The President's Role
My first column is now out at Forbes. In it I argue that over the past century we as a populace have unduly elevated the role of the president in American life, and that this poses a danger which the Founders had tried to stave off.
Here's the opening:
For months now (and seemingly longer) everyone’s attention has been on the presidential election. Inundated with primaries, polls and debates, the public at large is fixated on whether their candidate will win and what that will do for them. At its most crass, it comes down to electing a candidate who gives away “free phones”. At its most grandiose, as expressed in a ubiquitous Newsmax banner ad, it’s the question: “Who can save America, Obama or Romney?”
Viewing the election this way says much about contemporary attitudes, common to Democrats and Republicans alike. It suggests that we as a populace see the president as a potential savior, someone to whom we can turn over our burdens, who can magically make the world right.
Historically and globally it’s a common attitude, but in this most uncommon of all nations, it’s a scary aberration.Please read the whole thing.