General Question

squidcake's avatar

What are some reasons the president has to rely on more than just formal powers?

Asked by squidcake (2636points) February 17th, 2010

The President of the U.S. has formal powers, enumerated in Article II of the Constitution. He also has “informal” powers, those which are never mentioned. What are some reasons the president has to rely on more than just formal powers?

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10 Answers

marinelife's avatar

See if you can read through this site for an understanding of the President’s informal powers.

The why is because not everything the President does was written down by the founders.

Cruiser's avatar

A president’s informal powers are mainly his “power” by the prestige of his office to persuade others to follow his lead. I am exerting tremendous restraint to not editorialize further in my answer.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Perhaps you also mean such informal powers as rhetoric, charm, manners and humor. Presidents are well trained in these arts. Perhaps this could apply to linguistic genius, such as deciding to redefine what the word “is” was… or could, should or might have been, or might still be. Or maybe it is the informal power of convenient amnesia, where “At this point in time I do not recall” rolls trippingly off the tongue, seemingly unrehearsed and sincere. The art of appearing to care is so taken for granted that when a president such as Bush 2 fails to display it the anguish across the country is manifest.

Mostly, though, it refers to the art of mass hypnosis and legerdemain that allows a seeming majority of voters to believe in the fairy tales we are told… and making your tax dollars disappear. Magic!

BoBo1946's avatar

Informal powers are powers based more on tradition passed down from other Presidents. For example, introduce troops into an area without a declaration of war comes to mind first and farmost (the reason for this “informal” power is self explanatory, in that, in an emergency situation, the President does not have time to consult Congress). Others: issue executive orders, set and enact the country’s legislative agenda, conduct foreign policy initiatives!

BoBo1946's avatar

@squidcake Is this for your American History class? loll..just curious!

squidcake's avatar

It’s for my government class actually. I’m letting Fluther help me with my homework, lol.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@squidcake that’s a power that presidents possess in spades: the ability to coerce others to do his work for him. We should keep our eyes on you. By which I mean, “never turn our backs” to you.

BoBo1946's avatar

@squidcake loll…honesty is more important than answering this question correctly. Good for you!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

What is frightening is the way these informal powers can add up. When Lincoln made himself essentially a military dictator, he was using those powers. He also used his power as Commander-in-Chief to prevent Congress or the Supreme Court from stopping him. Since then, Wilson and FDR referred to his precedent when ruling by executive decree in both World Wars. The President could do the same thing today; declare some “emergency”, use the military to block the Congress or Supreme Court from stopping him, then rule by Executive Order.

smokeweedeveryday's avatar

Obama isn’t keeping his word on trying to stop the war :(

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