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Roosevelt had nothing but contempt for limits on presidential power, and issued more executive orders than any president before or since.
The Framers' envisioned a modest constitutional "chief magistrate," who would secure the rule of law, not overturn it. But decades of longing for a national redeemer have turned the presidency into a constitutional abomination: an office that promises everything and guarantees nothing, save public frustration and the steady growth of federal power.
The quest for "transformational figures" and "redemptive presidents" reflects a dangerous, adolescent view of the presidency. If only it were limited to the lad- mags.
Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute and author of The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power (Cato 2008). He is a columnist at the Washington Examiner, where a version of this article originally appeared. Click here to read it at that site.