The Nation: Power in the Clerkship

The more determinedly a President seeks power, the more he will be likely to bring vigor to his clerkship.

—Richard Neustadt, Presidential Power

Watching the 43-year-old President's first, fast weeks in office, even John Fitzgerald Kennedy's sharpest critics had to admit that for better or worse he was bringing uncommon vigor to his presidential clerkship. His staff and his Cabinet had long since accepted him as an active boss who would not hesitate to order the toning down of a speech by tough-minded Admiral Arleigh Burke, to personally dress down an aide responsible for a critical news leak.

To his own surprise,...

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