Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Who has political power in America?

Give at least two examples that the person you cite has political power.

63 comments:

PMiner said...

Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck

Proof, they are the smartest men alive!

CAbbey said...

Barack Obama because the people of the country associate him with government more than any other individual person. He makes the most news on tv, making people pay more attention to him than other legislators who may not be on tv or get any media coverage.

Hillary Clinton because she is in the news a lot as well, and because she ran for president, people know her name, so they pay more attention to her than they do any normal politician.

nspoerk said...

In my opinion, one of the most powerful yet least appreciated positions of power in the American political machine is the majority leader in Congress. For example, look and the Senate majority leader...

Elected by popular vote from the other senators elected on a common party ticket, the majority floor leader speaks for that party on issues on the floor of the Senate. Generally, he or she keeps the party policies in mind when speaking to help push legislation proposals towards the ideals of the other senators or debate on some issues more than others on the floor. In return for this representation, the majority leader recieves the support of those he represents. This is really just a way of consolidating the political power of each senator in a political party into one larger, more powerful unit. With the backing of a majority of the Senate, the leader can press issues because of the power that comes with a group that has the margins to win a vote over an issue.

This position becomes even more powerful when the executive and legislative branch majorities are held by the same party. For example, right now the Democrats hold the presidency and majority in Congress. This has allowed President Obama to advise Congress to propose various bills, such as the new Health Care Bill and the legislation needed to fund it. Despite its more liberal approach, it was able to be quickly passed through congress because of the combined power of the majority Democrat Senators, personified by the position of the majority leader.

LWundrock said...

Identifying who has political power in America, and who has political authority in America are two very different feats. Before even answering either question, one must begin with the proper definitions of both terms. Power is defined in our book as the ability of one person to get another person to act in accordance with the first person's intentions. In other words, power is who can be the most convincing. Authority is also defined as the right to use power, formal authority being the right to use power vested in a governmental office.

Although at first thought it would seem appropriate to deem the President with ultimate political power, I would disagree based simply on the definition of power. Instead, I would argue that the President has a lot of formal authority. John F. Cooney's "Analysis of President Obama's Use of His Authority" highlights how he has used it to manage the Executive Branch and overturn Bush Administration policies in four main areas:

1) Openness in Government- limiting assertion of executive privilege; encouraging agencies to act in a transparent and collaborative manner.

2) Labor Relations- requiring use of project labor agreements for federal construction projects; facilitating union organizing.

3) Energy and the Environment- directing the Secretary of Transportation to accelerate the issuance of required auto fuel economy standards so that they may be imposed on model year 2011 vehicles; directing the Secretary of Energy to issue appliance energy efficiency standards promptly and to prioritize required future standards according to
the expected energy savings.

4) National Security- banning the use of torture or other enhanced interrogation techniques not permitted by the Army Field Manual; and revoking all Executive Branch directives, including those issued by the CIA.

These four areas are good examples of how Obama has used his right to assert power, but where does this power com from? If he had the most political power AND formal authority, there would be little to no use for any other branch of government, let alone a democratic one. So then, who holds the keys to such a vehicle? The answer is not just one person or group, for we have many branches of government that aid decision making processes. Instead, power comes from the fluidity of relationships amongst these different branches.

LWundrock said...

My thought is that a constructive relationship between the President and Congress serves as the central link in American politics. Ultimately, Congress decides the policies that the U.S. government pursues. They write the laws, leaving the President to either sign them or veto them. No president can avoid political engagements with Congress (unless he has no legislative initiatives which is not likely!).

The "History Learning Site" provides many examples of this relationship, stating in recent years the most important bills have been ratified by Congress after much debate. The Great Reform bills of Lyndon Johnson were passed but only after much ‘wheeling’ and dealing in back rooms with Congressional chairman. Nixon, who had a less than positive relationship with Congress, had to seek their support for SALT 1 and for expanding the money spent on the Vietnam War. Since September 11th, 2001, President Bush has had a relatively free ride by Congress which had to be seen to be supporting the commander-in-chief in the country's time of need.

Congress also has to confirm and support the president’s nominees for the Supreme Court and his Executive office. The president is deemed to have a positive relationship with Congress when it passes his bills and supports his appointments even if Congress is dominated by the opposing party in American politics. Despite his historical fame, the amount of legislation passed through the presidency of Kennedy was very small as his proposals stagnated in expiring committees.

Thus, political power resides in a good relationship between Congress and the President, balancing power and authority for the benefit of America.

LWundrock said...

...sorry, I had to break mine up because it didn't all fit :O

caseymedved said...

I believe we all have politcal power, you and I. This is because of several different things but two major examples can be that by having the right to vote we use our political power to put certain people into office and not allowing others to take office. Another way is through freedom of speech, being able to voice our personal opinions can influence how other people feel about some controversial topics; such as healthcare. This leads back into the first example because what we say and how we influence people can affect the way one may vote.

cziolkowski said...

In my opinion, Barack Obama is one of the most powerfull politions right now. First because he is the President of the United States and the citizen of the US had to vote him into office. This means that many people thought/think he will help this country. He can also Veto laws that he does not agree with. He also gets the countries attention when he speaks on TV, and many people listen to what he has to say.

Some other people that have Political power are the members of the Senete and Congress. The members of these houses make may descions on future laws that will affect people like me and you everyday. An example of that is the Stimulus bill and the health care reforms that were passed recently by these houses.

JVarsos said...

The economic powerhouses of America tend to have an disproportional amount of politic power.

One example of this is the fact that some of the largest donors to Obama's 2008 campaign are universities (University of California, Harvard, etc). Today's universities are, in essence, businesses, they're making profits and are a huge part of America's economy.

With less money circulating our economy, less students will be able to afford tuition, and less financial aid is available. Fewer students = less money and less stability. By supplying Obama's campaign with donations, universities can persuade him to pursue an end to the economic crisis, which ultimately became one of his campaign promises.

Another example comes from America's past. The 1870's-1890's was the era of big business. People like Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and John D. Rockefeller basically financed the American government through giant business trusts and corporations. With such significant control over American economy, these men were able to get legislation passed to their favor. Take the Pullman strike of 1894, where the government sent in American troops to impede the strike in favor of big business.

AHanna said...

When it comes to who has political power in America today, I'd have to go down the route of American media. To be more specific, I would say today's conservative talk show hosts such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity. I say this because there is a growing discontent within our population about the work of liberal politicians in our country.

One way in which they have political power is that they are swaying both those discontented with liberals and those whom are already conservative further down the path of conservatism. On their shows, they passionately describe the ways in which Democrats have been letting down Americans (especially the Democratic majority-ruled Congress and President Barack Obama)in areas such as "fixing" the economy, treatment of the wars in the Middle East, etc. By connecting with the audience's feelings, they have considerable power and influence over the individual American's decision-making in politics.

One other example is that these media-personalities have been influential in spearheading movements such as the grass roots Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement is an embodiment of the resurgence of conservatism happening in our nation right now and these media personalities have had enough power to keep alive the bitter resentment against today's American liberals. This power will especially be significant once this November arrives, filled with its many important elections.

MWirch said...

The person who has the most political power is the president of the country, Barack Obama. Whether or not you agree with his politics or the direction that he is taking the United States, he has the most political influence on what American people think because of the simple fact that everyone knows who he is. He truly is the most powerful man in the world. He by far gets the most coverage on network television, and practically everyone in the USA has an opinion on him, good or bad. He also obviously has a political grip on this nation because we, the citizens, voted him into the highest possible government position in the country. It is also virtually impossible for a bill to become a law without the signature of the president.
As I said earlier, even if you don’t agree with Barack Obama’s political position, you have to respect his political power.

SMiller said...

The American public at large has the most political power in our democratic nation.

It is the people themselves that support and give power to those who represent them. The leaders who are chosen are not simply reflecting their desires and wills when they make decisions or pass legislation, they are reflecting the desires of the constituents they are representing, the constituents who elected them in the first place.

Because of this, I feel that no single person or group controls a totally disproportionate bulk of political power in America. Instead, the American people indeed hold the most power. For example, without a large amount of public support, no official can be elected to office. And without the backing of constituents, no official can successfully propose or support legislation or even make a decision that will affect them at all. It is the people that either supports or opposes all that goes on in political America, and without their support, no leader in city, state, or federal politics can be successful.

Therefore, I feel it is the public at large who holds the most political power in America because the public both chooses its leaders and it deeply influences what they do.

moconnor said...

Congressman John Boehner has polital power in America because he is currently the Minority Leader for the House of Representatives.

One example of how John Boehner has political power is that he helped President George W. Bush carry out his promise to reform the American education system. In May 2001, John's No Child Left Behind Act was passed and John Boehner had more power than he ever had before. This was mostly because he improved an area of high importance and he gained support around America for his improvements in public schools.

Another example of how John Boehner has polictical power is that he was the sole voice for the House Agriculture Committee and he was the driving force behind the Freedom to Farm Act of 1996. His leadership helped free American agriculture from intrusive government regulation.

John Boehner has political power in American government because he was able to influence the President's decision on childhood education and because he was a spokesman for a committee that helped free farmers from government regulation.

JJewell said...

I believe that Barrack Obama has political power in America. He deomonstates this by dictating what our troops are to do in Iraq and all parts of the world, whether it be where they are stationed or what tasks they are to be doing there. He also shows that he has political power by havin the ability to veto or sign a bill that he may or may not want to be passed. For example he passed the healtcare bill on Tuesday March 22, 2010. All this goes to show that Obama holds a great deal of political power in our counrty.

cquartullo said...

I am going to take a different view on this matter, with that being said I belive that the terrorist's of the world hold a great deal of political power.
1.They can pretty much control where we station our troops.
-if we get a threat from them stating something we wold move our troops to where thy could handle the threat.
2.They can control what people see and what they don't see.
-They make randsom tapes andit gets "leaked" to the media snd then they are all over the news and frightening others.
3.They can even conrol what their own people say or do.
-This is done by the simple fact that if they talk they die if they dont they live.
Overall the terrorist's hold a great deal of power in the world and the government.

KSASS said...

I believe that many people and groups hold political power, but no one person holds all of the cards in our government. I disagree with the popular thought that the president has most of the power, simply because even though he has command of the army, he cannot make the laws. He can plead and persuade his intentions, but our representatives must remember what would be best for the American people and the information from the special interest groups.

The founders of our government made sure that no one group or person could become too powerful. However, our political leaders can achieve more power by uniting in common cause with one another. For example, President Obama is apart of the Democratic Party and Congress is predominately ruled by democrats. Therefore, one would be led to assume that any bill would be passed easily. This is not the case, especially with major issues. The health care plan was delayed for months, in part to the power of the Republican Party. Both parties have a vast amount of power, and this is shown within each state, where one party is usually leading. In Arizona, the governor Jan Brewer, Senator John McCain, Senator Jon Kyl, and three of the eight representatives are all apart of the Republican Party. In California, the governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and 34 of the 53 Representatives are all apart of the Democratic Party. Similar majority results would be found in most of the other states also. Thus, our nation is constantly in turmoil by both parties and their desires as they attempt to achieve the same basic goals. It is imperative to also remember that the citizens give the power to those elected, so that power can be on either unstable or stable ground, depending on the wants of the people. Our government has limited the amount of power attainable within each branch so that complete control would be impossible, and even less likely today because of both parties. For these reasons, I believe that political power is unequally shared, but quite obtainable for those who seek it.

Cody said...
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ckruesel said...

I think that Barack Obama has political power in America because he leads the Executive Branch and is the most watched politician in the country and maybe the world. With his many speeches the President is almost the voice of the government and if there are ever problems in America people turn to him first to fix them. He also deals with many other countries making him a powerful figure even on a global scale

I also think that the American people have political power too. We elect many Politicians from the president to the county sheriff. Through letters and other forms of communication our elected officials listen to what the American people have to say and it effects their decisions.

rrantala said...

The citizens of the United States have political power in many different ways. They are able to influence what government does by exercising the Bill of Rights, including Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Press. They also have the power to elect leaders. In their own community they are able to chose who would best represent them, but they are also able to elect a leader that will express their views over other things that happen throughout the country and the world.

KMatusinec said...

Celebrities have political power.

No, they do not make laws, and they are not elected into office (well, some are). But because we live in a representative democracy, people like the President, members of Congress, and governors have to be elected in order to gain any sort of power. How are they elected? By a majority vote from the people. However, there is a mentality in our country that politicians cannot be completely trusted. Many voters need reinforcement from someone they do trust, someone that they feel like they know and are familiar with. This role is filled by a celebrity.

A huge example of this is Oprah. She has millions of viewers tune into her show every day. A lot of these viewers treat every word she says as gospel. I believe that she was a huge factor in the election of Barack Obama. A lot of citizens of our country are not fully informed on all of the stances of a candidate. However, when someone like Barack Obama appears on Oprah, he is seen less like an untrustworthy, powerful politician and more like a down-to-earth guy who cares about his family. The views he has on issues suddenly don’t seem as important: Oprah likes him, so we should too!

A second, different example is found in George Clooney. He has clearly stated that he is a liberal, but he does not so much endorse candidates as he does use his views to change the world. His power comes from his money and fame, but he uses it to do things like traveling to poor countries, speaking to the UN about becoming involved in Darfur, and raising awareness about the earthquake in Haiti. While this may not seem like political power, it in fact is. By raising awareness of issues, he opens the eyes of voters to what they see as important. The voters then will vote for a politician who also sees these things as important.

As crazy as some celebrities are, we have to recognize that they do possess an incredible amount of political power. We trust them and feel like we know them, so we unconsciously believe that we should trust and like who they like. I'm not saying that this is right or wrong, simply a fact in our american culture centered around fame.

ACzajkowski said...

I believe Barack Obama undoubtedly has the most political power in America. Being the president, he can direct and advise our country to do something in a particular situation. Even though people do not have to agree with his ideas, he still has the most important opinion out of all Americans. Secondly, whatever flaws or errors in our government are reflected onto him. Most Americans, instead of being educated, quickly "jump the gun" and blame him for our problems. He is the poster child for our success and failures.

J.Sardina said...

Outwardly, power seems to be synonymous with the amount of fame and attention one receives in the media. Yet, no elected official, bureaucrat, or interest group could compare in the power that we, the people hold.

Power, in the context of politics, is used to impact who will hold public office and how government will behave. Our nation's majority holds both of these factors of political power. When a candidate runs for office, they can only become elected with the consent of the voter. Although it may seem like power is vested in publicized officials, many of their decisions are based on the desires of the people (at least they should be!)

In my opinion,metaphorically speaking, political power in America can be seen as a building; although the columns and pillars get attention and support some of the structure, it is the work of the nails and the bricks that determine the buildings ultimate strength. And for that matter, without the nails or bricks, the columns would have no purpose or direction - just as the politicians would have no purpose or direction without the presence and power of the people.



(Excuse my lengthy use of figurative language) :)

dboyce said...

Barack Obama has political power because he is teh executive branch. He is the President and is given the power to pass bill and veto bills. Also, the first thing that comes to anyone's mind when talking about American politics is the President. This gives him much power because when people think of the government his name is the first name that comes to mind. His power also reaches out to other nations since he has the power to negotiate with leaders from other countries.

JakeK said...

The voters have political power- so white, landowning, upperclass men... Wait, what year is it again?

PAnderson said...

One person who I believe exemplifies having political power in America is Sarah Palin. First, she uses her political stardom to support other republican candidates. For example, Palin helped lead Alaskan Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller to victory in the August 2010 primary election against Lisa Murkowski, whose name has been synonymous with Alaskan politics for over 40 years. Another upcoming politician Palin has supported is Nikki Haley, a South Carolinian representative who is now the Republican nominee for the 2010 gubernatorial election. She remained in last place among primary candidates in the polls and also in fundraising until Palin endorsed her in a T.V. commercial in May.

Without question, Palin’s ability to appear mainstream and project an image of being an ordinary American contributes to her political power. Although she has been a mayor, chairperson of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Committee, governor of Alaska, and the vice-presidential candidate of the 2008 presidential election, she has still managed to have time for her family and her children’s lives. She appeals to families of soldiers of Iraq because her eldest son, Track, was deployed to Iraq in September 2008 for twelve months. She has also become an advocate for children who suffer from down syndrome because her grandson was diagnosed with down syndrome at birth.

Ecotton said...

Someone who as a bit of political power in the government today is 7th district rep from wisconsin Dave Obey. Yes he is not running for reelection, but he had held quite a bit of political power.

1. He is the Chairman of the house appropriations committee. The Appropriations committee controls a lot of power when it comes to making the federal budget. The committee funds several agencies and sections of the government such as Defense, Energy and water department, transportation, military construction, labor, veterans administration, etc.

2. As chair he is spokes man for the appropriations committee. Obey can speak for the committee on all key budget issues. Obey is also been in the house for 41 years and is highly respected.

DWayer said...

One individual who holds a considerable amount of political power in the United States is President Barack Obama. As leader of the executive branch, he holds ability to send the armed forces into combat and either veto bills or sign them into law. In the eyes of the politically uninformed United States public, Barack Obama is analogous with government, and both government's shortcomings and productive developments are attributed to his name.

A prime example depicting Obama's position of political power is his ability to appoint or nominate members to his cabinet and over 50 independent federal commissions (ex. Federal Reserve Board). More specifically is Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court Justice, who ultimately was selected to take the position. By being able to choose members to specific government positions, President Obama ensures that his ideals in governing are somewhat followed in as many political positions as possible, thus exemplifying the expanse of his political power.

An additional example showing that Barack Obama has political power is his ability to sign legislation into effect. In doing so, Obama can alter existing laws, eliminate existing laws, or introduce completely new ones. A particular example of this power is shown in the economic stimulus package of 2009 that he helped to pass into effect. The total amount of money that was used for this package was $787 billion, arguably a very astronomical sum. Anyone who has the influence to direct, to a certain degree, where a sum of this kind will be spent towards definitely has some authority in the realm of politics.

JScott said...

Political power can easily be achieved if you have an influence over a great number of “the people” (the people also include politicians themselves keep in mind). So who has this great influence over the American people? I say Oprah has a huge amount of influence, and thereby has a lot of political power.
My first example is the election of president Obama. Oprah used her show to endorse Obama’s campaign. She undoubtedly influenced a huge number (estimated about 1,000,000) of voters and possibly won the election for Obama. Playing a role in choosing the president is a huge use of political power.
Oprah’s political power can further be evidenced by the fact that former Governor Rod Blagojevich considered a celebrity to fill Obama’s vacant senate seat when he won the presidential race and considered Oprah as a front runner over California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

M. Francis said...

When it comes to political power in America, none is clearer than the power to vote. Yes, the citizens of America DO have the power to elect representatives into office, yet the average American citizen DOESN'T have the power to make their decision by him or herself. This is the power of political campaigns and the media.

The way information and "facts" are relayed to the voters is the main source of power for political action in America. A clear example of this was during the 2008 presidential campaign. Former senator Barrack Obama used the media in new innovative ways to promote his campaign: to convince and secure votes for the election. His campaign manager, David Plouffe, launched an array of media weapons. Utilizing the internet and television, the Obama campaign was successful in convincing a majority of the population. By utilizing these media tools, his campaign was able to reach the entire country. Young adults were inclined to read his message on various internet sites. His political advertisements appeared on all the local and cable TV stations. He even appeared on ESPN and other popular shows to appear as the right candidate for the presidency. Although many argue that not all of his campaign slogans and promises would/will be held true, his campaign and use of the media lead him down a red carpet, right to the front doors of the white house. This is the power of the media in American politics.

GLeGros said...

I believe that someone who has a great deal of political power would have to be Barack Obama. Many might think that political power lies (for the most part) within the senate, and in some respect, they are correct. But if one looks at the definition of “Power” in a political sense, they will find that it is “the ability of one person to get another person to act in accordance with the first person’s intentions.” I believe that President Obama fits this definition the best because he has been able to achieve what he wants by persuading the senate, house, and the people to vote and act on his accord.

Two examples of Mr. Obama displaying his power would have to be his ability to push the health care bill through congress and the fact that he was able to pass the stimulus package. Not to mention the fact that a second stimulus package may be on the way.

Whether one agrees with Barack Obama’s intentions or not, we still have to recognize that he has truly been able to get people to do what he wants, thus giving him a great amount of political power.

GLeGros said...
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madison said...

Congress has political power in America. They represent the thoughts and needs of the people. The house directly represents a portion of the population and proposes laws accordingly.

Federal Reserve bank also has political power in America. The vast majority of Americans is involved at least a little by the monetary system, working indefenitely to pay off the debt. As long as more money and national debt is being acumulated the more control is had over the people of America.

RPawlow said...

Ideally, in a democracy, the people would have the power. Unfortunately, we are not living in the most ideal of times. We have the power to vote for the candidates we want so they can make choices synonymous with our desires. What good is that power when the wrong choices are made? A simple look at approval ratings shows that between January of 2009 and September of 2010, a 24% drop in support is evident (source - http://www.gallup.com/poll/116479/Barack-Obama-Presidential-Job-Approval.aspx). Our power to elect does not mean we have the power to direct.

So who has power? I'm a foreigner to the land of politics but I guess I have the "power" to throw out an opinion. Members of the Senate, of Congress, elected officials of any sort, and yes, the President, can all be assumed as politically powerful. By the power vested in elected officials, bills, such as the more recent and prominent health care laws, have the ability to become staple acts in our economic and legal systems. Suggested ideas are thoroughly discussed, revised, and reviewed before signed as a law by our current president, Barack Obama (you may have heard of him). Though a broad guess, (I hope) it is evident that the officials we elect hold a great deal of influence over the our country.

bradysims said...

I believe that Barrack Obama has power in our country because he is the president of our country! He makes a lot of important decisions like whether or not he can put our country into war or not. He is also the commander and chief of our American Army.
Barrack Obama also has the power to accept or veto a law. If he likes a law that congress has passed on to him he can either make it a law, or he can just throw it out and not accept it. He has the power to do a lot of different things to run our country.

ANavarro said...

I'm going to follow the status quo and say that Barack Obama has a great deal of political power within but not limited to the United States. The power to pass or kill a bill lies in the hands of the president. As well, the president also acts as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces giving him authority over the United States military.Additionally, in our media-driven society, a phenomenal way to gain more support and attention is through television spotlight and news articles. Arguably, Barack Obama is the most covered politician in the United States goverment. As a result, one could say he is a very powerful individual.

Treba said...

i think that every citizen of the USA has power. Since, everyone has rights. The rights that are listed in the amendments give us power. Since, we can't be denied to vote, have the will the speak freely with out getting in trouble with the government, and also you can run for spots in the government (if your qualified for it). Normal everyday citizens don't have enough power as someone that is already involved in the government but you can control who has more power than you by how you vote based on your ideology. If you try to get your name out there and well known, then your chances are you will gain some more power than most citizens.

EOetting said...

Though it is stated multiple times, I too have to go with President Barack Obama. The multiple responsibilities given to him by the Constitution prove that he has the most political power. Article 2 section 2 of the constitution gives him all the powers we witness; his power over the military, treaty making, and so on. Although Barack Obama is not as involved in law making as say, Congress, he is the face of the nation. Everything that happens during his years as president will not be blamed on Congress, but on him. The media is mainly to blame for this. Everything he does is publicized, from his family vacations to his trips to other countries. Due to his highly publicized life, he is what most think when government and politics comes up, giving him the most political power in the nation.

sscheidt said...
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sscheidt said...
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sscheidt said...

It might seem cliché, but I believe the political power is in the media. It's easy to say that American politics are driven by the people or the President, but we have to think about media as a major driving force behind many people's decisions. After all, individual political figures who have temporary power and influence come and go, but the media is a constant in American life.
First, look at the influence the media has on everyday life-no politics involved. Most of the decisions we make as consumers are a direct result of what we are exposed to in the media. Whether we care to admit it or not, the media has an extremely strong influence on our lives. It is EVERYWHERE and penetrates almost everything we see and hear. Even subconsciously, the decisions we make are shaped by what is constantly exposed to us by the media.
Now, applying that to politics.
It is safe to say that many of the nation's voters are probably less informed about political issues than they could or should be. Yet, they exercise their inherent right to vote and become a contributing part to the success of every politician that wins a popular vote.
This is where media comes in to play.
Whether from political ads, talk shows, or radio shows, people are exposed to information from all different types of media during election time. Many ads make emotional appeals with dramatic images and partial-truth claims, but it's safe to say that most ads do not contain full truths. From this barrage of different messages, most Americans are left to come to a conclusion based on snippets of campaigns that they see or hear in biased ads.
An example of this is the previously mentioned “Oprah effect”. When a candidate appears on a talk show or becomes associated with a popular figure (especially Oprah), it can have an affect on public opinion. For example, in August of 2007 a CBS News Poll showed that nearly a third of people thought that Oprah’s endorsement of then-senator Barack Obama would make people they knew more likely to support his presidency. So, it is true that the people who are in office hold the political power to make and enforce decisions-but, when it comes to putting those people into office, the power is definitely in the media.

Zachary said...

I believe, as does seemingly everyone else, that Barack Obama has an enormous amount of political power. He has the power to veto any bill that is not to his liking. He is also the faceplate of our country, giving him vast influence over people in our society.
Another person wielding a large amount of political power in our country is Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi is the current Speaker of the House, meaning that she is essentially the leader of one of our country's two bodies of Congress, the House of Representatives. this gives her a large amount of influence in the law-making process of our government, which is an important power to have from a political standpoint

mpavelko said...

I believe like some say on this blog that citizens of the United States of America have political power. One way they show this power is by electing officials into office. This shows that they have political power because these officials have to gain the votes in order to gain power. Citizens also have the edge in this instance when because they get the laws that they want in the end. Citizens have political power because they fund the government. Without there funding the government would not work as efficiently.

Nklinka said...

The largest amount of political power in America is held by Fortune 500 companies. This is evident because the decisions of these companies influence the way the government is run. When the many banks and credit unions, as well as companies such as GM, lost all of their funding during the recession, the government was forced to use a massive bailout to ensure the companies continue. These companies also influence government policy as the government is forced to create programs such as Cash for Clunkers in order to improve business for the important companies in America. The companies also hold great amounts of control because their leaders are commonly involved within special interest groups. The leaders are then capable of greatly influencing policy decisions because they get a strong opinion on whether or not to implement certain legislation. The power of the largest companies cannot be denied. Fo' realz yo.

Rjohnson-evers said...

Believe it or not, I think that President Obama has a great deal of political power in America. He must deal with many checks and balances like some others have mentioned, but he is still more powerful than, say, any given Representative.

One example of this power is how he got the stimulus package passed through Congress. This package was backed by Obama, and that helped the bill pass through Congress. When it did pass, he was the person who had to sign the bill into law. Not everyone supported the bill, and it ran into much criticism. But his power helped make the bill into law.

Another example of his political power is his direct command over the armed forces. The president is called the commander-in-chief, and has control over all of America's soldiers. This is evident by Mr. Obama's decisions to pull combat troops out of Iraq, and to station more in Afghanistan.

msenk said...

I believe Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, has political power. I believe this because she went against the popular belief of a lot of people and passed one of the most contreversial bills of the year. The bill I speak of is SB 1070. This bill, The Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act, opens the door for racial profling. Although the bill does not directly state this if you read the context many people can see how this conclusion may be reached. Furthermore, I Believe that Governor Brewer has political power for passing this bill because the US DOJ has tryed to get an injunction on this bill. So far they have gotten a temporary injunction by a judge only to review the facts. The fact that the US Attorney General and DOJ have stepped in to stop this bill shows the governor of Arizona has political power.

KRodenbeck said...

Joe Biden has political power. He may not live in the White House but he has the capability to influence America using his position in Congress.

As Vice-President of the United States, Mr. Biden can extend to the American people his political agenda and obtain votes for controversial topics using propaganda. Mr. Biden also has the ability to use political power by possibly influencing how President Barack Obama addresses the nation. This is another example of propaganda.

Joe Biden is also the president of the United States Senate. This gives him the power to cast a tie-breaking vote in the senate if necessary. Though he only votes in tie-breaking situations, this is a great example of Mr. Biden using his political power.

Joe Biden may not sit behind the desk in the Oval Office, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have political power.

JBerlyn said...

This question is nearly impossible to answer because any possible answer is highly debatable. The founding fathers created a government that would not give any one person, or even small group of people, too much power. With this being said, identifying the person with the most political power simply depends on perspective.

I believe the most powerful person in the United States, besides the president, is Hillary Clinton. First of all, she was appointed Secretary of State by Barack Obama himself. As the Secretary of State, she leads the department of government that deals with diplomatic relations. Although internal issues are important as well, dealing with other countries and promoting friendly relations with the surrounding world is necessary for the United States to remain a free and powerful democracy. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is able to act as the foreign affairs adviser to the president, dealing with an issue that affects the entire country.

Rsweeney said...

I believe that Hillary Clinton has power in this country. Not only is she currently the Secretary of State, she was also a senator from New York and a former first lady. Not only has she lived and experienced being part of the white house, she's also been part of the senate.

She ran against Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election and came close. Being able to go against the future president of the United States and then being chosen by him as the Secretary of State(As the highest ranked cabinet seat, the Secretary of State deals with foreign affairs) is quite a feat in itself. She obviously has a lot of political power if she had millions of people vote for her to become the next president.

jgoebl said...

I believe news corporations have political power. Although they do not necessarily effect the government directly the way that they present news and the news that is discussed and brought to the public's attention, forces the government to have policies that the people accept or at least can adhere to. People and issues must be considered acceptable for the news corporation to find enough interest in said person or issue for the news corporation to make the issue or person well known to the American public. These corporations also choose in what way the news is reported, often portraying a bill as helpful or damaging to the country's structure, which creates the conservative and liberal news stations.

JHoltman said...

Barack Obama undoubtedly has the most political power in America. He is the face of the country, no matter how the public views him. He is in the news constantly and government is directly associated with him. If government does something well, the public views him as a hero and the result of the success. If government does something that the public doesn't approve of, he is viewed as the scapegoat. He also can give speeches to Congress and explain the policies he wants to implement. No one else has this kind of power and that is why Barack Obama has the most political power in America today.

Htroeger said...

In my opinion in January of 2007 Nancy Pelosi gained extreme political power in America. She became the speaker of the house which means she presides over the different sessions in congress and keeps order. She is the majority party leader and she can vote on any issue.

Nancy Pelosi has the highest rank in the U.S. House of Representatives. She sets the legistlative agenda and determines what bills are going to be discussed and gives them a priority. Having the power to decide this is a huge advantage becuase she has an large imput on what goes into bills and when they are going to be discussed.
Second of all she is in charge of appointing various chairs and subcommities in the house such as the budget and finance committee. Doing this allows her to choose people who have the same views and beliefs that she does.

Nancy Pelosi is also well known in the media. She is a role model for many woman becuase she is the first female speaker of the house. Many people look up to her and support her beliefs which gives her even more political power in America.

MKonicke said...

Barack Obama has the most political power in America because he is the president. The president has the most power because he is in charge of the military, he is the face of the country, and he was elected into office which shows people are willing to follow his actions. Also, he is able to sign or veto bills which are passed from the House of Representatives and Senate. Lastly, he is able to nominate members to his cabinet even if the person isn't qualified for it or it is completely unnecessary.

Bkraussel said...

In my opinion there is a simple and easy answer to who has power in the United States. The answer to that question is Barack Obama. Obama is the head of the worlds' most powerful country. He posseses alot of the tools that are needed to be a powerful man. He has the ability to veto every nationwide bill, and also gets more publicity then any other person in the world.

Lets start off with discussing his ability to veto laws. Barack has the ability to say yes or no to bills. For example the law on weather blacks should be able to vote, the president is able to say yes or no to it. An example of a modern day time wear this was used was when Barack voted yes to health care reform. With this capability, Barack is able to be a huge bystander in which congress needs to pass to pass a bill.

The second example that shows that Barack Obama has power is the fact that he gets more media attention than anyone on Earth. When it comes time to vote on something, such as the gay marrage. Barack can give his input and ultimately change the views of thousands of Americans on the particular subject. Like never before, presidents today are viewed as rockstars. Which again just adds to their power.

twerner said...

I believe that the citizens of America have political power; that’s right- me and you! This is because we have the right to vote and elect officials into various positions in government, both locally and nationally. If the majority of voters don't like a nominee, there's a good chance that he/she will not be elected. Another reason why we, the people, have political power is because we can influence how others vote and act on an issue. Our elected officials are there to reflect not only their own views, but also ours on a specific issue. For example, hearing what we have to say can change the way they vote on a bill. For these reasons, I believe that we, the citizens of America, have political power.

jwaltz said...

Political power, I believe is distributed among various people. Such as the media, the public, and as well as the president. But even though the people can vote, and the president can advise and discuss issues like immigration, healthcare, and talk with foreigners; the media is the most influential of all.

Everyday the media is informing the public about what our government and our nation is doing and how their decisions to govern are effecting us. Whether it's through public radio, local news stations, or national news stations, the media is our direct route to understanding politics and their choices of how to run our country. Specific news channels each devote their news coverage to certain political parties, and the opinions and news stories shared can influence the public to think a certain way. Without the knowledge of both sides, both democratic AND republican parties play a part in using their power to influence Americans.

Politicians use their commercials to promote themselves in a positive way by speaking negatively about their opponent. Like in the 2008 election between Senator John McCain(R) and current president, President Barack Obama(D), Senator McCain called Senator Obama a "celebrity." By saying this, questions in a commercial were directed towards the public by asking if Senator Obama was "ready to help your family." With a statement as such, McCain then took advantage by stating Obama's plan, such as higher taxes and more government spending. By using this strategy, McCain tried to influence republican voters, and moderate voters to see his point of view as why Senator Obama was not the right choice for the presidency.

Media has strong influences on the public; whether they are for better or for worse. It is our outlet of political knowledge, and by being such an influential source, the media does have political power in America.

nwalters said...

Barack Obama because he was able to pass the health care reform bill. Which many past presidents have tried to do. Making Obama one of the stronger presidents in our history. He also has used to his advantage the fact that the democrats control the house and the senate. He is able to veto and sign any bill he wants to. He is the leader of the executive branch which is the "enforcers" of the laws that congress puts in place. President Barack Obama is in my opinion the strongest political figure in the United States of America.

Ahackney said...

Ultimately I believe that a lot of political power in America lies in the media. They influence how we see information drastically. How we obtain our information about politics and the government is almost always bias one way or another. Whether it's through T.V. the newspaper, or other sources. They directly influence how we view certain people, we read a column in the newspaper about how President Barrack Obama is a fool and they have good reasonings, we might just believe that.

How they portray anyone or any idea in public can change our opinions on that person, or that idea. In a world where we can obtain our information from almost anyone and anywhere now its hard to tell whats the truth, and when people are telling you facts. Overall the media is a huge influence on how we portray our political leaders here in America.

Zyork said...

In my opinion, the most powerful people in the government are the supreme court. One reason they are powerful is that they can decide that a law is unlawful which makes them more powerful than congress. The second reason is that they can judge on anything that a person thinks is an unfair ruling based on the ruling of a state court. This allows the supreme court to have power and influence in everybody's lives.

canderson said...

Well as I read down the comments I see alot of you fellow students have selected the president as your choice. I am going to go with something different I think that large business owners and CEOs have political power. They are the ones that keep our economy running and are the backbone of our society failure to see that is just pure ignorance. They provide jobs for the people to work which makes exports that we ship to other countries to get money to support our country, that's how it works. I think that these CEOs have a big saying in government when it comes to new business plans and economic stimulus plans because that's who it is designed around. How can the big companies improve to save our economy so as of now I think big company owners and large CEOs have political power.

DannyF said...

In my opinion, I believe that President Barack Obama has a lot of political power in America. One specific power that he has is to sign bills into law. He made this evident when he signed the Health Care plan on March 22nd, 2009. Whether you were with his beliefs on this subject or against it, President Obama was able to use his power to make it happen. Another power that he has is to elect federal executives, and judicial officers. Some examples of the people he chose were the Department of State, Hillary Clinton, or the Vice President, Joseph Biden.

Another person that has much political power is Senator Herb Kohl. He is a very accomplished man throughout his life and now represents our state of Wisconsin in the Senate. We the citizens of this state elected him so that he would hear what we have to say and attempt to fix the problems in this country. Kohl is the chairman of the Senate's Aging Committee, which deals with things such as Medicare and retirement insurance. He listens to what our thoughts and concerns are in these topics, and then represents what we care about by voting for specific bills in these issues. Senator Kohl also voted in favor of the Health Care Reform, and now as a result our entire country is effected by it whether in a good way or bad.

PMiner said...

york, no. youre wrong, like always. you should agree with me

mike oconnor
jacob berlyn
austin hackney
jacob varsons
anyone else
mr bretzmann

i am ashamed to call you all my friends because you are all too ignorant to realize the truth of my comment. those two are the real deal!

also, political power...
Military:Uneeded war=population control

just a thought for you liberal conspiracy theory people... (ahem stoiber if youre reading this)

moconnor said...

Herb Kohl has political power in America. As a Democrat, Herb Kohl has represented Wisconsin as a US Senator since 1989 and is considered one of the wealthiest Senators. One example that shows Herb Kohl has political power is how he has been recognized as a strong advocate for children's issues. He has helped fight child hunger by being the author of a legislation to expand the school breakfast program. He also sponsored legistlation to increase child support enforcement so that more child support payments go to the families they are designed to help. Another example that shows that Herb Kohl has political power is how he has been recognized for being a strong defender of the Wisconsin farming tradition. In 2002 Herb Kohl helped establish the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program as a part of the Farm Bill. This proved successful in helping end the fighting in Wisconsin over milk pricing policies. Fighting for children and farming traditions in Wisconsin are just two examples that shows how much political power Herb Kohl possesses and may be a reason why he has been a US Senator for over 20 years.

Haley S said...

Though he has never won an election, held political office, or even ran a campaign, American radio talk show host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh has an arguably large amount of political power in our country. His power is exemplified through his ability to get other people to act in accordance with his intentions. Rush Limbaugh is criticized by many, however he still holds the title of highest-ranked talk-radio program (“The Rush Limbaugh Show”) in the United States. Limbaugh is considered by many as the voice for conservative principles in our country.