The President is Not Our National Savior

Neither Left nor Right sees the president as the Framers saw him: a constitutionally constrained chief executive with an important, but limited job: to defend the country when attacked, check Congress when it violates the Constitution, enforce the law—and little else. Today, for conservatives as well as liberals, it is the president’s job to protect us from harm, to ‘grow the economy,’ to spread democracy and American ideals abroad, and even to heal spiritual malaise… 

Healy notes that few people, “\’find anything amiss in the notion that it is the president’s duty to solve all large national problems and to unite us all in the service of a higher calling.’ Like fish that do not notice the water they swim in, ‘The vision of the president as national guardian and redeemer is so ubiquitous that it goes unnoticed.’

The ‘vision of the president as national guardian,’ Healy argues, is not ‘appropriate for a self-governing republic’ or a ‘limited, constitutional government.’”