I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Steven Rattner: "Free the President"... from Congress

Financier turned journalist Steven Rattner wrote an op-ed in the New York Times last week arguing that the president should stand firm and resist Congress inserting itself into the nuclear agreement with Iran. While he may have a point regarding this specific issue, I found his other arguments and evidence way off base.
Steven Rattner.jpg
Steven Rattner

He says, "I wish the president had had the votes to hang tough on this important right, in part because of the precedent it sets for future executive agreements and the pall it casts over his fight for the legality of his recent executive orders on immigration, climate change and other matters."

Since the 1970s, Rattner argues Congress has "eroded the powers of the presidency." As we have discussed in class, he believes this began as a response to Nixon’s “Imperial Presidency.” As a result, “Congress ...restricted the president’s ability to withhold funds that had been appropriated.

I think he is conflating president’s power in domestic policy with his ability to negotiate. While the president can enter into executive agreements, this does not correspond to his power to implement Congress's spending, though the Congress exerts a check on the president's ability to pursue treaties. He mistakes Obama’s deference to Congress as a shift in constitutional authority of the president--a political, not constitutional, effect. He then calls for the re-implementation of the president's line item veto and an end to lawsuits against executive orders. 

Lastly, I thought this line was a nice way of saying the president should have the ability to manipulate congressional appropriations: “So let’s reinstate the president’s ability to implement routine reorganizations.” 


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James Jones said...

How did WWI affect the US economy?
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