms of the current presidential selection process. 

Week 4  The Debate Over the Extent of Presidential Power
Read: Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 5, Reading 24; Section 7, Readings 31, 32; Section 9, Readings 40, 42
          Watch the Frontline program, “Cheney’s Law” at:  http://video.pbs.org/video/1082073775/
          Information on presidential signing statements: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/signingstatements.php
          Information on executive orders: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php
Special Topics:
M:  How have Presidential powers evolved?  What dynamic social, economic, political and military forces have shaped the emergence of the modern presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What forces have shaped the modern presidency?
2.  How have presidential powers evolved?
3.  What forces place limits on those powers?

W:  Is there an Imperial Presidency?  What is involved in the debate over the theory of the unitary executive?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What do some critics means when they speak of an imperial presidency?
2.  Has presidential power gone too far?
3.  What are the claims made for and criticisms of the unitary executive theory?
4.  What is meant when scholars talk about the administrative presidency?
5.  What is the proper scope of unilateral powers belonging to the office?

F:   Note:  Your first test for the semester will be on Friday and will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 5   The President and Congress
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 6, Readings 26, 27; Section 7, Reading 30
           Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
           Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 10
Special Topics:
M:  What forces were behind different Eras Congressional Dominance and emergence of a more Dominant Presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What were the main shortcomings of so many post Civil War presidents?
2.  How did Congress go about reasserting itself after Lincoln?
3.  What was at stake in the battle over the impeachment of Johnson?
4.  What tools did Congress use to dominate presidents in the second half of the nineteenth century?
5.  How did some of the presidents of that period try to resist Congressional domination?
6.  How would 20th century developments within American society transform the presidency?

W:  The Progressives and the Presidency; Case Studies: The Modern Presidency and FDR, LBJ
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What were Teddy Roosevelt's contributions to the presidency?
2.  What made him a leader?
3.  What were Wilson's contributions to the presidency?
4.  What were his most important leadership skills?
5.  How did the progressives help to transform the presidency?
6.  What were Franklin Roosevelt's greatest skills as a leader?
7.  What made the 100 days possible?
8.  What were Roosevelt's greatest achievements?
9.  What were his biggest mistakes?
10.  How did he shape the modern presidency?
11.  What were Johnson's strengths in dealing with Congress?
12.  What were his chief accomplishments in dealing with Congress?
13.  What damaged his relations with Congress?
14.  What was the Johnson treatment?
15.  What lessons should be learned from his relationship with Congress?

F:  What does the President have going for him in dealing with the Congress?
     What forces limit Presidential influence with Congress?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What institutional tools do presidents have in dealing with Congress?
2.  What are some of the most successful tactics presidents use in trying to influence Congress?
3.  What circumstances favor presidential leadership of Congress?
4.  What are the some of the biggest mistakes presidents make in dealing with Congress?
5.  Why is legislative leadership so difficult for presidents?
6.  What resources does Congress have in challenging presidents?
7.  What circumstances favor congressional dominance?
8.  Is presidential leadership of Congress more difficult in recent times?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise 5 Why are some presidents more successful in getting their domestic agenda enacted by Congress than others? What makes for Presidential success in dealing with Congress? 

Week 6   Evaluating Presidential Greatness and Leadership
              

Read:  Online articles and surveys on ranking great presidents
           Milkis & Nelson, Chpt. 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 13
           Be sure to finish by this week viewing all the American Experience documentaries on presidents from FDR to George H.W. Bush found at:
           http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/
You may check out some rankings of presidents at: http://www.americanpresidents.org/survey/historians
                                                                                            http://www.fed-soc.org/doclib/20070308_pressurvey.PDF
                                                                                            http://www.zogby.com/news/readnews.cfm?ID=1057

Special Topics:


Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #5 What criteria should be used in evaluating presidential leadership and greatness?  Why are such evaluations so difficult and often controversial?

Week 7  Domestic Policy; Economic and Budget Policy       
Read:  Edwards & Wayne, Chpts. 12, 13
           Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 7, Readings 30, 31
Special Topics:
M:  What factors dominate domestic policy and economic and budget policy?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What forces shape how presidents develop domestic policy proposals?
2.  What forces shape budgetary policies?
3.  What is the role of the president in developing these policies?
4.  What forces seem beyond the President’s control in these areas?

W:  What resources do Presidents have in these areas? 
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  Which executive office institutions are central to developing presidential domestic policy proposals?
2.  What role do those institutions play in policy implementation?
3.  Which executive office institutions are central to developing presidential budget proposals?
4.  Which executive office institutions are central to developing economic policy?
4.  How has White House policy making evolved?
5.  What are the differences between presidential persuasion and unitlateralism in policy making? 

F:  What limitations do they face in these areas?
Questions for Class Discussion: 
1.  Why do presidents often face defeat in domestic policy and budgetary policy areas?
2.  What skills should a president have to be successful in these areas?
3.  What are the most important limitations presidents face in these areas?

 Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #6  Explain the most important forces shaping the making of economic and budget policies and the role played by the key offices and institutions involved in making those policies.

Week 8  The Presidency and the Bureaucracy
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 5, Reading 25
                              Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 9
Special Topics:
M:  No Classes Fall Break

W: What have some recent Presidents tried to do in trying to get greater control of the federal bureaucracy? Why are Presidents so often frustrated when it comes to dealing with the federal bureaucracy?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What are the main problems presidents face when dealing with the bureaucracy?
2.  What are some of the tools available to presidents in dealing with the bureaucracy?
3.  How have recent presidents tried to reform the bureaucracy? 

F:  Note:  You will have your second test on Friday.  It will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 9     The Presidential Office, the Cabinet, and Decision Making
                 Read:  Edwards & Wayne, Chpts. 6, 7
                 Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 5, Readings 21, 22, 23, 24; Section 7, Reading 34
Special Topics:
M:  What are the principal offices and agencies which Presidents have at their disposal for decision making?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. How has the cabinet evolved over time?
2.  What are the most important offices in the White House staff?
3.  What are the most important offices in the EOP?
4.  What are the most important lessons to be learned from the establishment and evolution of the EOP?
5.  What is meant by the institutionalization of the presidency? 

W:  What roles are played by the EOP, senior White House Staff, and cabinet in the Executive Branch?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1. Why is the job of a cabinet secretary so difficult?
2. Why do some presidents become disappointed with the cabinet as an institution?
3. Why is there so often tension between cabinet officers and White House staffers?
4. How could presidents make more effective use of the cabinet? 
5. Why has the EOP and senior White House Staff become so important?

F: What are the problems of coordinating the offices serving the President?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What are the difficulties associated with overseeing the work of the White House staff?
2.  What are some of the different ways by which presidents have tried to manage the White House staff?
3.  Why are the problems of coordinating work of all the offices reporting to the president so great?
4.  What are the most important lessons to be learned about how to successful coordinate all this work?
5.  What are the most important mistakes to avoid in this area of presidential leadership?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #7 Write a position paper in which you advise a new President on the most important principles he or she should follow in organizing the work of the White House. Also explain the main sorts of problems he should try to avoid.  

Week 10 The Presidency and Foreign Policy
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 7, Reading 33; Section 8, Readings 35-38
           Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 14
           Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 14, 15
           The War Powers Act, 1973 at: http://www.cs.indiana.edu/statecraft/warpow.html
           Optional:  CRS report on War Powers Act after 30 years: http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL32267.html  
Special Topics:
M: What is the extent of the President’s powers in making foreign policy?
      What limits a President’s powers in making foreign policy?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  Why are presidents the dominant player in the making of foreign policy?
2.  What forces limit presidential leadership in foreign policy?
3.  How does Fisher describe the intentions of the framers of the Constitution when it comes to foreign policy?
4.  How does Mervin go about rejecting the position taken by the constitutionalists on this matter?
5. What did Aaron Wildavsky mean by the two presidencies thesis?
6.  What is the importance of the 1936 case of United States v. Curtiss-Wright?
7.  What factors help to explain the degree of influence Congress may have on some foreign policy issues?

W: What institutional resources do President’s have in this area?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What are the advantages presidents have in dealing with Congress on foreign policy matters?
2.  What institutional resources serve the president in making foreign policy?
3.  What institutional problems confront presidential decision making in foreign policy?
4.  How did Congress try to check presidential power with the 1973 War Powers Act?
5.  How did Congress try to check presidential power with the 1972 Case Act?
6.  What are some of the other ways Congress tries to compete with the president in this area?

F:  Foreign Policy in the Clinton and Bush years
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What were the principal foreign policy issues faced by the Clinton administration?
2.  What were his problems with Congress in dealing with foreign policy issues?
3.  Why did foreign policy come to dominate the attention of the Bush administration?
4.  What changes in national security policy were advanced by the Bush administration?
5.  How do you evaluate the foreign policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise # 8 Have presidents carried their war making powers too far?  Or are such powers necessary for the security of the country?

Week 11   The Presidency and Mid-Term Congressional Elections                            
Read:  Newspaper articles on the elections this fall – you should have been reading these all semester
           The following websites may be very useful:
            http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/
            http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/election.2010/the.basics/
            http://www.foxnews.com/politics/index.html 
Special Topics:
M:  What are the most important things one should know about trends in Mid-Term Congressional Elections?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What is the record for the President’s political party in mid-term Congressional elections?
2.  What factors explain that record?
3.  What factors explain those situations in which mid-term losses are greater or lesser than the average losses for the President’s party?

W:  What factors contributed to the results of this year’s elections?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What were the most important results of this year’s mid-term elections?
2.  What factors contributed to those results?
3.  Which were the most important individual races?

F:   What do the results of this year’s elections mean for the Obama presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What is the spin our two major political parties are trying to put on this year’s election results?
2.  What do those results mean for the Obama presidency?
3.  To what extent was the election a judgment on the Obama administration?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #9 Explain the results of this year’s mid-term Congressional Elections.  What factors contributed to those results?  What do the results mean for the Obama Presidency?   

Week 12    Presidential Personality and Character; Scandals
                   Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 9, Reading 39
                              Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 12, 13, 14
                              Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 8
                   Watch the following documentaries online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/clinton/
Special Topics:
M: Case Study: Nixon and Watergate
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What was the political climate at the time of the Watergate scandal?
2.  Why did the break in take place?
3.  What went wrong with the cover up?
4.  What were Nixon's key errors in all of this?
5.  What character issues were at play?
6.  What were the consequences of Watergate for the presidency"
7.  What should be learned from this scandal?

W: Case Study: Reagan and Iran-Contra
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What foreign policy issues were the basis of the Iran-Contra scandal?
2.  What issues were at stake in the sale of missiles to the Iranians?
3.  What issues were involved in the transfer of funds to the Contras?
4.  What were the consequences of the scandal for the Reagan administration?
5.  What mistakes were made by the President?
6.  What were the key findings of the Tower Commission?
7.  What should be learned from this scandal?

F:  Case Study: Clinton, Lewinski and Impeachment
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What political climate existed at the time of Whitewater/Lewinski scandals and the impeachment struggle?
2.  What mistakes were made by Clinton and his critics?
3.  What can be learned from all of this?
4.  How and why did Clinton survive?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #10 What should be learned from the Iran-Contra scandal? What are the lessons about presidential leadership that should be learned from this scandal?

Week 13    The Presidency and the Courts, The Vice Presidency, Leadership and Democracy

Read: Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 6, Readings 28, 29
          Milkis & Nelson, Chpt.16
          Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 11
Special Topics:
M: What is the impact of the Presidency upon the courts? What impact have the courts had on the Presidency?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  How have the courts defined the parameters of presidential power?
2.  What have been the major presidential victories before the Supreme Court?
3.  What have been the major presidential defeats before the Supreme Court?
4.  What problems have recent presidents faced with judicial nominations?
5.  Why have these nomination battles become so bitter?

W:  How has the office of the Vice President evolved in the past half century?
1.  Why have so many vice presidents in the past view the office in such negative terms?
2.  How has the office of the vice president evolved in the past half century?
3.  What factors shape how much influence a vice president might have?
4.  How important has the vice president been in the past two presidencies?
5.  What factors are involved in the controversy over the Cheney vice- presidency?

F:  Are strong presidential leadership and democracy compatible?
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  Why have some observers seen strong presidential leadership as vital to democracy?
2.  Why have other observers seen strong presidential leadership as a danger to democracy?
3.  What have been some of major reform proposals to alter the constitutional parameters of the presidency?
4.  How do you evaluate these proposals?

Week 14    Test and Thanksgiving Vacation
M: Note:  You will have your third test on Monday.  It will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 15    Recent Presidents
Read:  Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 14, 15
            Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 7, Readings 31, 34; Section 8, Reading 37; Section 9, Readings 41, 42
Special Topics:
M: Case Study: Bill Clinton
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What problems did Clinton inherit from the Bush administration?
2.  What were the principal achievements of the Clinton administration?
3.  What were the main failures of the Clinton administration?
4.  How do you assess his leadership

W:  Case Study: George W. Bush
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What advantages and problems did Bush inherit from the Clinton administration?
2.  What problems were posed to his leadership by the 2000 election?
2.  What have been the principal achievements of the Bush administration?
3.  What have been the main failures of the Bush administration?
4.  How do you assess his leadership?

F:  Case Study: The Obama Presidency
Questions for Class Discussion:
1.  What problems did Obama inherit from the Bush administration?
2.  What have been the principal achievements of the Obama administration?
3.  What have been the main failures of the Obama administration?
4.  How do you assess his leadership?
5.  Where do you see his presidency going?
6.  What adjustments do you think he should make?
7.  How do you assess his re-election chances?
8.  What factors will most shape those chances?