By Thomas Berman
How has this course shaped your understanding of and interaction with presidential politics in the U.S?
Well thats a very interesting question, you see? When I came to Wellesley High School, I only had one backpack, and I didn't know anyone in my political science class (What, no friends from your job?). Ahahaha, no, but I had a great appreciation of U.S. politics and current events, so the political class complemented my interests a great deal.
So, I mean, whats the interesting part?
Well the interesting part is that I misunderstood a lot about presidential power. I had a flawed perception of the executive office. I believed the executive branch has more power than it actually has. For example, I perceived the executive branch as the branch that gets things done, and the legislative branch (congress) as the branch to keep the president in check. What I learned, and have acquired a greater appreciation for, is that it is congress's duty to get things done and the presidents duty to keep congress in check.
Over the course of U.S. history, the president has acquired more power--primarily political power. As the figurehead of the nation, the president has the spotlight for much of the time, and as a result the president has responsibilities that are not in his job description. These responsibilities include pushing congress to pass the legislation he desires, and leading on political and social movements. It is because of these unofficial responsibilities that my perception of the executive office was twisted. Thankfully, this class set my understandings straight and has enhanced my ability to interact with presidential politics in the future.