Earlier this year, a coworker, upon learning that I taught history, government, and economics, asked who my favorite President was. I responded that as I learn more about them, they fall further in my esteem. I said that with each successive administration, they seem to pay less and less attention to the Constitution and they rarely if ever give back any of the power the office accrues. I lamented that only occasionally do we elect a man who is truly modest about the authority of the presidency, say a Cleveland or a Coolidge, before resuming the decades-if-not-centuries-old trend of electing borderline sociopaths who insist that they and only they can be trusted with that much power.
I stopped blathering for a moment because she looked a bit taken aback. Then I said, “Maybe I should’ve just said Washington or Lincoln.”
Perhaps my case was a bit overstated; sometimes, I suppose, we do need leaders to lead us. But I think those times are far more rare than our politicians do, and it would be so nice to hear a President say (sincerely) that he should not or does not have a particular power, or that the Constitution does not give him such a power.