The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions
835 pág.

The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions


DisciplinaCiências Políticas e Teoria do Estado622 materiais7.848 seguidores
Pré-visualização50 páginas
focus in HI. The expansion and elaboration of
national states is implicitly applauded, and that may account for the minute
attention given to deregulation, privatization, devolution, and the other state-
shrinking processes of the post-Reagan/Thatcher era which so violate the path
dependent assumption. But one area of the state has not shrunk in the United
States: the presidency and the war-Wghting bureaucracies. These agencies are now
of historically gargantuan size, and the pathological consequences of such un-
checked (by internal or external rivals) power are increasingly apparent.
But expanded executive power, control of news, manipulative propaganda, wars
of dubious necessity, and the starving of the domestic social and regulatory state to
pay for the warfare state\u2014all these conditions have existed in the past, and may be
more implicit in the incentive structure of executive power, even in (or perhaps
especially in) a democracy. Stephen Skowronek\u2019s The Politics Presidents Make (1997)
calls attention to the timeless qualities of executive behavior in a two-party
democracy, but lacks a critical perspective on the pathologies that recur in regime
cycles (such as the attractiveness of war-making for \u2018\u2018articulating\u2019\u2019 presidents).
That is not a weakness of his analysis, so much as an opening to further
reXection on the unanticipated, largely unacknowledged \u2018\u2018moral hazards\u2019\u2019 entailed
by the growth of executive power. Changes in the candidate recruitment process
that aVect the personal qualities, and group and class ties, of presidents since 1972,
and the amassing of enormous military resources and extensive control of infor-
mation that accompany the rise of the USA to unrivaled global power, suggest that
52 elizabeth sanders
it may be time for a critical examination of the institution of the presidency, quite
apart from the usual attention to the individuals that inhabit it.
Historical institutionalists, then, will not be distracted by wishful thinking about
diVerent personalities occupying executive power. If HI teaches us anything, it is
that the place to look for answers to big questions about class, power, war, and
reform is in institutions, not personalities, and over the longer landscapes of
history, not the here and now.
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