09 July 2024


King George III called Washington the “greatest of men” for surrendering power after two terms. Only the not-so-great Franklin Roosevelt* broke that precedent, deciding that no one but himself could do the job. (The constitution was amended to prevent a recurrence of this). The American presidency in its present incarnation draws enormous egos  able to expend four years running for office in an insane unending campaign. The British just had an election with a campaign that lasted all of six weeks and power was transferred almost immediately. Our campaigns now never end, and despite the efficacy of a very  “democratic” process. Yet after all is said and done we are faced with two candidates a majority of the people do not want. This has to change to restore any kind of normalcy to the United States. 

At this moment it appears that Joe and Jill intend to hold on to power to the bitter end. Unless Jill lets go the administration will continue and a mixed bag of largely radical staff will continue to run the country, much as they have for some time now. The trappings of office are too powerful an elixir to easily surrender. The 25th Amendment is unlikely to be invoked in this instance and ought to be revisited. Does it make any sense for a VP to start a process that will lead to replacing the President and then become President (in this case) herself?  

It will take a large, possibly even a majority of Democratic representatives to broach the subject and right now most are sitting on their hands. It will take a fraught, monumental effort to displace Joe Biden. One of the characteristics of people with dementia is that they don’t know they have it by the time their mental state starts to decline. Consequently it is unlikely that Biden can be persuaded to step down unless there is overwhelming majority pressure, and/or Jill changes her mind. But neither she, nor more importantly, the senior staff want to surrender power. 

It is imperative that we change the electoral system or we shall devour ourselves just through rancor. To get better candidates we need a better system. As far as I am concerned the best president would be someone who doesn’t want to be president and who is not consumed by pursuit of that office. 

*Although routinely rated "great" by left-leaning historians, apart from clinging to power Roosevelt also mishandled things that he is usually given credit for solving. Modern economic research now shows that his policies actually prolonged the depression. When it comes to World War II if the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had occurred in the face of today's media, would there not be scandalous inquiry?  I am not suggesting that America's role in the war was at all bad, but rather that it could have gone differently without Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt was determined to get into the war and did everything possible to provoke the Japanese, especially by cutting off oil. But that being the case, and that being the intent the nation, should have been fully prepared for war beforehand rather than being caught by surprise. Roosevelt was succeeded by Harry Truman, whom everyone thought of as just a common man. Nevertheless he ended the war and generally rose to the position of President, hence proving that no one is indispenable and that there was no necessity for Roosevelt serving two additional terms. The only indispensable man was Washington, but such a man only comes along over a few thousand years. 

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