Friday, July 25, 2014

Obama and the Myth of Presidential Control

Brendan Nyhad, NYT
JULY 24, 2014

One of the most common criticisms of presidents — especially struggling ones during their second term — is that they have lost control of events.

This charge, which has been leveled at chief executives such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, has become a mantra lately in coverage of President Obama, who faces a stalled legislative agenda and crises in Ukraine, Gaza and at the border with Mexico.

What happened? One frequent explanation from pundits and journalists is that Mr. Obama has “little control” and is instead being “driven” or “buffeted” by events.

This notion pervades commentary and debate on the presidency. We want to believe that the president is (or should be) in control. It’s the impulse behind holding the president responsible for a bad economy and giving him credit for a good one (the most important factor in presidential approval and election outcomes). The reassuring nature of presidential control is also why news media coverage of foreign policy crises and other events that rally the country tends to use language that depicts the president as being in command.

(More here.)

1 Comments:

Blogger Tom Koch said...

Remember, "We are the ones we have been waiting for."

Indeed.

12:06 PM  

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