chapter  2
18 Pages

The Two Presidencies

ByAaron Wildavsky

The United States has one president, but it has two presidencies; one presidency is for domestic affairs, and the other is concerned with defense and foreign policy. Power in politics is control over governmental decisions. Domestic policy making is usually based on experimental adjustments to an existing situation. The general public is much more dependent on presidents in foreign affairs than in domestic matters. Opinions are easier to gauge in domestic affairs because, for one thing, there is a stable structure of interest groups that covers virtually all matters of concern. The congressional appropriations power is potentially a significant resource, but circumstances since the end of World War II have tended to reduce its effectiveness. The outstanding feature of the military's participation in making defense policy is their amazing weakness. Presidents must now expect to pay the high costs themselves if the world situation deteriorates.