Even though I thought my paper was going to be more focused on current events and a comparative study of President Bush’s and President Obama’s national security policy, I was surprised at how theoretical my paper became. While I certainly delve into details regarding specific policies and facets of each president’s counterterrorism framework, the essay’s main purpose is to explore the limitations of the modern presidency and how President Obama had little agency in his decision to continue many of his predecessor’s policies.
As such, my paper has allowed me to understand current events in a more theoretical, nuanced way that I believe news sources often miss. For instance, there is rarely any discussion regarding the limitations of the modern presidency or once there is an expansion of presidential power, it is rarely ever reduced again. Thus, the media, especially during presidential campaigns, mislead readers by following Richard Neustadt’s antiquated perspective on the presidency by making the office seem as if most decisions are driven by the president personally. This stands in contrast to the idea, the one that I agree with in my paper, that the president has a limited ability to effect the deep institutional framework that now defines the Executive Branch. However, even though my paper is strictly on national security policy, I believe this theory lends itself to other policy areas as well, such as with the economy. Since the economy is perhaps the most salient issue in current events, my research has allowed me to understand that the president has very little ability to effect the economy and I would like to see the news media at least explore that notion more frequently.