Summary Of Charles O. Jones's Perspectives On The Presidency

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In “Perspectives on the Presidency” from The Presidency in a Separated System, Charles O. Jones argues that the United States government is not merely influenced and led by the president. Jones argues in favor of the United States having a separated system, rather than a presidential system. In this separated system, the role of the president varies, depending on resources and strategy. Jones proceeds to discuss two types of perspectives of the president; the Dominant Perspective and the Alternative Perspective. In the Dominant Perspective, political parties are stronger than they normally are in a system of separated elections, the opposing party acts as a critic of the party in power, and the president is, idealistically, aggressive. However,…show more content…
Jones quotes a recommendation made by the Committee on Political Parties of the American Political Science Association in 1946. The Association stated that in an effective party system, the party that is not in control acts as a critic of the party in power, and develops, defines, and presents policy alternatives “’which are necessary for a true choice in reaching public decisions’”. I believe that the government cannot work this way. Jones argues that by this perspective, a good president uses his resources to make government work. However, the president does not have complete control of the functions of the government. The president cannot be expected to willingly accept “responsibility for what happens” if Congress does not work with him. The opposing party solely acting as a critic of the leading party encourages polarization. If a Democrat does not agree with their own party, which is in power, they should be encouraged to applaud or condemn legislation. One party should not exist to solely point out the flaws in the other party; members of both parties should step outside of their party boundaries and collaborate. Although Jones regards this as a negative while discussing the Alternative Perspective, the president hanging back and allowing Congress to take policy initiatives is not horrible. Republican members of Congress have exhibited various times their hatred for Democratic President Barack Obama’s ideas,
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