According the Long, the political system in the United States does not generate enough power in any one leadership role to allow for Wilson’s notion of a dichotomy between the administration and politics to work. A formal chain of command does not have enough power to trickle down to the administrative branch (Long, 1949). In other words, administrators are at the behest of whoever is currently in office, and since elections are held every two years, policies are bound to change (Cooper & Boyer). Special interest groups (lobbyists) and those who have done political favors for the person in office have a huge influence on how the administration branch operates.
Administrators and agencies have to build political support for policies (Cooper & Boyer); at least that is what is happening now in the US political system. In fact, administrators should not have to try to garner support for legislation that has already been enacted as a law. According to Wilson, politics should not influence public administration: the two should work independently from one another. The idea that the two can function without either being influenced by the other is naive and short sighted.
Administrators have had a hard time implementing policy when there is little or no public support for it (Long, 1949). An excellent example of how Wilson’s theory does not hold up is the Obamacare nightmare. Democrats overwhelmingly supported the massive healthcare legislation, but not without Republicans grandstanding against it. Once the Affordable Care Act was pushed through the House and the Senate, it was sent to President Obama who signed it into law.
Now the responsibility fell to the administrators (namely the Internal Revenue Service) to implement the law as a working policy. This was not an easy task, especially when it was held up in the Supreme Court over Constitutional issues. Healthcare.gov crashed and malfunctioned
on a regular basis due to the sheer volume of people trying to sign up for coverage (Cohen, 2014), and because of a push by the government to sign up before they incurred a fine. This was a mitigated disaster for everyone involved: the citizens, the Congress, and the administrators. This is a key example of politics run amok. The administrators were not able to do their jobs effectively because of all the wrangling between Congress and the executive office.
Long is adamantly opposed to Wilson’s idea of dichotomy between the executive and administrative branches. He argues that if the administrators have too much power, the checks and balances system would be jeopardized because the administrative branch would be a government unto its own (Long, 1949). Likewise, he argues that politics can never be completely divorced from public administration; to think otherwise is simply naive and self-indulgent on the part of Wilson.
Robertson would probably not support Wilson’s view either. As a staunch believer in collaboration and citizen involvement, Robertson believes that politics and public administration complement each other (Cooper & Boyer). Citizen participation and cooperation with the legislative branches to reach common policy goals is the ideal scenario. Citizens cannot be sold on something that they do not know anything about. That is why Robertson pushes to educate the public about government policies along with implementing them.
Wilson, Long, and Robertson all have different views on the feasibility and practicality of creating a stand-alone department of administration. Wilson thought it was a good idea. Long was critical of Wilson’s theory because he did not think that politics could be keep out of administrative actions. Robertson, a war veteran, would have agreed with Long. Robertson is an administrator who believes in citizen participation, and cooperation. Wilson sparked debate about the possibility of a dichotomy between politics and public administration. This debate is still going on, and political scholars will continue to study this topic for years to come.