Issues pertaining to governance have always drawn controversy form

different quarters. This is especially with regard to what has come to
be commonly referred to as separation of powers. Needless to say, the
different branches of government were aimed at checking each others’
actions so as to ensure that they are constitutional and are not
detrimental to the people. However, these powers are, more often than
not, shared between the different branches of government. For instance,
while the Congress has all the legislative powers vested on it in
Article 1, Section 1, it is required to share the same with the
executive (Davidson 257). Indeed, presidents have the capacity to shape
the legislative agenda although they may not ensure that their
recommendations become laws (Davison 257). Modern presidents have
strived to dominate the executive branch agencies, not to mention the
fact that they have the capacity to veto congressional enactments
(Davidson 257). Indeed, they have the capacity to ignore laws if they
deem it appropriate. While the three branches are blended and assigned
special duties, the relationship is always a result of accommodation and
compromise rather than isolation (Davidson 259). In the past, the
legislature and the executive have kept their distance from each other.
However, some presidents such as the two Roosevelt were active in
legislature. George bush, on the other hand, indicated his desire to
take the power denied of the executive by the legislature (Davidson
261). Nevertheless, their success is dependent on their capacity to
build a rapport with the legislature, especially in instances where they
control the Senate and the House. Irrespective of the popularity of the
modern presidents, they are always faced with the prospects of
decreasing public approval and hope in their leaderships (Davidson 270).
In most cases, however, the Senate and the Congress will have different
majorities. Such divided governments come with a high price with respect
to policy stalemate (Davidson 273).
In most cases, presidents have to make deals and compromise with varied
stakeholders so as to eliminate such stalemates. Such was the case for
Obama prior to the signing of the health reform bill in 2010. As the
movie “Obama’s deal” shows, the idealistic president pursued the
fight for the healthcare reform bill and ended up cutting deals with a
large number of the powerful special interests against which he had
campaigned. As Tom Daschle, the former Senate Majority leader reveals,
the passing of the bill involved the use of hundreds of millions of
dollars in lobbying in an effort to gain support for the healthcare
bill. Previous efforts to cut the deals had resulted in the sinking of
the president’s approval ratings, and the loss of Ted Kennedy’s
senate seat. It was not until another round of talks and round-the-clock
deal making before the bill sailed through.
This is, undoubtedly, quite surprising especially considering that the
president had not only indicated that the lobbyists and special interest
groups would have to abide by a certain code of ethics and would not get
a job in his White House (Tichenor 265). Modern presidents have
incentives to keep away from organized interests, especially considering
that ordinary citizens view the later with contempt and suspicion.
However, neither of the two can disregard the other. Presidents may see
the interest groups as sources of mobilized opposition, while interest
groups must factor in the immense powers vested on the executive in
policy formulation, agenda setting, policy implementation and budget
making (Tichenor 267). As much as a large number of interest groups
allied to presidents that have restricted leadership opportunities gain
fewer tangible benefits that assumed, oppositional groups usually see
adversarial politics popular in such presidencies as hospitable to
effective and vibrant activism (Tichenor 291).
Works cited
James P. Pfiffner and Roger H. Davidson eds. Understanding the
Presidency, Pearson, 2013.
Frontline coverage of the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act.
in Michael Nelson, ed. The Presidency and the Political System, 9th
eds. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2010. 264-294.

Close Menu