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Presidential Fantasies

Bring the ‘clerkship’ back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By JAY COST
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“Democracy,” H. L. Mencken once quipped, “is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” For over a century, the United States has been deluded by an erroneous and costly understanding of the presidency. In searching for a superhuman leader who does not actually exist, the nation has repeatedly selected leaders who are not up to the decidedly human tasks the Constitution requires. And this misguided pursuit facilitates executive mendacity, division, and misbehavior in Congress. Unless we correct our faulty notions about the potential power of the president, we are bound to be saddled time and again with incompetent administrators like Barack Obama, who, in his efforts to “save” the country, will leave it worse off than when he found it.

Jay Cost is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.

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