S President be more or less accountable? If so, how, and to whom?.
Ernest Griffiths argues that once he is elected the powers and influence of a president are enormous, certainly exceeding those of a British Prime Minister. The constitution itself deals largely in generalities, stating for example that the executive power shall be vested in the President. (Griffith, 1983, P65) However, in reality, it is a much more complicated picture, and since various reforms during the 1970's, The argument that the President is the "supreme unifying element in the American system of government is not only questionable, but can be clearly exposed through consideration of contemporary examples.
Through consideration of the main powers of the U.S President in the American political system, I will argue that the actual problem with the system is that the President now finds himself held to account, to such an extent that he can not lead effectively. Through mainly focussing on accountability to congress, I will assess how in theory the President may have significant powers, but in practice, recent developments limit any leader. Finally, I will put forward the case for reform, in particular to the powers of congress. Through critical analysis of the separation of powers principle, on which the American system is founded, it will become apparent that there is a need to eradicate the main problem, with the Executive being cut off, and too separate from the legislature. Much can be taken form the British system in terms of alternatives, in that the system gives the leader adequate freedom to lead with appropriate power and authority.
Before assessing the way in which the President is too accountable, it is important to establish what exactly are his powers. Maidment and Tappin outline the main powers. The President is the head of the Executive branch. He is the Commander in chief of the armed forces, has the power to make treaties and the authority to appoint ambassadors, cabinet officers.