Let’s say Clinton resigns or is impeached. The tragedy is that he’ll
replaced. A better idea: leave the office empty. Call off the 2000
and declare Clinton the last president. The presidency has become a
our economy, our culture, and our national life. We’d be better off
At this point, the very institution is inseparable from words like
deception, waste, corruption, betrayal, and abuse of power. If the
presidency had to survive a market test, it would be bankrupt. If it
non-profit organization, it would be shut down by the courts. If it were
religious institution, it would be denounced as a haven for hucksters.
Let’s disabuse ourselves of the myth that the next inhabitant will be
clean-living, truth-telling, promise-keeping statesman. He won’t. The
itself, embodying more power than any mere mortal should have, attracts
brings out the worst in a person. When was the last time a president
It’s not the man; it’s the office. Everywhere the president goes,
doted on like some third-world autocrat. He’s told by pundits that the
national soul resides in his very person. He’s convinced that he is
of the free world,” even while the government he heads conspires every
to take away freedom. He knows that “history” is kindest to presidents
start wars, centralize the economy, and generally run roughshod over the
democratic process, so he aspires to be like them.
The presidency is the head of a vast bureaucratic empire with
dollars to pass out. And we are surprised when the political appointees
entangled in conspiracy and graft? That’s what politics is about. That’s
what power is about. That’s what the presidency is about.
The office obeys no rule of law. The presidency allows a person to
bombings on foreign medicine factories on a whim. Worse, it grants the
to issue executive orders that contradict the Constitution, to bail out
foreign governments it likes and impose sanctions on those it doesn’t.
the office that permits one man to H-bomb the world, if he’s so
No one should have such power, especially not in a country conceived
liberty. Yet the abuses began soon after the Constitution was ratified.
the first president sent out the troops to kill tax resisters. So the
office “grew” and conformed to the power ambitions of the men who held
It took less than a century before a president saw himself as
holy office in the national church, an office whose piety and purity was
perfected in wartime. Thus began a long line of tyrants-in-waiting.
We still see remnants of this thinking in places like North Korea
where the presidents declare themselves to be “great leaders.” Thank
goodness the rest of the world has moved on. We know that the state is a
vast enterprise for declaring all sorts of things legal for itself that
would be illegal for us, such as burning down religious communities,
extorting and bribing businesses, and skimming off a third of people’s
income without their permission.
After the failures of a century and more of presidential omnipotence,
what’s left for the office to do? Socialize heath care? Forget it.
trade deals? Private business does that already. Conduct a “summit” in
Moscow? What a joke. Clinton says he can’t be distracted from “the
business,” when we are all much better off if he is. The nation’s
is freedom, not obedience to the Maximum Leader.
The other day, Madeline Albright said the presidency could conduct
of the future” against “terrorists.” Is she serious? That’s a line from
the Dog,” when a political consultant explains to a CIA bureaucrat why
military must be used to fool and distract the people.
If Clinton is forced to hit the road, let’s just leave the office
After a year or two of freedom from the presidency, we’ll all realize
better off without one. Think about all the money that won’t be sucked
the election rathole. The candidates can stay in the private sector,
producing things for people instead of taking things from them. There
be no more presidential “role models” to corrupt our kids.
Let’s apply the real lessons of the recent presidential meltdown, and
call the whole thing off.