Proposals to reform the presidency fall into three increasingly exclusive categories. The most inclusive are those that focus on reforming the American political system and by doing so altering the balance of power within the government, usually in favor of the chief executive. The effort to strengthen the party system is probably the most prominent representative of this orientation. Other proposals, such as a presidential item veto, would increase the president's power on a more modest scale but still require change in the fundamental rules of the game.
A second class of proposals has the narrower aim of reforming the presidency as an institution. Rather than emphasizing increased power for the president, these recommendations attempt to aid the chief executive in carrying out his responsibilities more judiciously. They often focus on providing the president more or better decision-making resources. Plans for reorganizing or otherwise improving the White House staff system or the Executive Office of the President or for insulating the president from parochial demands through a single six-year term are notable examples of suggestions for institutional reform.
The variety of reformist proposals that is most common and most restricted in scope concentrates on improving the presidency by changing the characteristics of the individuals who occupy the Oval Office. Some would have us pay more attention to the character or personality of candidates for the office, while others stress the importance of choosing presidents who possess the proper skills for governing. To achieve these goals, proponents of change advocate reforms ranging from alterations in the processes by which we select presidents to candidate psychoanalysis.