How Presidents Govern: Crash Course Government and Politics #14

hi I'm Craig and this is crash course government and politics and today we're going to talk about government I know you're thinking Craig we've been talking about government for 13 weeks to that I say you got me but let's talk about actual governing in particular the executive branch tools and strategies that the president uses to try to get things done I mean the president's just one person for now who knows what sort of animal human hybrid will be president in the future but there's a lot of president thing to be done in the United States so we usually just talk about the president as if he's the entire executive branch but obviously there's more to it than that technically the entire federal bureaucracy is part of the executive branch but it's really big and complicated for today let's just look at the top levels the bigwigs the Han greens the head honchos the ones that deal most directly with the president hang green doesn't work for the government at the top of the organizational pyramid is the president of course and I suppose just below him is the vice president ready to break a tie in the Senate or step in if the president dies or go to a shopping mall opening on behalf of the president to paraphrase Truman's desk the buck stops with the president meaning he has the ultimate decision in important matters and therefore takes the blame when they go wrong George W Bush once called himself the decider and there's a lot of truth to that description but many probably most policy decisions are made at lower levels because there are just too many of them for the president to make them all president is served directly by the White House staff which is made up mostly of trusted policy and political advisors called special assistants special assistant I need more coffee other than television versions we don't see much of the White House staff except for the press secretary who's the public spokesperson for the president and maybe the chief of staff can be a public figure as well next in terms of proximity to the president and influence on his decisions is the executive office of the president it's staffed by various advisors and policy experts they're selected by the president and his office rather than by rising through the ranks of government employment or they're chosen for political reasons like many cabinet secretaries officials in the EOP give important advice to the President on specified topics although there are a lot of different departments in the EOP probably the most important are the national security council the Council of Economic Advisors and the Office of Management and Budget the oum the cabinet used to be very important in advising the president and it still can be but that depends on the president some presidents rely a lot on the heads of cabinet departments and usually the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense play a significant role in the administration especially if there's a lot of foreign policy issues to deal with the cabinet secretaries tend to become prominent when bad things happen for example in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis the Treasury secretary was in the news a lot you sometimes hear a lot about the Attorney General who heads the Justice Department when civil rights issues crop up like same-sex marriage or affirmative action and if there's a terrorist threat you might be seeing a lot more of the Secretary of Homeland Security they're also independent agencies and government corporations which historically speaking are relatively new with the exception of the postal service the Postal Service is one of the oldest functioning government agencies although it's now a government corporation which means it's supposed to earn money be self-funding my fiance's dad works for the Postal Service so postal workers are awesome sir sadly the post office isn't doing that great financially so buy a stamp once in a while send a letter to an old friend or something how else are you going to send it without the post-office Eagle no Amtrak's the other well-known government Corporation and it isn't profitable either how else you gonna get around eagle isn't big enough to take you unless you're Gandalf independent agencies and regulatory commissions appear in the news a lot usually in stories buried in the back pages or whatever the digital equivalent of back pages are your uncle's blog but they're rarely called independent agencies NASA is probably the best-known independent agency because everyone knows space travel is awesome watch crash course astronomy as well as scishow space but for now keep watching government and politics thank you but are there more down-to-earth agencies include the Federal Trade Commission the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission it's easy to remember those three are regulatory commissions because they have the word commission built right in so that's helpful and for most of us even if we don't realize it the most important independent federal agency is the Federal Reserve System which manages banking and monetary policy and which will get its own episode later because it's really important and kind of mysterious well I get my own episode later how Craig relates to the government I'm kind of mysterious so that's the structure of the executive branch more or less these agencies are the tools the government has to make policy and to implement it they are the heart and soul of actual governing but they aren't all that fun especially when you look at what strategies the president uses to actually govern political scientists will tell you and I'm not going to argue with them they're scientists they went to college that the president has three main strategies at his disposal party leadership mobilizing public opinion and administrative strategies one of these is much more important than the other two which one is it can you guess which one it's not party leadership but the president is the leader of his political party and can use it to create and manage policy especially in Congress where party matters a lot the president usually appoints members of his own party to head agencies and once appointed party affiliation doesn't matter much to an agency head because he's not running for office control the party makes it easier for the president to get choices through Congress though the strategy doesn't work when there's divided government but when one party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House it's easier for the president to use its position as party leader as leverage to accomplish his policy goals when they're in different parties not so much it's more like this that was my third Eagle punch of the video patric mobilizing public opinion is also not the most important tool in the president's toolbox but going public is what I'm going to talk about right now the president's access to the media is almost limitless now that doesn't mean he gets free Netflix although we might especially if he just shares a login with a vice president or something but if he wants a press conference or a speech on national TV he gets it this use of the media is sometimes called the bully pulpit and it sounds like a big policy stick but it has a downside basically it's not really going to work the president isn't popular and his approval rating almost always declines the longer he's in office this leaves the third tool that the president can use to get things done administrative strategy yes that's the most important one using administrative agencies to make and carry out policies huhai yeah let's go to the thought-bubble there are a number of ways that the president can use his administrative offices to bring about the objectives he wants over time the president has expanded the size and capacities of the executive office of the president especially since the New Deal this is large GOP gathers information about policies plans programs communicates with constituents including Congress and interest groups and it can supervise other agencies and check up on how they're working one of the most important examples of this is the expanded reach of the Office of Management and Budget or own to plan the budget and exercise huge influence over how government money is spent another administrative strategy that the president can use is regulatory review federal agencies are usually required to make rules for how they operate the president's office can review these rules make suggestions or even order agencies to adopt certain rules this can have enormous direct and indirect influence over how the rule is implemented to give an example President Bill Clinton ordered the FDA to make rules so that tobacco companies couldn't advertise to children so you don't see cigarette ads on kids TV or any TV actually and that's why teenagers never smoke ever they just ride their Ealy's around and play pokeyman the president can also try to influence the way a law is implemented by issuing a signing statement when he signs a bill into law this is the White House's interpretation of what the law means and they become part of the legislative history that courts can use if the laws are challenged although it's not clear that they have any real legal weight and they might violate separation of powers because courts are supposed to decide what a law means not the president the most important administrative strategy that the president has at his disposal is the executive order these are presidential directives that have the force of law and presidents have used them for major policies that would have been difficult to get through Congress thanks thought-bubble when I say that executive action has been used to push through major policies I mean major policies like purchasing Louisiana annexing Texas emancipating the slaves in turn in Japanese Americans during World War two desegregating the army creating the Peace Corps and implementing affirmative action presidents increasingly rely on administrative strategies for a number of reasons but especially because they were administrative strategies usually happen outside of the public eye which makes it easier for the President to act courts usually defer to administrative actions especially in the area of national defense an administrative action can be much more efficient than having to wait for a majority of 535 members of Congress to agree on something especially if it's something important but the increasingly large and powerful executive branch is controversial and critics have worried about the growing power of the president since FDR or maybe even since Jackson there's an argument that the founders of the country preferred a weak executive branch and not because all that administration is expensive but there are also a few arguments in favor of an expanded presidency that you should know about the first is that in emergencies the nation needs a leader who can act fast and the president is the best suited to be that leader may be Captain America as well but he's fictional of course this could potentially give him an incentive to create emergencies and further increase his power but how about let's not get cynical okay the second argument holds that the president's more able to act in the public interest because he's the center of public attention and thus easily held accountable and because he only has to run for re-election once the third argument in favor of a powerful president is that he's the only nationally elected official and that's the most democratic one the only nationally elected official really what about uh oh yeah you're right the idea is that since most people pay attention to the presidential elections by choosing one person over another the majority of the public is implicitly endorsing his policies I mean everyone loves the president's policies everyone do you buy it I'm not sure that I do maybe you do but increasing the complexity of our understanding is kind of what we do here at crash course thanks for watching I'll see you next time crash course government and politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios support for crash course US government comes from vocal vocal supports non-profits that use technology and media to advance social equity learn more about their mission and initiatives at crash course was made with the help of these presidents of the United hey thanks for watching you

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Sorry Craig but the VP is another nationally electedofficial because he (or she) is on the ballot with the President. Otherwise you're videos have been really helpful (exam at 9:00 tomorrow!!).


    Vice President – first in the presidential line of succession. President of the Senate and presides over Senate deliberations also presides over joint sessions of Congress.

    Secretary of State – advises the President on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations and on the acceptance, recall, or dismissal of representatives from other nations. "Negotiates, interprets, or terminates treaties and agreements" and "conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs.

    Secretary of the Treasury – responsible for formulating and recommending domestic and international financial, economic, and tax policy, participating in the formulation of broad fiscal policies that have general significance for the economy, and managing the public debt. manufacturing coins and currency.

    Secretary of Defense – command and authority over the U.S. military is second only to that of the President and Congress.

    National Security Advisor – serves as an honest broker of policy options for the President in the field of national security, rather than as an advocate for his or her own policy agenda. NSA is able to offer daily advice due to the proximity to the President independently of the vested interests of the large bureaucracies and clientele of those departments.

    Attorney General -the chief lawyer of the Federal Government of the United States, and oversees all governmental legal affairs.

    White House Press Secretary – spokesperson for the President, senior executives, and policies. responsible for collecting information about actions and events within the president's administration and issues the administration's reactions to developments around the world. The press secretary interacts with the media, and deals with the White House press corps on a daily basis, generally in a daily press briefing. 

    Secretary of the Interior – responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources.

    Secretary of Agriculture – responsible for the safety of food produced and sold in the US, also works with the states to provide food to low-income citizens.

    Secretary of Commerce – responsible for promoting American businesses and industries; its mission to be "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce".

    Secretary of Labor – controls the department, and enforces and suggests laws involving unions, the workplace, and all other issues involving any form of business-person controversies.

    Secretary of Health and Human Services – advises the president on matters that revolve around human conditions and concerns in the United States i.e. health, welfare, and income security programs.

    Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – -mission is "to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.

    Secretary of Transportation – mission is "to develop and coordinate policies that will provide an efficient and economical national transportation system, with due regard for need, the environment, and the national defense."

    Secretary of Energy – responsible for US policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material. Its responsibilities include the nation's nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production.

    Secretary of Education – advises the President and the federal government, on federal policies, programs, and activities related to education policy i.e. federal assistance to education postsecondary grants, loans, and work-study assistance to students and their families pay for college, collect data on US schools, and to enforce federal educational laws regarding privacy and civil rights.

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs – responsible for veterans' benefits, health care, and national veterans' memorials and cemeteries.

    Secretary of Homeland Security – responsible for protecting the U.S. and the safety of U.S. citizens i.e anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cyber security, and disaster prevention and management.

    Chief of Staff – oversees the actions of the White House staff, manages the president's schedule, and decides who is allowed to meet with the president.

    White House Communications Director –  ensures that all aspects of communications are covered to ensure that the administration's message has been delivered clearly and successfully. A communications strategy must be devised to promote the president's agenda throughout all media outlets. This can include, but certainly is not limited to, the inaugural address, State of the Union address, televised press conferences, statements to the press, and radio addresses. The director, along with his or her staff, works on the presidents speeches. The communications office also works closely with cabinet-level departments and other executive agencies in order to create a coherent strategy, through which the president's message can be disseminate.

    Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – responsible for enforcing the nation's Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. The agency conducts environmental assessment, research, and education. It has the responsibility of maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with state, tribal, and local governments. It delegates some permitting, monitoring, and enforcement responsibility to U.S. states and the federally recognized tribes. EPA enforcement powers include fines, sanctions, and other measures. The agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts.

    Director of the Office of Management and Budget – evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies, and procedures, assesses competing funding demands among agencies, and sets funding priorities. OMB ensures that agency reports, rules, testimony, and proposed legislation are consistent with the president's budget and with administration policies. OMB oversees and coordinates the administration's procurement, financial management, information, and regulatory policies. In each of these areas, OMB's role is to help improve administrative management, to develop better performance measures and coordinating mechanisms, and to reduce any unnecessary burdens on the public.

    Ambassador to the United Nations – leader of the U.S. delegation, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations is charged with representing the United States on the U.N. Security Council and during almost all plenary meetings of the General Assembly.

    United States Trade Representative – advises the President on trade policy, conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels, and coordinating trade policy within the government.

    Director of National Intelligence – produces the President's Daily Brief (PDB), a top-secret document including intelligence matters related to national security from all the various agencies, given each morning to the President of the United States.

    Administrator of the Small Business Administration – responsible for maintaining and strengthening the nation's economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters". The agency's activities are summarized as the "3 Cs" of capital, contracts and counseling.

  3. Wow this video had less forced jokes and Nicki Minaj-esque voice changing, and would you look at that i made it all the way through and learned something…

  4. 90% ish of people in the middle east think its ok to stone to death women who look at men. Just because the "majority" dose not mean its good.

  5. Amtrak, the post office, the DMV…all examples of why I don't want government to run services that people think they should……..Healthcare! Who in their right mind could honestly think the government would be better at running healthcare than leaving it in the private sector, where the most advances in medicine have been made. Not to mention the government decides who gets or doesn't get healthcare service. If the government deems you too expensive to treat, sorry tough luck.

  6. oh my goodness you must from the north. you talk so fast in upcoing videos please consider your southern friends and talk a little bit slower please.

  7. It is more than a little disconcerting to watch this series in 2018. Craig did predict the future though, we ended up with a weird animal hybrid in office…Nobody is really sure what trump is but my guess is that they infused orangutan DNA with ill-gotten money and he is the ethically and mentally challenged result.

  8. Thank you for these videos, glad to see you guys getting the support you rightfully deserve- high school senior

  9. That eagle has been through it I'm just saying 😂😂😂😂😂. Great Video Crash Course is awesome.

Related Post