Depictions of Presidential Power

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In my intro class yesterday, we began a discussion of presidency and I noted that presidents face the challenge of leadership: they confront high expectations even as the Constitution affords them little formal power. (How they have accumulated power in other ways comes later.) As evidence for high expectations, I noted how much the media focus on the president and, in doing so, perhaps exaggerate the extent of presidential power—a point I’ve discussed before. To illustrate, I put together this montage of Time covers from the 2008 campaign and the Obama presidency.

One Response to Depictions of Presidential Power

  1. Andrew Rudalevige March 11, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    This is a great illustration (well, four illustrations) of an important point. The idea that federal power is personalized in the presidency is both widespread and potentially dangerous. I’d add only that presidents do a lot to add to this illusion through the vast promises they make during their campaigns – indeed, candidates bid each other up in this regard.