The Presidency as an institution
Both the administration of Carter and Reagan were shaped by the Cold War in the aftermath of Watergate. Watergate created cynicism of the government, which in turn made governing difficult both intentionally as well as improvisational because the institution of the President was seen as acting in the best interest of itself. President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan both had their difficulties as President. Carter had terrible problems with economics as our country underwent high unemployment as well as many other economic problems. Reagan was one of the unfortunate Presidents that had to deal with assassination attempts. Both Presidents had great accomplishments both foreign and domestic. Carter ran as an anti-Washington establishment candidate. Reagan was elected four years later on a mandate for less government. The Carter and Reagan administrations are the start of an institutional evolution of the Presidency. Reagan was good at the institutional end of the Presidency because of his belief in limited government and his ability to communicate what many in the country were feeling during the poor economy of the late 1970's. Reagan was able to efficiently adapt to situations by using immediate change to his advantage-surviving an assassination to garner support for his tax plan and understanding the circumstances in the former Soviet Union that, with proper engagement in this "fog" of the Cold War, help bring about the demise of communism as a major power in Europe.
Reagan's success in changing to adapt to the political terrain, yet staying on his limited core intentions, can be used as a benchmark for change in the institution of the Presidency. With excellent communication skills and intuition for reading the changes inherent in politics, Reagan was able to not only gain support for his plans and reactions, but also become the "Teflon President." President Jimmy Carter had trouble with the intention of...
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