Presidential Studies the Transfer of Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

S. interests in that part of the world. Then, on January 17, 1991, the U.S. launched the first attack, with more than 4,000 bombing runs. After 100 hours, Bush called off the offensive, saying he wanted to minimize U.S. casualties.

Though Bush was criticized for this withdrawal being premature, the U.S. made a retreat from Kuwait after the successful offensive, and Bush's approval ratings reached new highs.

Bush announced in early 1992, that he would run again for President, and his reelection looked probable. However, higher taxes and uncontrolled economic problems brought his term to an end in 1992, and Bush lost to Bill Clinton. Bush was running as a conservative, but so were Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan (who ran against him for the Republican nomination).

In order to defeat Pat Buchanan's bid for the Republican nomination, Bush declared even more conservative stances. Though he defeated Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot eroded much of Bush's conservative base and the liberal Clinton easily won the election.

George H.W. Bush to William Clinton

Clinton presented an alternative to George H.W. Bush in that his image was one of a confident, knowledgeable and experienced liberal Democrat. The Clinton administration immediately set to work, with the help of a cooperative Congress and House. When Clinton took office, he was able to get Congress to approve deficit reduction, yet later on could not get them to enact health care reform. Like Reagan, he had only a small amount of attainable demands which were presented to Congress, and then his influence waned in Congress. Following that, he was able to use the veto power to block actions which might undermine political standing, but he was not able to achieve too many of his objectives, although he did not allow the Republicans to redefine his goals (Schick, 79).

Serving as a "New Democrat," with Al Gore as Vice President, Clinton was known for his "third way" philosophy of governance. This means that he was a "centrist," embracing both market and interventionist philosophies, both capitalism and socialism, market liberalism and democratic socialism. Roosevelt's New Deal had also been called the political "third way," in that it embraced socialism and conservatism at the same time. The nation's unprecedented 2-term economic expansion under William Clinton brought the nation to a $500 billion surplus, and nation became debt-free for the first time since 1935.

The Clinton image and charisma earned him the highest approval rating of any president, as well as a second term, but it did not inure him against facing an obstruction of justice charge near the end of his second term for dalliances with Monica Lewinski and Paula Jones. This was constantly harped upon during the Presidential campaign of 2001, and brought the Republicans to the forefront, with the election of Republican George W. Bush, who waged a "compassionate conservative" campaign, aided by the Religious Right that promised to increase the military, cut taxes, improve education and aid minorities.

William Clinton to George W. Bush

Running against John McCain for the Republican nomination, George W. Bush, the eldest son of Former President George H.W. Bush, won the nomination to run against incumbent Vice President Al Gore. Choosing Halliburton Corporation's chief executive officer, Dick Cheney, to be his running mate, the two men ran a campaign that was critical of Presidential Democratic Nominee Al Gore's views on gun control and taxation. Three days after the election, on November 7, 2000, the opponents were still tied and waiting on the returns from Florida to determine who had won. New ballots were still being discovered, faulty voting machines had created controversy as to whether ballots were valid and the Florida voting outcome was challenged. Two hand recounts had the outcome going to Bush and the Supreme Court declared a third hand count stopped, making the winner of the presidential race to be George W. Bush.

President Bush was immediately very successful in getting his way with a predominantly Republican Congress and House, winning 78% of the bills he favored (Poole 2006). He also proposed and won an energy bill, limits on class action lawsuits, highway legislation, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and changes in bankruptcy laws (Kelley, p. 8). Just as in 1948, when President Harry Truman saw fit to recognize the state of Israel in response to popular outcry, in 2008, President George W. Bush recognized Kosovo, in spite of its questionable legal status.

During his second term, which he successfully won by a narrow margin in 2004, in spite of appearing to influence the majority of issues to his way of thinking, he had to fight a unified Democratic opposition and a rebellious Republican party. The results were legislative setbacks which were just as impressive as Bush's successes.


Unilateral powers, which are immediately exercised by the President of the United States, allow the president to first act on policy and to set the "political landscape" within which institutions under his administration act. Unilateral powers also allow the president to act without the cooperation or without consulting others. The extent of these powers have increased from the time of Richard Nixon to the present day, as a result of the contributions as mentioned above, of each president, beginning with Nixon, who extended and utilized his powers unchecked. The introduction of Signing Statements with Reagan increased the ability of the president to influence policy and the actions of Congress without resorting to simply veto power.

Signing statements may be considered one of the unilateral powers of the President, as they are unique in a couple of ways. Signing statements are a signal to the bureaucracy or even the courts, on how to act. Signing statements are also powerful because they give the president a last-move advantage (Neustadt, 1990).

News coverage during the first years of the presidential tenures of Ronald Reagan (1981), of Bill Clinton (1993), and of George W. Bush (2001) showed the nation that they focused more on the executive branch than the legislative and judicial branches (Farnsworth, p. 674). The increase of the president's role in economic activities and the changing face of world trade have also put increased pressure on the financial regulation aspect of presidential duties. Foreign policy has changed from president to president, as noted above, and, as it has become more dangerous to create an enemy with the introduction of atomic weaponry, so international vigilance and diplomacy has become another important part of presidential duties (Waterman, 2006, p. 16).

Both Republicans and Democrats have shared the stage, though Republicans have tended to dominate since Nixon's time. With the Bush tenure, the Republicans have now found their party approaching bankruptcy as far as popularity is concerned and Republican Party leaders have agreed that they need to review and renew their political strategies in order to survive.


Farnsworth, S.J. And Lichter, S.R. (2004), New presidents and network news: covering the first year in office of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 34:3, 29 Jul 2004, 674.

Frye, T. (1999). Changes in Post-Communist Presidential Power: Political Economy Explanation. A paper prepared for Ohio State University. Retrieved November 19, 2008 at

Kelley, C.S., and Marshall, B.W. (2006). The Last Mover Advantage: Presidential Powers and the Role of Signing Statements, Chicago, IL. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved November 19, 2008 at

Mann, J. (2002). The ghost of the oval office, New York Times, October 4, 2002.

Neustadt, Richard E.(1990). Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents. New York: The Free Press.

Poole, Keith T. And Rosenthal, Howard (2000). Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll Call Voting. Boston: Oxford University Press, U.S.A.

Schick, a., LoStracco, F. (2000). The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process. Washington, D.C., Brookings Institution Press.

Waterman, R. (2006).The Changing American Presidency: New Perspectives on Presidential Power, Ed 2. New York: Atomic Dog.

Waterman, R.W.…

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