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Left/Right Spectrum and US Presidents

Beverlee
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10/20/2013 4:50:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I thought it would be interesting for me to challenge my perceptions of American Presidential ideology. Here is how I see the breakdown.

The Left - Right Spectrum is nonsense. I tend to think of these things in terms of policy positions as they relate to public sentiment.

Just so I am clear that I am only using modern ideas of political alignment with no objective/subjective filtering.

So, here is how I see it:

Franklin D Roosevelt - Liberal
Harry S Truman - Moderate liberal
Dwight D Eisenhower - Moderate liberal
John F Kennedy - Moderate Conservative
Lyndon B Johnson - Strong Liberal
Richard M Nixon - Moderate
Gerald Ford - Moderate
James Carter - Strong Liberal
Ronald Reagan - Conservative
George HW Bush - Moderate Conservative
Bill Clinton - Moderate
George W Bush - Strong Conservative
Barack H Obama - Moderate Conservative
thett3
Posts: 14,334
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10/20/2013 4:56:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/20/2013 4:50:47 PM, Beverlee wrote:
I thought it would be interesting for me to challenge my perceptions of American Presidential ideology. Here is how I see the breakdown.

The Left - Right Spectrum is nonsense.

Agreed. Here are mine.

I tend to think of these things in terms of policy positions as they relate to public sentiment.

Just so I am clear that I am only using modern ideas of political alignment with no objective/subjective filtering.

So, here is how I see it:

Franklin D Roosevelt - Strong Liberal
Harry S Truman - Moderate liberal
Dwight D Eisenhower - Moderate
John F Kennedy - Moderate Liberal
Lyndon B Johnson - Strong Liberal
Richard M Nixon - Moderate
Gerald Ford - Moderate
James Carter - Strong Liberal
Ronald Reagan - Conservative
George HW Bush - Moderate Conservative
Bill Clinton - Moderate
George W Bush - Moderate
Barack H Obama - Moderate Liberal

Curious, why do you find Obama to be a Moderate Conservative? I only put Bush as a moderate due to his economic policies. And why would you characterize JFK of all people as Conservative?
DDO Vice President

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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
bsh1
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10/20/2013 5:03:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/20/2013 4:50:47 PM, Beverlee wrote:
I thought it would be interesting for me to challenge my perceptions of American Presidential ideology. Here is how I see the breakdown.

The Left - Right Spectrum is nonsense. I tend to think of these things in terms of policy positions as they relate to public sentiment.
I tend to be very proud of my Liberal affiliation--I don't think the breakdown as a concept is nonsense, but I do think the way the concept is implemented is nonsensical.
Just so I am clear that I am only using modern ideas of political alignment with no objective/subjective filtering.

Here's my take:

Franklin D Roosevelt - Strong Liberal
Harry S Truman - Moderate liberal
Dwight D Eisenhower - Moderate/Centrist
John F Kennedy - Moderate/Centrist
Lyndon B Johnson - Strong Liberal
Richard M Nixon - Moderate/Centrist
Gerald Ford - Moderate conservative
James Carter - Strong Liberal
Ronald Reagan - Conservative
George HW Bush - Moderate Conservative
Bill Clinton - liberal
George W Bush - Strong Conservative
Barack H Obama - Moderate/Centrist
Live Long and Prosper

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bsh1
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10/20/2013 5:04:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would agree with thett insofar as Obama is by no means a conservative.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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Beverlee
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10/20/2013 5:08:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
So, here is how I see it:

Franklin D Roosevelt - Strong Liberal
Harry S Truman - Moderate liberal
Dwight D Eisenhower - Moderate
John F Kennedy - Moderate Liberal
Lyndon B Johnson - Strong Liberal
Richard M Nixon - Moderate
Gerald Ford - Moderate
James Carter - Strong Liberal
Ronald Reagan - Conservative
George HW Bush - Moderate Conservative
Bill Clinton - Moderate
George W Bush - Moderate
Barack H Obama - Moderate Liberal

Curious, why do you find Obama to be a Moderate Conservative? I only put Bush as a moderate due to his economic policies. And why would you characterize JFK of all people as Conservative?

Obama's policies seem to be strongly dictated by a Congress that is overwhelmingly conservative. His actual personal feelings might be to the left of Reagan, but his actual policies are not. Look at the sequester, his tax cuts, his regulatory policies, and the Health care reforms... these are all straight out of the Republican playbook.

I put Bush way to the right because of the wars, mostly, but the tax cuts were also a big factor. Under Bush, the right wing became insurgent, which was partly due to his policies. JFK was recklessly pro war, and very weak on such things as civil rights and worker protections. His main claim to fame (as far as I know) was that he was anti-communist in a way that reminds me of McCarthyism. His legacy is Vietnam, and delaying the Civil Rights movement until Johnson.

Does this make sense, or do I need to do some more homework?
Beverlee
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10/20/2013 5:16:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/20/2013 5:04:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
I would agree with thett insofar as Obama is by no means a conservative.

Ok so I need to mostly justify how Obama is a conservative? That is easy. Obama has adopted, legitimized or expanded most of Bush's most radical policies. Other policies that he says he does not like have still done very well under Obama - like Guantanamo Bay and the Tax Cuts for the ultra-rich, and Medicare Part D.

-The Patriot Act
-The War on Terror has expanded in non-military ways to become more permanent
-Domestic spying programs have expanded
-Prosecution of Journalists and whistleblowers has expanded
-Obama is anti-labor
-The ACA was originally a Republican Conservative plan
-Environmental policies of Bush have continued or worsened under Obama

... I could think of a lot more. To me, there are important differences between Bush and Obama, but not in terms of political "spectrum influence" on policy. The impact of his administration has not been a liberalizing influence on this country.
thett3
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10/20/2013 5:17:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/20/2013 5:08:36 PM, Beverlee wrote:
So, here is how I see it:

Franklin D Roosevelt - Strong Liberal
Harry S Truman - Moderate liberal
Dwight D Eisenhower - Moderate
John F Kennedy - Moderate Liberal
Lyndon B Johnson - Strong Liberal
Richard M Nixon - Moderate
Gerald Ford - Moderate
James Carter - Strong Liberal
Ronald Reagan - Conservative
George HW Bush - Moderate Conservative
Bill Clinton - Moderate
George W Bush - Moderate
Barack H Obama - Moderate Liberal

Curious, why do you find Obama to be a Moderate Conservative? I only put Bush as a moderate due to his economic policies. And why would you characterize JFK of all people as Conservative?

Obama's policies seem to be strongly dictated by a Congress that is overwhelmingly conservative. His actual personal feelings might be to the left of Reagan, but his actual policies are not. Look at the sequester,

The sequester was a compromise, the Republicans wanted to cut even more. Obama fought tooth and nail against the cuts

his tax cuts,

Which ones? Obama also raised taxes as part of the fiscal cliff deal.

his regulatory policies

Which one?

and the Health care reforms... these are all straight out of the Republican playbook.

The individual mandate may have been thought up by a conservative think tank, but when it was to be voted on Republicans fought tooth and nail against it


I put Bush way to the right because of the wars, mostly, but the tax cuts were also a big factor. Under Bush, the right wing became insurgent, which was partly due to his policies.

Why is war conservative? The leaders during the major modern wars of the US have been renowned liberal progressives such as Wilson, FDR, and LBJ, and historically conservatives have steadfastly opposed war and intervention. The corruption of the Republican party may have changed what so called "conservatives" advocate but that doesn't make war a conservative policy

JFK was recklessly pro war, and very weak on such things as civil rights and worker protections. His main claim to fame (as far as I know) was that he was anti-communist in a way that reminds me of McCarthyism. His legacy is Vietnam, and delaying the Civil Rights movement until Johnson.

Kennedy started the Food Stamp program and he gave the speech proposing the Civil Rights act of 1964. He didnt get to finish his work though


Does this make sense, or do I need to do some more homework?

No it pretty much all makes sense if you take an aggressive foreign policy to be conservative. I don't, but as time goes on my view seems to be increasingly in the minority among self proclaimed conservatives, so you could well be right. This just demonstrates why the left-right spectrum is nonsense, really.
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
Beverlee
Posts: 721
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10/20/2013 5:27:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/20/2013 5:17:33 PM, thett3 wrote:
At 10/20/2013 5:08:36 PM, Beverlee wrote:
So, here is how I see it:

Franklin D Roosevelt - Strong Liberal
Harry S Truman - Moderate liberal
Dwight D Eisenhower - Moderate
John F Kennedy - Moderate Liberal
Lyndon B Johnson - Strong Liberal
Richard M Nixon - Moderate
Gerald Ford - Moderate
James Carter - Strong Liberal
Ronald Reagan - Conservative
George HW Bush - Moderate Conservative
Bill Clinton - Moderate
George W Bush - Moderate
Barack H Obama - Moderate Liberal

Curious, why do you find Obama to be a Moderate Conservative? I only put Bush as a moderate due to his economic policies.


No it pretty much all makes sense if you take an aggressive foreign policy to be conservative. I don't, but as time goes on my view seems to be increasingly in the minority among self proclaimed conservatives, so you could well be right. This just demonstrates why the left-right spectrum is nonsense, really.

Yes you are right, it is nonsense - the only way we can define "Left and Right" is to say x policies are categorized as this and Y policies are that. It has no predictive quality. But about war and conservativism - I was looking at the anti-Islamic nature of the Bush wars, not really the way that we went into them. The other main conservative (pro-business) quality of them was how we dumped hundreds of billions of dollars on the "war profiteers" that liberals always used to tax at 90% rates. Eisenhower, for example, put a 90% tax on businesses that were contracted out by the military in order to make sure that they didn't use the billions that they made off of war to influence congress to artificially prolong the war.

(I think this was a main reason that the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were artificially prolonged, BTW)
bsh1
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10/20/2013 5:31:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/20/2013 5:16:56 PM, Beverlee wrote:
At 10/20/2013 5:04:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
I would agree with thett insofar as Obama is by no means a conservative.

Ok so I need to mostly justify how Obama is a conservative? That is easy. Obama has adopted, legitimized or expanded most of Bush's most radical policies. Other policies that he says he does not like have still done very well under Obama - like Guantanamo Bay and the Tax Cuts for the ultra-rich, and Medicare Part D.

-The Patriot Act
-The War on Terror has expanded in non-military ways to become more permanent
-Domestic spying programs have expanded
-Prosecution of Journalists and whistleblowers has expanded
-Obama is anti-labor
-The ACA was originally a Republican Conservative plan
-Environmental policies of Bush have continued or worsened under Obama

... I could think of a lot more. To me, there are important differences between Bush and Obama, but not in terms of political "spectrum influence" on policy. The impact of his administration has not been a liberalizing influence on this country.

I am a tough-on-crime liberal, so I don't necessarily see why legislation like the patriot act or NSA surveillance necessarily implies that Obama is conservative. Sure, a ton of neocons are hawkish and supported legislation like that, but supporting this type of legislation doesn't rule you out of being a liberal. Moreover, all of the points you cite only enhance my idea of Obama as a centrist--he's passed some fairly liberal legislation (gay rights, lilly ledbetter, etc.) and he's cracked down of wall street with better regulatory practices. I think this makes him a moderate, not a conservative.

Also, the ACA is pretty liberal, regardless of its origins, and I fail to see how Obama is anti-labor.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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Beverlee
Posts: 721
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10/20/2013 6:33:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I am a tough-on-crime liberal, so I don't necessarily see why legislation like the patriot act or NSA surveillance necessarily implies that Obama is conservative. Sure, a ton of neocons are hawkish and supported legislation like that, but supporting this type of legislation doesn't rule you out of being a liberal. Moreover, all of the points you cite only enhance my idea of Obama as a centrist--he's passed some fairly liberal legislation (gay rights, lilly ledbetter, etc.) and he's cracked down of wall street with better regulatory practices. I think this makes him a moderate, not a conservative.

Also, the ACA is pretty liberal, regardless of its origins, and I fail to see how Obama is anti-labor.

It doesn't necessarily mean that he is conservative that he has ramped up these policies, but it helps make my case. Civil liberties are key parts of liberal ideas, and so watering them down is not a liberal thing. Gay rights legislation is great! there is no second place when it comes to other presidents on the issue, and this is a major reason that I like him as president. But not very many people have gone to jail from Wall Street, and this is mostly because the Justice Department is run by men who are going to go work for Wall Street as soon as they finish their contracts with the Administration. Obama could do something about this, but he hasn't.

It may be a matter of opinion, but I don't think the ACA is liberal - I think universal, single payer health care is a better alternative.

As for his record on labor - the biggest deal to the unions is NAFTA - Obama supports NAFTA and wants to expand it to Europe.

I didn't vote for Obama because I wasn't old enough. But I would have, so I'm not saying that he is a bad president, just not a liberal.
Beverlee
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10/20/2013 6:36:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Woodrow Wilson was not a liberal, tho. He was anti-woman, and a racist who created segregation. He says that he did that to protect blacks from having to compete with whites, who would always win because of their racial superiority, or something. I mean, he was way far right.
Noumena
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10/20/2013 7:03:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
People still use the left/right spectrum?
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
sleuth
Posts: 12
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10/21/2013 10:51:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/20/2013 4:50:47 PM, Beverlee wrote:
I thought it would be interesting for me to challenge my perceptions of American Presidential ideology. Here is how I see the breakdown.

The Left - Right Spectrum is nonsense. I tend to think of these things in terms of policy positions as they relate to public sentiment.

Just so I am clear that I am only using modern ideas of political alignment with no objective/subjective filtering.

So, here is how I see it:

Franklin D Roosevelt - Liberal
Harry S Truman - Moderate liberal
Dwight D Eisenhower - Moderate liberal
John F Kennedy - Moderate Conservative
Lyndon B Johnson - Strong Liberal
Richard M Nixon - Moderate
Gerald Ford - Moderate
James Carter - Strong Liberal
Ronald Reagan - Conservative
George HW Bush - Moderate Conservative
Bill Clinton - Moderate
George W Bush - Strong Conservative

Bush was not conservative, I would put him more moderate. Even Liberal on some issues. Although he had some conservative ideas (social issues, privatizing social security, deregulating the housing market... sadly that didn't pass) he had many many liberal economic policies which were passed, and the tax cuts he signed were not implemented well. Honestly he was a spend happy economically wishy washy president who is defiantly not a "strong conservative". On social issues, though, that label is correct.

Barack H Obama - Moderate Conservative

This almost convinced me to support a drug ban.
Beverlee
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10/22/2013 10:26:57 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/21/2013 10:51:42 PM, sleuth wrote:
At 10/20/2013 4:50:47 PM, Beverlee wrote:
I thought it would be interesting for me to challenge my perceptions of American Presidential ideology. Here is how I see the breakdown.

The Left - Right Spectrum is nonsense. I tend to think of these things in terms of policy positions as they relate to public sentiment.

Just so I am clear that I am only using modern ideas of political alignment with no objective/subjective filtering.

So, here is how I see it:

Franklin D Roosevelt - Liberal
Harry S Truman - Moderate liberal
Dwight D Eisenhower - Moderate liberal
John F Kennedy - Moderate Conservative
Lyndon B Johnson - Strong Liberal
Richard M Nixon - Moderate
Gerald Ford - Moderate
James Carter - Strong Liberal
Ronald Reagan - Conservative
George HW Bush - Moderate Conservative
Bill Clinton - Moderate
George W Bush - Strong Conservative

Bush was not conservative, I would put him more moderate. Even Liberal on some issues. Although he had some conservative ideas (social issues, privatizing social security, deregulating the housing market... sadly that didn't pass) he had many many liberal economic policies which were passed, and the tax cuts he signed were not implemented well. Honestly he was a spend happy economically wishy washy president who is defiantly not a "strong conservative". On social issues, though, that label is correct.

Barack H Obama - Moderate Conservative

This almost convinced me to support a drug ban.

See, people are also telling me that the whole left-right scale is not very good for this sort of thing. I was really only thinking in terms of social policy - so that is where I probably messed up.

I can't really see the liberal-conservative thing in fiscal policy terms. I know that most right-wing people don't claim Bush, just like those of us on the far left don't always care for Obama. This thread thinks that Obama is just to the left of most people, which I still disagree with, but ok. (I think that he is too close to Bush on too many important issues.)
Beverlee
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10/22/2013 6:37:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 1:06:06 PM, drafterman wrote:
http://xkcd.com...

Does that chart say that most African Americans were strong supporters of slavery to you? That is what I am getting.

It shows a massive drop-off of "liberals" during the Civil War (explained by the exodus of Democrats who supported slavery and opposed the US in favor of the CSA). But is slavery considered a "liberal" priority? Most African Americans are pretty liberal in terms of social policy - so that means that most of them (according this chart) also support enslaving themselves to white people. That is silly, and either my read of this chart is way off, or the chart has incorrectly lined up the political parties. (Republican =/= Conservative in 1865)

The truth is, Democrats switched from the "Right" party to the "left" party after LBJ's Civil Rights programs. The old, Lincoln-era Republicans were the "Liberals" of their day - so a drop-off of Democrats would mean a MORE liberal, not less liberal congress.
drafterman
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10/22/2013 6:50:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 6:37:41 PM, Beverlee wrote:
At 10/22/2013 1:06:06 PM, drafterman wrote:
http://xkcd.com...

Does that chart say that most African Americans were strong supporters of slavery to you? That is what I am getting.

No. It says nothing about people not in Congress.


It shows a massive drop-off of "liberals" during the Civil War (explained by the exodus of Democrats who supported slavery and opposed the US in favor of the CSA). But is slavery considered a "liberal" priority? Most African Americans are pretty liberal in terms of social policy - so that means that most of them (according this chart) also support enslaving themselves to white people. That is silly, and either my read of this chart is way off, or the chart has incorrectly lined up the political parties. (Republican =/= Conservative in 1865)

The truth is, Democrats switched from the "Right" party to the "left" party after LBJ's Civil Rights programs. The old, Lincoln-era Republicans were the "Liberals" of their day - so a drop-off of Democrats would mean a MORE liberal, not less liberal congress.

The methodology for determining the politics is explained.
Beverlee
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10/22/2013 6:58:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 6:50:37 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 10/22/2013 6:37:41 PM, Beverlee wrote:
At 10/22/2013 1:06:06 PM, drafterman wrote:
http://xkcd.com...

Does that chart say that most African Americans were strong supporters of slavery to you? That is what I am getting.

No. It says nothing about people not in Congress.


It shows a massive drop-off of "liberals" during the Civil War (explained by the exodus of Democrats who supported slavery and opposed the US in favor of the CSA). But is slavery considered a "liberal" priority? Most African Americans are pretty liberal in terms of social policy - so that means that most of them (according this chart) also support enslaving themselves to white people. That is silly, and either my read of this chart is way off, or the chart has incorrectly lined up the political parties. (Republican =/= Conservative in 1865)

The truth is, Democrats switched from the "Right" party to the "left" party after LBJ's Civil Rights programs. The old, Lincoln-era Republicans were the "Liberals" of their day - so a drop-off of Democrats would mean a MORE liberal, not less liberal congress.

The methodology for determining the politics is explained.

Ok, I'm blind, but I don't see where it explains the methodology. Plus, I am sure it says that the Democrats during the Civil War are "Left Leaning" ... which is astonishingly wrong. Something has to give... if the Democrats of the 90's were Left-leaning, then the Democrats of the 1950's could not possibly be.
Volkov
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10/23/2013 9:50:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 6:58:05 PM, Beverlee wrote:
Ok, I'm blind, but I don't see where it explains the methodology. Plus, I am sure it says that the Democrats during the Civil War are "Left Leaning" ... which is astonishingly wrong. Something has to give... if the Democrats of the 90's were Left-leaning, then the Democrats of the 1950's could not possibly be.

As I understand the Democrats pre-1980's when the Southern shift started to get into high gear, there was a split - northern Democrats were fairly liberal, but could not win without the support of southern Democrats who were exceedingly more conservatives. The thing that brought them to together was the New Deal coalition (think of things like the Tennessee Valley Authority, which benefited Southerners greatly and endeared them to the Democrats) and a grudging tolerance of each other that allowed the status-quo on segregation to remain in the South. But in other areas, especially economically, northern and southern Democrats were pretty in-sync. Hence why they can still be considered somewhat "liberal," in some respects.

In other words, its exceedingly complicated. That graph doesn't really help.
Volkov
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10/23/2013 9:56:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Too add a bit more, it is really hard to pinpoint various President's ideologies, as there is just so much going on. For instance, a President may campaign on a left-wing platform and win, but oftentimes Congress is not exactly partial to any reforms pushed by that President. How do we define a President if he cannot push his agenda forward? Is he instead defined by the actions of Congress, which could limit him in some of the grander actions? Lets not get started on the influence of the courts or governors.