The President of the United States is repeatedly given the title of “the world’s most powerful man.” No other man on the face of the earth has the amount of power and influence than the President. Many different components are branded together to illustrate the commander in chief’s leadership potential.
Foreign policy leadership is one of the first key components. In more modern times, this has become a standard of any presidency but that was not always the case. In the pre-nineteenth century world, The US always kept their nose out of other countries’ business. Trade with other countries was always of interest but constantly put aside by developments within the country itself. Eventually, a desire to increase the global platform for goods became more and more important. Teddy Roosevelt led this charge. He investigated such places as Latin American and eastern Asian countries. This eventually fizzled out due to the unwillingness to change the level of isolationism. World War II was the major breaking point for expansion and foreign policy. As a result of it, roles such as: global juggernaut, standard bearer in world trade and noncommunist world spokesperson have come into play.
US military occupations have increased to every corner and most countries in the world as well. Also, trade balances and energy supplies have become of uncanny interest. Nothing but positive gains from these foreign policy changes have been acted upon by the man in the White House. The Constitution has given sole duties of chief diplomat, military commander, and certain leadership requirements of foreign policy to the President. All of these roles solely require swift single action which Congress can not act upon due to the nature of its size and level of divide in it. A prime example of this is 9-11. President Bush took sole leadership in organizing the global military operation in response to the terrorist attacks. Congress went along with the plan with no real chance to vote otherwise towards another decision. Domestic policy leadership is another on the list of key components.
At first, the President did not have as much a part in domestic policy as he does today. As far back as the eighteenth century, Congress had a strict watch over its powers granted by the constitution, letting the world know that domestic policy was congressional priority number one. Governmental changes in regulatory and policy responsibilities brought on by societal change lead to a bigger executive branch growth than was ever seen before.
The congressional domestic policy attempt finally collapsed in 1921, citing a lack of authority to maintain the ever increasing budget. Upon this event, The Budget and Accounting Act came into existence as an executive order. This gave complete responsibility and oversight of the budget to the President. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative during the Great Depression was a major turning point in increasing Presidential presence and power. The New Deal was miles ahead of what Congress could handle because of the number of programs, the amount of details and the amount of time needed to accomplish it all. After that, executive power has increased in levels reaching all areas from education to safety to the environment. Big government has also come into play due to the extensive nature and amount of planning involved which favors the executive branch. This shift has even influenced other democracies across the world such as Great Britain to follow suit.
In the last four decades, there has been a varied group of individuals to past through the Oval Office from the youthfulness and charisma of John F. Kennedy to the often questionable George W. Bush. Some of these people have succeeded as a proven leader in office and some fell just short. Of all Presidents, the person who I believe has put these elements to the best use possible is Bill Clinton. During his two terms, he led the first Democratic control of Congress in nearly forty years. His leadership in foreign policy lead to the signing of the Oslo Accords with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat present in 1993 and taking an interest in Northern Ireland’s violence that led to the Provisional Irish Republican Army disarming in 2001.
Clinton’s domestic leadership led to the signing of The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the Brady Bill, NAFTA and the Communications Decency Act in 1996. After a multi-year meltdown of Congress after a Democratic dominance, Bill led the balancing of the budget for the first time since 1969 in the presence of a Republican led Congress. Many Republicans also switched to the Democratic Party as a result of his stellar leadership. The country also experienced a healthy economy and an overall good morale when he departed from office in 2001. Overall, a good presidency in my eyes.