AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would like to acknowledge the helpful comments and suggestions I received from Larry Evans, Steve Smith, David Lewis, and Nolan McCarty.
Political Theater or Bargaining Failure: Why Presidents Veto
Version of Record online: 4 JUL 2011
© 2011 Center for the Study of the Presidency
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 41, Issue 3, pages 471–487, September 2011
How to Cite
GILMOUR, J. B. (2011), Political Theater or Bargaining Failure: Why Presidents Veto. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 41: 471–487. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2011.03882.x
- Issue online: 4 JUL 2011
- Version of Record online: 4 JUL 2011
This article tests two competing explanations of presidential vetoes—sequential veto bargaining (SVB) and blame game politics. According to the SVB model, vetoes are the result of uncertainty about the president's true preferences on legislation. According to the blame game model, vetoes result because Congress deliberately passes bills the president will veto as a means of communicating relative positions to outside audiences. This article implements a test of whether a veto was expected at the time a bill achieved final passage, reasoning that if a bill was seen as sure to be vetoed at the time of passage, the veto could not be the product of SVB. The evidence points toward blame game politics as a far more important cause of vetoes than SVB.