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My new TRB column is out, subscription-only, about the cult of the presidency and the Deepwater Horizon spill. The intro:

Two years ago, the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy wrote an insightful essay in Reason titled, “The Cult of the Presidency.” Healy argued that the office of the president had assumed an almost supernatural place in American life. Not only had presidents assumed powers far beyond those originally intended—though I’d take exception to Healy’s shrunken, nineteenth-century conception of the office’s proper role—but the broader culture had also assigned it powers that go beyond the realm of politics itself. “The chief executive of the United States is no longer a mere constitutional officer charged with faithful execution of the laws,” wrote Healy. “He is a soul nourisher, a hope giver, a living American talisman against hurricanes, terrorism, economic downturns, and spiritual malaise.”Office 2007 Pro is so great!

Healy could well have been writing about the curious reaction to President Obama’s handling of the BP oil leak. Last week, Obama held a press conference putatively dedicated to explaining the state of the disaster and the government’s response. The actual purpose of the event, as both the questioners and the questionee understood, was for Obama to perform his talismanic role. My new TRB column is out, subscription-only, about the cult of the presidency and the Deepwater Horizon spill. The intro:

Two years ago, the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy wrote an insightful essay in Reason titled, “The Cult of the Presidency.” Healy argued that the office of the president had assumed an almost supernatural place in American life. Not only had presidents assumed powers far beyond those originally intended—though I’d take exception to Healy’s shrunken, nineteenth-century conception of the office’s proper role—but the broader culture had also assigned it powers that go beyond the realm of politics itself. “The chief executive of the United States is no longer a mere constitutional officer charged with faithful execution of the laws,” wrote Healy. “He is a soul nourisher, a hope giver, a living American talisman against hurricanes, terrorism, economic downturns, and spiritual malaise.”Microsoft Office 2007  is welcomed by the whole world.

Healy could well have been writing about the curious reaction to President Obama’s handling of the BP oil leak. Last week, Obama held a press conference putatively dedicated to explaining the state of the disaster and the government’s response. The actual purpose of the event, as both the questioners and the questionee understood, was for Obama to perform his talismanic role.

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