Is It Possible to Reorient the Presidency?

(Jason Reed/Reuters)
Politically, it would be difficult to return the job's focus to foreign affairs, as the Constitution intended. But it would do the nation a lot of good.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he American presidency is a deeply weird job: The president’s legitimate constitutional powers and his fundamental responsibilities have overwhelmingly to do with foreign affairs and national security, but almost all the political juice is in domestic events shaped mainly by Congress and other forces beyond his control, such as economic cycles. Presidential politics are governed by a perverse Pareto Principle: 80 percent of a president’s career depends on concerns that should take up, at most, about 20 percent of his resources, including his mental resources and his time.

As Daniel L. Byman and Jeremy Shapiro put it in Foreign Policy, “Promoting economic growth

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