"The Founders Didn't Want a President That Would Run the Country"

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Robert Novak spoke to a group of right-ish journalists this morning and the most interesting comment, to me, was his summing-up of a series of questions about the presidency. Everyone wanted to hear his opinions of the presidents he'd covered, a line that started with Dwight Eisenhower (who "didn't understand taxes and tax cuts"). Both Bushes were "mediocre," Carter was "a liar," and John F. Kennedy was the only Democrat Novak would vote for again. "He cut taxes. Nixon never would. And Nixon was a bad man."

But Novak didn't want to suggest he cared all that much about presidents. On one level he just refuses to deify them; like he writes in his autobio The Prince of Darkness, "It's hard for me to fall in love with a presidential candidate because I see them all up close." On a deeper level, he just doesn't like the cult of the presidency. Here's an MP3 of Novak's thoughts on the subject.

(I asked a question about whether blogs make it easier for politicians to bypass the media and push lies and spin to gullible partisans, but it wasn't a very interesting exchange. I mentioned the Yearly Kos convention and a 2006 race that Republicans convinced conservative bloggers would be close, when it wasn't, but Novak focused on the lies bloggers have told about him, like his fictional membership in Opus Dei.)

NEXT: Robert Novak on "the government we deserve"

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  1. Why ask Robert Novak about blogs? I don’t ask my grandfather about MMO’s.

  2. MMORPGs, I meanstosay.

  3. Why ask Robert Novak about blogs? I don’t ask my grandfather about MMO’s.

    It was one of the few things not in his book and I was genuinely curious what he thought of the generation of political bloggers who think they’re leaving Novak’s ilk in the trash heap.

  4. John F. Kennedy was the only Democrat Novak would vote for again. “He cut taxes.

    hooray Keynes!

  5. I’d resurrect Keynes just to kick him in the junk.

  6. yeah I agree! But can we also apply the same kick to those who think short run fiscal stimulus has anything remotely to do with “supply side” economics??

  7. VM: They will be different kicks, but we can supply them!

    Then we’ll bury bottles full of money in their back yard and make zombie Keynes dig them up.

  8. the generation of political bloggers who think they’re leaving Novak’s ilk in the trash heap

    As far as I can tell, the only thing that has changed is the toys. The basic mechanics — lying politician, obedient partisan spinner, gullible public — has remained the same since the broadsheets of the 18th century.

  9. Tom Paine was a shill for big freedom!

  10. BOBOBOBHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    *images of Zombie Keynes doing the “Exorcist” with his Keynesian Cross. “FUCK ME SOLOW. FUCK ME SOLOW”

  11. Fascinating account of the fascinating personalities of the Presidency and a fascinating personality who covers them. Thank you.

    Meanwhile, I just heard that John Edwards announced that he’s going to solve the middle class’ economic problems by doubling the capital gains tax and the tax on dividends.

    …sorry, I know that isn’t fascinating, but maybe somebody could work into a fascinating story about Edwards’ wife?

  12. The media obsesses too much over presidents, just as they do over CEOs. Neither is usually as important as the press would like to make them out to be.

  13. So, when is Weigel going to get around to discussing the TrutherWhoWas ejected from FredThompson appearance yesterday?

    Suggested tack: analyze the TotalitarianImpulses of his followers, comparing them to things like the BushPledge, the LoyaltyOath to see Cheney, etc.

    Bonus: contrast this:
    freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1871740/posts?page=12#12
    (not the source)

    with this:

    freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1871740/posts?page=42#42

    Hint: my post at the link is sarcastic.

  14. Man, Zombie Keynes is a dick.

  15. I wish the President were only considered to be the analog of a CEO. Most Americans view holding the office as tantamount to being emperor of the free world.

  16. Timothy,
    Also, Zombie Lincoln is a ‘mo.

  17. “The Founders Didn’t Want a President That Would Run the Country”

    Some of them did.

  18. “The Founders Didn’t Want a President That Would Run the Country”

    Some of them did.”

    Which ones highnumber? What founders wanted one man to run a country 1500 miles long when the max you could travel in one day was 15 miles.
    Names, highnumber, names NOW!

  19. I can’t find a citation, but Hamilton seems likely.

  20. Hey, what better source than wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Hamilton

    It claims that Hamilton wanted, among other things: a hereditary monarchy, senators elected for life, and no state governments. You could say he kind of got his wish.

  21. John Adams was a near-monarchist in his belief in a strong executive. He didn’t like the trappings of royalty, but he was definitely a strongman-type.

    As opposed to his rabble-rousing brother.

  22. If he wanted one man, why did he also want a senate elected for life?

  23. Hey, man. Wikipedia doesn’t have to explain why! Maybe he really, really wanted to be like Rome.

  24. I was thinking of Hamilton and the Federalists, as opposed to Jefferson and the Democratic Republicans.

  25. Terry,

    Because believing in a strong executive also allows for the existence of a legislature.

    Pakistan has a legislature. Hell, Nazi Germany had a legislature.

  26. As opposed to his rabble-rousing brother.

    If you’re talking about Sam Adams, he was John’s cousin, not brother.

  27. Timothy:

    But only a dick can fuck assholes. A dick with some balls.

  28. ed,

    I am, and he was. Good catch.

  29. “””” Most Americans view holding the office as tantamount to being emperor of the free world.”””

    I think so. Ron Paul wants to be a President not a emperor, look how well he’s doing in the polls.

  30. John F. Kennedy was the only Democrat Novak would vote for again. “He cut taxes. . . .”

    Except that JFK died before he could cut taxes. The guy who actually cut them was LBJ, by successfully pushing the Revenue Act of 1964 through Congress.

  31. a 2006 race that Republicans convinced conservative bloggers would be close, when it wasn’t

    Huh??

    What could Republicans possibly gain by claiming it was going to be a close race?

    Dave has been into the KoolAid again…republicans can’t be simply wrong about somthing…..no no no…they have to be conspiring with misinformation.

  32. Neither is usually as important as the press would like to make them out to be.

    Let alone the shared delusion of self-importance.

  33. ,i>What could Republicans possibly gain by claiming it was going to be a close race?

    Higher turnout among conservative voters, who might stay home if they think the race is going to be a blowout.

    This is pretty fundamental stuff.

  34. Dealey Plaza Professionally Surveyed Map of 11-22-63 Victims Precise Locations, Witnesses, Photographers, Suspected Bullet Trajectories, Evidence, & Important Documented Information….

    http://members.aol.com/droberdeau/JFK/DP.jpg

    DISCOVERY: Very Close, Dealey Plaza Assassination
    Witness Rosemary Willis’s Zapruder Filmed 2nd Headsnap;
    Ultrafast, West & Directly Towards the “Grassy Knoll”….

    http://members.aol.com/droberdeau/JFK/ROSEwillisANNOUNCEMENT.html

    President-elect KENNEDY “Men of Courage” speech (1-9-61) & Assassination Links for Consideration

    http://hometown.aol.com/droberdeau/

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