The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 15, 1968 · Page 37
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 37

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, November 15, 1968
Page 37
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Palm Beach Post, Friday, Nov. 15, 1968 37 4 Any Boy Can Become President' Less Than Fact many have spoken their disillusionment. "My God! What is there in this place that a man should ever want to get in it?" cried James Garfield. "The responsibilities of the office ought to sober a man even before he approaches it," said Woodrow Wilson. "I have had enough of it, heaven knows," said William McKinley. "I have had all the honor there is in the place and have responsibilities enough to kill any man." The presidency, in George and seven special consultants t,i ""u.sels. Despite the growth of presidential authority, no White House occupant can get results merely by giving orders. "I sit here all day trying to persuade people to do the things they ought to have sense enough to do without my persuading them," Harry Truman said. "That's all the power of the president amounts to." Franklin D. Roosevelt, seldom if ever reluctant to exercise the full power of the White bureau chiefs head many-more. Federal operations spill across dividing lines on organization charts; almost every policy entangles many agencies; almost every program calls for interagency collaboration. "Everything somehow involves the president." To run the White House of-, fice alone takes 250 people 'with a payroll of more than $3 million a year. Lyndon B. Johnson's roster lists no fewer than eight special assistants dent's presence is felt in every facet of modem life, and he is held accountable for its failings. Richard E. Neustadt, in his widely acclaimed book, "Presidential Power," commented: "Like our governmental structure as a whole, the executive establishment consists of separated institutions sharing power. The president heads one of these; Cabinet officers, agency administrators and military commanders head others. Below the departmental level, virtually independent "A man has to keep riding or be swallowed." The ride confronting the man who becomes the 37th president next January is certain to be as rough as that of his predecessors. The presidency has become a colossus unimagined before World War II. In that White House oval office, rests authority and influence far beyond that envisioned by the frame rs of the Constitution who summed up presidential powers and duties in 3,'U words. Today the presi By HAKRY F. ROSENTHAL WASHINGTON (API In American folklore any boy can prow up to be president. The legend is less than (actual. Hut its promise of power and glory has goaded men to seek what Theodore Roosevelt called "a position as great as that of the mightiest monarch." It offers to make a man, in Herbert Hoover's words, "a link in the long chain of his country's destiny." Hut of the men who have dwelt in the White House. Washington's eyes, required "unremitting attention." It was "dignified slavery" to Andrew Jackson; "anxiety, tribulation and abuse" to Abraham Lincoln. Grover Cleveland, the only president to gain a second term after being defeated for re-election, said paradoxically: "I do not want the office. It involves responsibility beyond human strength." Harry S. Truman likened being president to riding a tiger: Ni9 CiNMMiw9 gj EaWMutf3 --'.TSgu-j E i0r mmm STORES FABULOUS DEPARTMENT House, complained once that while he had trouble getting action out of the Treasury and State Departments, these problems were nothing compared to stirring the Navy. "To charvge anything in the Navy is like punching a feather bed," he said. "You punch it with your right and you punch it with your left until you are finally exhausted, and then you find the dam;-, bed just as it was before you started punching. " Neustadi agrees with Truman: a president's power is-the power to persuade. "Effective influence for the man in the White House stems from three related sources," he says. "First are the bargaining advantages inherent in his job with which to persuade other men that what he wants of them is what their own responsibilities require them to do. ' "Second arc the expectations of those other men regarding his ability and will to use the various advantages they think he (the president) has. Third are those men's estimates of how his public-views him and how their publics may view them if they do That he wants. In short, his ;ower is the product of his vantage points in government, iogether with his reputation in the Washington community ,md his prestige outside." As the White House has mown more powerful, presidents have increasingly at-' mpted to delegate au",nf,.'v i aides. Some of these as-.Istants have become belter Known and more influential LOOK FOR THE CREEH CLOVER FOR ''EXTRA SAVmCS" n imiiftfr 295 SQ. IN. 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I V quality, color quick tuning ond picture sharp control, perfect 1 i,.m trt""' , I l ' 0 if Kl Vil color reception in any port of your home. 1 Bjrj 1 1. 1 . . . : l J; filffiKtfKl SHOP ZAYRE FOR FABULOUS SAVINGS fTStStSttS WJiM l PARKING I ZAYRE WEST PALM BEACH , PARKING PIW FREE AND EASY BetweeSSS Ls FREE AND EASY J MBHliiijJ ZAYRE -THE DEPARTMENT STORE WHERE BETTER QUALITY COSTS YOU LESS Wjtfelj I than members of the presi dent's Cabinet, who often must forego their lunction as advisors to tend to their own bureaucracies, or elected old-rials. Harry Hopkins, the man Franklin Roosevelt turned to most olten, acted as ambassador without porfolio; Truman had Clark Clifford. Sherman Adams became a filter through which passed all ac cess to Eisenhower. Kennedy had his brother Bob and Ted Sorenson. Just being known as a man who has the president's ear is enough to bestow on a subordinate power and influence few elected officials possess. The burdens and the loneliness of the job help explain the rise of the presidential assistant. Roosevelt once was asked by Wendell Willkie why he retained Hopkins. "Someday you may be sitting where I am now," Roosevelt told the man who ran against him unsuccessfully in mil), "and you'll discover the need for somebody like Harry Hopkins who asks for nothing except to serve you." Kisenhower advocated a "first secretary of the govern ment," to take on some of the presidency's burdens. A Sen-ale committee rejected the pmposal. "Only one official has the constitutional and political power required to assume that role and maintain it," the committee said. "That official is the president of the C'nited States. He cannot be relieved ol his burdens by sup plying him with a 'deputy' to do what only he can do." Truman said it more simply a tew years earlier with a sign on his desk: "The Ruck Stops Here." Kaeh president shapes the office to fit his ou n personality. Roosevelt was a connoisseur of power and he had no peer in knowing what it was, where and how to get il, and how to use it. Kisenhower brought to the White House a soldier's eon eept ol doing things through channels. When command failed, he was frustrated or disheartened. He didn't enjoy the politics ol power; he was an antipolitician in a politi cian's seat. Truman, who would have been happy to remain in the Senate the rest of his life, nevertheless became a decisive president. In fact, this dislin guished Truman Iroin Roosevelt, who was prone to defer decisions, and from Kisenhower, who believed in a minimal use of presidential power. Critics often have called Tn man impulsive, but his supporters say, in reality, he solicited all shades ol opinion before coming to a decision. Rut once H was made, he ex peeled subordinates to accept and support it. .lohn Kennedy was distrust lul of bureaucracy and turned, instead, to hjs brother. Robert, and to the talented, ambitious, strong-willed men that were his inner circle. Like Roosev let, Kennedy often set them against each other. Aides have recalled, for example, that he liked to assign two or more people to research a particular action, then pick the best points ol each. Lyndon Johnson, perhaps most like Roosevelt in the knowledge of how to set and use power, looks toward youn-' ger men for action and older men, such as Clark Clifford, now secretary of defense, for advice. Like Kisenhower. Johnson employs a formal chain of command, and uses his staff to watch over affairs of various agencies. Unlike Kisenhower, he seldom delegates authority. There was a day when the presidency could be divided into well defined roles: The chief of state, the commander-In - chief, the head of the party, etc. But In modern America the distinctions blur, and the power of one overlaps the other.

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