Is this truly the most powerful job on Earth? Or is that just talk?
We’ve all heard that the office of the US President is the “most powerful office in the world”. To many people, this means that the president is, effectively, all-powerful. Not quite god-like, but very nearly. What follows, is that whatever happens – it’s the president’s fault, or at the very least, it’s his responsibility. The president’s power is not merely the ability to do what the Constitution says, but also his ability to work with his team as well as his opposition. Most importantly, however, it’s his ability to deal with the people who put him in power. And, no, it’s NOT YOU.
- The enumerated powers of the US President are quite a few, but when you read the Constitution carefully, you may be surprised that his powers are actually quite limited. The fact that many US presidents have exercised powers that clearly go beyond what the Constitution grants them can be simply attributed to their ability to either override it, or change it. And, more often than not – muddy up the definitions.
- Personal character is a hugely important factor. As much as we’re all conditioned to think these days that the president – and all politicians – are basically just soulless political animals, even if you accept that view it is clear that personal power and charisma are indeed hugely important. If the president has that kind of “right stuff” he will find it much easier trampling the Constitution if it suits him.
- By far the biggest influence on the president is his REAL constituency. The people who put him in power, i.e. those who actively financed his campaign and actively eliminated any hindrances to his appointment. Those people are typically political power brokers such as the ultra-wealthy, top dogs in banks and multinational corporations. They know that they don’t have any “official” power, but they also know that if the president goes against their wishes, they can simply withdraw their support. It would be a truly brave president (“good” or “bad”) who would dare cross too many of those backers.
Apart from the powers you can look up in the links below, the president has as much power as he can be granted by his powerful special interests which put him in office – and keep him there. In isolated circumstance an overwhelming popular lack of support MAY – briefly – curb some of those powers, but the President and his backers always find a way around that problem. So, the President REPRESENTS power. Not the power of the people, but the power of special interests. Simple as that…!