Is it still possible for a President to keep a manageable work schedule?

There’s a famous story of outgoing President Carter briefing newly elected Reagan on his new job. He mentions the Secret Service will promptly wake Reagan at every morning at 5 AM. Reagan cracks a joke about that ever happening. Workaholic Carter just glares at him.

Reagan had the benefit of serving as Governor of California. The 3rd largest state in size. The largest state in GSP. He knew how to delegate and apparently didn’t let the job of President run him into the ground. I’ve never heard when he awoke. But I seriously doubt it was 5 AM. LOL

I see Trump taking a similar approach to the job. He’s had decades of experience running a big multifaceted organization. Knows how to delegate. How to keep the job from running him into the ground. Gotta work smart and not harder. :smiley: He’ll be the face of the Presidency. Represent us. Hold people accountable. But leave the details to others. Exactly what a CEO normally does.

Hillary is the classic workaholic. Micromanaging every detail. She will work 14 hour days till she strokes out. Trump? No way. I think Trump will delegate a lot of the work to VP Pence and his cabinet.

But will that still work in today’s post 9/11 Presidency? Has the job gotten unmanageable and requires all out, all consuming, soul crushing commitment?

At least the CEO’s of global 100 corporations that I have interacted with have all been very hard working, put in long hours pretty much 365, don’t party much if at all, delegate but are on top of their business, are very mindful to say what they mean and mean what they say, and *really *know their shit. They do not micromanage, but know their shit, have sound judgement, can drill in very quickly to the relevant information, etc. Personal anecdotes I know. Donald Trump does not fit this pattern.

Didn’t Trump say his VP would have both the domestic and international portfolio?

IIRC, a reporter said that someone who worked for Kasich said that Trump Junior said that – none of which means that Trump Senior actually said it, or meant it if he said it. But it sure is lovely to think so.

President Coolidge went to bed early, slept late, and took three-hour naps most days. He averaged three hours of actual work daily. He managed this by saying “no” to pretty much everything he was asked to do, and by ignoring his in-box.

He can always just let the Cabinet Secretaries run things. They do the day-to-day work anyway. The President, if he wants a hands-off style, can toss them the reins. Every Thursday afternoon, he’ll call them together and tell them to work harder, or else. Then it’s golf for a three-and-a-half-day weekend.

I doubt that cute anecdote is actually true, but (per the OP) we’re talking about a post-9/11 presidency which I think we can safely assume Coolidge do not experience.

Still, the only jeopardy the president faces by slacking off on the job is impeachment or failure to get re-elected. He can manage as tightly or loosely as he chooses.

It depends on what you want to do. Clinton realized how big the job was and also realized that while you can delegate day to day tasks, you have to keep on top of things. That takes time. Carter had the same approach. Reagan just delegated and forgot.

One thing I do think Presidents need to just quit is spending so much time on bullshit. Ceremonial stuff, elementary school classes visiting the White House, meetings where nothing of note happens because nothing of note was ever supposed to happen… Also, in the modern age, almost everything can be done from the White House. They don’t need those insane travel schedules anymore and they don’t need to fuel up Air Force One and “see” every forest fire or flood. THAT’s what should be delegated to the VP or appropriate cabinet officer. They should limit travel to things that are truly necessary for being onsite or because they really need to get out.

Work smart, not hard, does not seem to apply to most politicians. Most of them have great work ethic but it seems they’d rather be seen to be doing their jobs than actually do them well.

The West Wing used to drive my crazy with these scenes of the President being notified of every crisis or event. Like somehow he could do anything about a bomb in the Chelsea neighborhood of NY.

The Federal government is massive. Layer upon layer of people. The President didn’t need to be interrupted three times on 9/17. The Justice Dept responded to those three domestic incidents automatically.

I assume the President got briefed at his normal time. Probably a quick summary of all three incidents.

Unfortunately, I think that’s the nature of the beast when you have to be elected to do your job. You can be the best Senator in the country, but if your constituents don’t know that you’re the best Senator, you’re not going to be re-elected. Being seen doing things, even if that takes away from your overall efficiency, is the only way to ensure that you’re going to be around in the future to continue doing those things that you think are important. So while I theoretically agree with you that we’d be better served with a president who doesn’t tell stories to school children or go to a largely ceremonial tour of the scene of the latest national tragedy - that president would have a diminished capability to mobilize the public support necessary to actually do their job.

It’s the catch-22 of elected offices; they’d be better at their jobs if they didn’t have to run for office, but then how do you ensure that you don’t get an autocratic despot or corrupt self-server in the office?

He Did Not Choose to Run for President in 1928.

It’s interesting that you brought up the Bush reading to school children bit, because that reminds me of another thing Presidents spend too much time on: messaging. An effective President should be able to “message” with a speech. Reagan pulled this off pretty well. Less talented executives do a full court press to sell a policy initiative(in this case, Bush’s education proposals) and it tends to involve a lot of administration man hours, including a lot of hours from the Man himself. And I’m not really sue it does any good. It seems to me that a President who is trusted to do his job well will have a much easier time selling his agenda than a President who sucks but does well managed photo ops like the one of Bush reading to schoolchidren.

If there’s one good thing a Trump Presidency might bring, it might be to highlight what a President actually does need to do and what he doesn’t. I can’t imagine Trump being too interested in things like ribbon cutting or coordinated messaging.

Seems to me that about half of the president’s speeches aren’t *really *necessary. He could cut those out of his schedule.

Yep, although those aren’t a big time waster since minor speeches are usually written with very little involvement from the one delivering them.

But you all get the idea. The President spends a lot of time on things that don’t really have anything to do with actually managing the executive branch. If anything, he’s often the one being managed, by his political team, which in the modern age has a lot more power than the people actually tasked with getting things done. West Wing showed this accurately, with the President’s political advisors being the center of the story and being right next to his office while his Cabinet officers were almost never seen. In West Wing it looked a lot more benign because the President was the most brilliant man in the room, his head filled with facts and figures, but in real life that’s never the case. Presidents have people who coach them when they have to be able to recite them.

Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View
President Coolidge went to bed early, slept late, and took three-hour naps most days. He averaged three hours of actual work daily. He managed this by saying “no” to pretty much everything he was asked to do, and by ignoring his in-box.

actually the current thought is Coolidge was possibly the only clinically depressed person to ever to become president … everyone he ever knew said after the son died so did he pretty much

I like the idea of splitting the job in two: the executive who actually runs things and the symbolic head of state who does the fluffy feel good stuff.

YES! That’s exactly what we should do.

Perhaps, possibly, maybe…make the head of state a hereditary position? :wink:

I’ve bounced this around, but I wonder how well it works to allow the head of government to stay on task. How well does that work for, say, the UK or Germany, which have a separate head of state?

No, but it would be fine as an outlet for celebrities or great speechmakers with little experience. Perhaps the very presence of such a job might cause voters to think, “Okay, I like this guy, but doesn’t he seem better suited to head of state rather than actually running things?” Might shunt some of those unfit but popular candidates into a job they can handle.

Do heads of government in countries with a separate head of state actually do less fluffy feel good stuff, or does the fluffy feel good stuff just expand to fill the allotted space?