Shaping the Situation

Daniel DiSalvo

in Engines of Change

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199891702
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949410 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Postwar American Political Development

Shaping the Situation

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Factions, as key parts of the political landscape, can both facilitate and frustrate presidential ambitions. A president’s debts to, association with, or distance from a faction within his own party can shape his choices. This is especially the case when a faction is a major force in the nomination process, in the halls of Congress, or both. In many instances, presidential governance is a game of give and take with factions, as they present presidents with governing opportunities and constrains. A president’s relation to factions within his party thus shapes his policy priorities, strategies, and governing tactics. This chapter argues that factions are major factors in presidential decision-making. Presidents often secure change by exploiting opportunities in a context shaped by factions. Rather than rhetorical prowess in guiding public opinion, successful presidents recognize and take advantage of circumstances as they find them.

Keywords: Presidents; rhetorical presidency; appointments; patronage; public policy

Chapter.  13158 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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