staff bureaucracy and the washington pressure cooker


Limit 4, single-spaced, type-written pages, 12-pt. font Times Roman font, 1 inch margins. The paper will count for 20% of your final grade. Papers must be in Word, PDF, or RTF format. Papers must include your name, student ID#, and the title of class. This is both a creative exercise and a test of what you have learned so far in the course. Use your imagination as well as apply your knowledge of relevant information in answering the questions. Papers are due in my Brightspace “Assignment” folder no later than Monday, June 11 @ 11:59 p.m. Late papers will be docked a letter grade after each day it is late (however, early papers are accepted). Feel free to use sources such as the Internet, magazine and newspaper articles, books, and any others you might come across; however, you MUST cite all sources used, as well as utilize quote marks when directly quoting a source.


Compare and contrast the movies in Section III. How can members of Congress and the president make solid decisions in the pressure cooker that is Washington, DC? What role does staff and the executive branch bureaucracy play in the decision-making process? How important is staff and the bureaucracy in protecting Congress and the president politically? Explain. Be sure to draw on all the movies in this section, the assigned readings, and any others you can think of, in answering these questions. Remember: there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions—simply opinions which are either well-defended or not.

Movies List

III. Staff, the Bureaucracy, & Decision Making

A. Thirteen Days (2000) [145 min.] {June 4} {{Topic: Crisis Decision-Making: Cuban Missile Crisis}}

B. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) [102 min.] {June 5} {{Topic: Cold War Decision-Making}}

E. Wag the Dog (1998) [97 min.] {June 6} {{Topic: Manipulating the Public}}

C. The American President (1995) [115 min.] {June 7} {{Topic: Before the “West Wing”}}

D. Too Big to Fail (2011) [99 min.] {June 8} {{Topic: 2008 Financial Crisis}}

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