Enoch goes about these powers and limitations, their

Enoch Powell, (1912-1998), was a British politician and the former
Secretary of State for Health in the United Kingdom (UK). Enoch Powell once
said “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy
junction, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human
affairs” (The Economist). The powers, which presidents are
entitled to, have limitations, and so depending on how well the President goes
about these powers and limitations, their Presidency can either end very badly,
in failure, or very well, in success. Some of the President’s powers include
being the head of the executive branch of government, the commander in chief of
Armed Forces, making treaties with foreign nations, etc. However, limitations
on these powers include; only Congress can authorise war and money for the
armed services, two thirds of the majority of Senate must ratify treaties with
foreign powers, the majority of senate must support presidential appointments,
and most importantly, the President can be impeached from office. With the role
of the President being increasingly more involved in social and economic life,
and with more social and technological change, there are more opportunities for
the President to succeed or fail than there used to be (Dr Waddan, 2017, Presidential
Power). This essay will explore whether or not it is fact that “all
presidencies end in failure”.

 

There are different ways to determine whether a Presidency
has ended in failure. One way is to look at the average approval rating of the
President. George Gallup created presidential approval ratings in the 1930s. They
are calculated by a poll, which asks people whether or not they approve of the
political figure. It is said that when a President’s approval rating has fallen
to around 37%, their position is unrecoverable (Stratfor Worldview). This means that when a President’s
approval rating is approaching less than 40%, (anything under 50%), you can
regard their Presidency as a failure. Many Presidents have seen their approval
ratings drop under 50%. For instance, President Harry Truman’s (1945-1953)
rating was at 45.4% by the end of his presidency (Gallup News, Presidential
Approval Ratings). The reason his rating was low was arguably due to
the Korean War, where in 1950, he ordered US forces to Korea, to aid South
Korea and protect it from North Korea. However, because Truman did not seek a
formal declaration of war from Congress (which is one of the limitations on
presidential power), this action was seen as controversial, and so brought his
average approval rating down. Another example of a President whose approval
rating was near ‘failure’ was Richard Nixon (1969-1974). Nixon resigned during
his impeachment process, so that he wasn’t officially impeached (which again,
is another limitation on presidential power). However before he resigned, he
was still charged with the first three articles of impeachment. The reason
Nixon was going through the impeachment process is because of the Watergate
scandal, which involved illegal activities being authorised by senior members
of Nixon’s administration. Furthermore, there have been more Presidents with
approval ratings that are under 50%, than over 50%. Those that have had approval
ratings over 50% include John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, George Bush and Bill
Clinton. To summarise this point, we can assume that all Presidencies do end in
failure because of the limitations to presidential power, which have resulted
in low approval ratings.

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To counter this, it can be said that we cannot assume a
Presidency has ended in failure just because of a low approval rating. With
President Truman for instance, he had a low approval rating, and wasn’t able to
run for a second term in office, but he still regarded as one of the best
presidents the USA had. Moreover, you could argue that the legacy made by a
President is more important than approval ratings, and so because almost all
Presidents have made a positive historical statement, it is wrong to say that
all Presidencies end in failure.

 

Another argument to support the statement “all Presidencies
end in failure, is based on the fact that even the most “approved” President
has failures. John F Kennedy was the US President from 1961 to 1963. He was a
very popular president, and has the highest average approval rating, 70.1% (Gallup News, Presidential Approval Ratings). A magazine article even says “Americans consistently give him the
highest approval rating of any president since Franklin D. Roosevelt” (The Atlantic Magazine). Unfortunately,
Kennedy’s term was cut short after being assassinated in 1963 in Texas whilst
he was in a motorcade. John Kennedy made a series of mistakes in the short time
he served as President, and his first year especially was the worst. His first
year was even described as a “disaster” in The Atlantic Magazine. One failure
Kennedy made in his first year of Presidency was the Bay of Pigs invasion into
Cuba. The Bay of Pigs invasion began in 1961, where CIA-trained Cuban refugees
attempt to overturn the communist government, which was under Fidel Castro. This
invasion failed and cost America a lot. Also, Kennedy failed to make things
better by publicly accepting blame. To conclude this point, it is evident to us
that even the most popular and respected Presidents have failed, and so the
statement “All Presidencies end in failure” is somewhat correct.

 

However, the point above can be argued to be invalid because
John F Kennedy is recognised more for his strengths than his weaknesses. He is
still very respected, which is obvious by the fact that approximately every
year, 350,000 people visit the place in which the assassination took place.

There is also a museum for him, whereby people write tributes to him in the
memory books there. People write things like, “Our greatest President” (The Atlantic Magazine) Additionally, we can argue that it is unfair and incorrect to
say that a man, who was assassinated before his presidency term finished,
failed in running office. Therefore, the statement “All Presidencies end in
failure” is wrong to say based on the example of John F Kennedy.

 

The final argument this essay will present to support the
statement is about the USA’s last President, Barack Obama. Barack Obama served
as America’s 44hth President, from the Democratic Party, from 2009 to 2017,
which from there, Donald Trump took over his role. Various people believe that
Obama’s Presidency ended in failure, for various reasons. One reason to believe
that it ended in failure, is simply because he arguably divided America, when
he should have brought America together. At the end of Obama’s second term,
polls showed us that only 27% of Americans feel united as a result of his
presidency (The Denver Post, 2017). In comparison to the 44% that believe
the USA is now more divided, the difference is a lot. Obama failed to use his
majority in Congress to fulfil his political aims. For instance, Obama failed
to get a bill on climate change passed. It was passed in the House of
Representatives, but nothing happened in the Senate (Dr Waddan, 2017, Presidential
Power). When campaigning for his Presidency, climate change is a topic
that Obama really focused on. So for him to not be able to pass a bill on
climate change was seen as a failure. Even the Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency at the time, Carol Browner, expressed “What is
abundantly clear is that an economy-wide program, which the president has
talked about for years, is not doable in the senate”. As a person, Obama is
very well respected. He has good presidential character, which is important to
the public, though looking closely at his achievements; he didn’t keep many of
the promises he made during his campaign. Some of the things he promised to do,
which he didn’t follow through, included closing down the prison in Guantanamo
Bay, and passing gun laws. The difference in being liked by the public and
actually succeeding in presidency can be seen in the following statistics; “8
in 10 African-Americans view the nation’s first black president favourably”,
but ” just 43% of African-Americans say Obama made things better for black
people, while roughly half say they see no difference” (The Denver Post, 2017). Using the example of Barack Obama failing
to meet his promises and pass bills even with a majority in both houses, it is
fair to support the statement, “All Presidencies end in failure”.

 

Those that would argue against this might simply say that
Barack Obama being the first black president is enough of a success. The USA
voting for a black president was seen as a step forward from their history of
racism, which should be recognised as an achievement. Furthermore, Obama made
changes in the USA that are still looked upon today. Obamacare for instance,
which is also known as the Affordable Care Act, makes affordable health
insurance available to more people, and to cover all adults that earn a
specific salary (Healthcare.gov). Obamacare
is still in effect, and will be in 2018 (Lancaster
Online). The current President, Donald Trump, even tried to ‘repeal and
replace’ Obamacare recently, but it did not go through Congress (Dr Waddan, 2017, Presidential Power). So
Obama being the first black president of the USA, and for creating Obamacare,
you can argue that not all Presidencies end in failure.

 

In conclusion, I would support the statement, “All
Presidencies end in failure”. The most important argument to come to this
conclusion was the one regarding the President’s approval rating. This was
important as it showed us that even if a President makes “good” political
decisions, holds a majority in both houses, or has good presidential character,
it is still difficult to get a high approval rating. The second most important
argument to come to this conclusion was the example of Obama. Without giving
examples, it is safe to say that Obama is associated with more positive words
than negative words. From this, and from his popularity, we would assume that
his presidency was a success. Even though after analysing his presidency it is
understood why is presidency ended in failure, you would assume that a
President that is so popular and respected would be successful. A fair
counter-argument that could possibly make the statement be seen as wrong to
some extent was the counter-point revolving Kennedy, and how much respect he
has earned. However, you could even say this argument was invalid, because he
is only being respected and remembered because of his death, not because of the
work he did during his Presidency. Therefore all Presidencies do end in failure.