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Weaknesses and Strengths
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This book is an exemplary piece on presidential autonomy and powers. It stands out from its structure that is easy in flow; the book is suitable for the non-lawyers despite being written on a legal context. Its structure in description and prose form serves well in delivering an authentic message without losing the reader on the way. It starts by dissecting the American history on presidential assault on checks and balances. The storyline is indeed persuasive and the chapter arrangement is ingeniously chosen. Shan’s chapter conclusion is superb in many instances through relating content to current situations. In terms of content analysis, the book presents unique deviations from conventional works in this arena. The author went beyond ideology into dealing with systemic issues compounding the current issues. The author’s evocation of ethos makes the argument compelling. His attention to norms that are implicit in underwriting a government’s attendance to checks and balances makes the story educative and resourceful. It is the first work that exclusively diagnoses presidentialism evils and paints the picture of a presidentialist system as it is while interpreting the constitution contrary to its user’s vision (Shane, 2009).
Shane’s ‘Madison Nightmare’ has shortcomings too; prominent among them is the review approach it adopts. The book offers invaluable literature on the situation as it is, but falls short on the prescriptive scale. The books attach on lawyers’ steers of specific concerns of legal liability, which curtails its chances of reference as a legal authority on the field. The book is also highly dependent on value judgment and prone to acceptance on opinion grounds, which makes it less authoritative; it is based on leader’s failure to work within the confines of law, which is a circumstantial anchoring for a legal piece.
The book’s timing aspect is an important shortcoming to this work. Shane’s book manages to take the reader on a journal of the Reagan, Bush and Nixon among other presidents but is not recent enough to help assess president Obama’s administration on the same. There are major weaknesses in Shane’s recommendations in Chapter 7; the recommendations are vague given the context of their application. His focus on behavioral change is unlike the expected conclusion of a scholarly work; there are few legal references or proposals. There proposals are indeed insightful and applicable; however, the book left out an analysis on effective applicability of his proposals within the hero-worshiping and ill information to the political culture. This book is advisable for a law and political science class. Its dimensions feature salient features critical in this professions. (Shane, 2009).
The results of Shane’s work cannot be generalized in all aspects, but they cover quite a large scope of fields. It is not Earth shattering, but it is a theory invaluable in analysis and insightful information on the history of the problem. The contribution of this book is majorly in the field presidentialism, this is from its systemic approach and the authority of the writer. His experience finds its way to the user and it is a good base of interrogating the deviations from the constitutional contemplations. I agree with major arguments in Shane’s book and there is enough argumentative evidence to support the claims. The only vague part is the recommendation; although not in their composition, but in their mode of implementation.
In this book, Shane communicates in brief well-structured argument and the effects of unitary executive powers. The book is a persuasive analysis of the executive power issue focusing more on the problem rather than the solution. The book has its central focus on the three federal government organs and details extensive research on their interactions. The writer also focuses on the employment of checks and balances and their subsequent adherence or violation. Shane concentrates on the constitutional torment in interpretation surrounding the presdentialism argument. Core in his argument focuses on the justification of the inherency of presidential power on national security realm trend and the radicalism of the presidentialism proponents. He is keen to point out the underlying exploitation of constitutional vagueness to advance this state (Shane, 2009, p.13).
The focus and analysis of roles played by individuals and parties charged with the responsibility of shaping policy and refining presidential decisions in quality come into sharp scrutiny. Shane’s focus on lawyer’s role and key advisers on the White House policy paints them as enhancers of an asymmetric landscape; presidents maximize their office power and the advisers show an inclination to support decisions that are congruent to their inclinations. The writer acknowledges the conspicuous presidential dominance by the Republicans but is quick to note that there is no insinuation of the Democrats immunity to go the Republican’s way. The weakness emanates from the presidentialistic regime rather than party or personal issues (Shane, 2009, p.84).
This work does not respond to any previous literature as an extension or counter argument, rather this work of Professor Shane contributes invaluable literature into the field of law and political science. It is however unique in its own way resulting from the deviation from the ideological analysis of the executive issues. It ushers in a unique field through is chronological approach, retrospective look and cogency of thought. This book is ambivalent and fits the consumption needs of the academic and non-academic class, too. It is however more bent towards the legal profession, especially individuals’ envisaging work as government lawyers on advisory roles. Through his questioning and portraying of president G W Bush’s lawyers as acting unethically or dubious (p.88) in advising the presidents, Shane is reminding the aspirants in the legal profession and the current lawyers that they have a duty to offer impartial advise in the best interest of the American people - their client. He is warning that presidentialism is catching with the legal fraternity by reversing the responsible tradition into a defense of unjustifiable ideology that advances onslaught of systems of checks and balances (Shane, 2009, p.84).