Presidential History

Just Gettin' off on Misery

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At the Purpose-Driven Debate this weekend, both major-party candidates were asked just why, exactly, they wanted to be president. Occasional reason contributor Gene Healy, unsurprisingly, was interested in their answers. The root sentences of each, starting with Barack Obama's:

I want to be president because that's the America I believe in and I feel like that American dream is slipping away.

Now John McCain's:

I want to inspire a generation of Americans to serve a cause greater than their self-interest.

The fuller quotes, while full of puffery, are also of interest, and can be found here, along with Healy's buzz-killingly originalist observation:

In the original constitutional scheme, the president wasn't supposed to be the Empath-in-Chief or a national life coach-cum-self-help guru, charged with getting us off our duffs and uniting us all behind a higher calling.  

Make sure you've read Healy's June reason cover story, "The Cult of the Presidency."

What say you, o Hit & Runnskis: Is the American dream, like Keith Richards, slipping away? Is Generation Y (and/or Z) insufficiently sacrificial, and awaiting the inspiration of a septuagenarian?