History

What Calvin Coolidge Can Teach Barack Obama

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Writing in the DC Examiner, the Cato Institute's Gene Healy argues that President Barack Obama could learn a thing or two from President Calvin Coolidge:

Calvin Coolidge, a genuinely humble man and a fine president, wrote in his autobiography that it was "a major source of safety to the country" for the president "to know that he is not a great man." Few of our recent presidents display Coolidge's self-awareness….

Obama's supporters…fancy themselves members of the "reality-based community." Yet they doggedly defend a president for whom the word "hubris" might have been invented — one who thinks that the government, under his direction, can rationally reshape the one-sixth of the U.S. economy devoted to health care.

Our president describes his budget as a "blueprint" for America's future, and believes that, with the proper mix of social workers and soldiers, we can bring orderly governance to Afghanistan, which has never enjoyed it.

We'd do far better if our presidents had Coolidge's sense of his own limitations and of government's as well.

Read the rest here. Healy on the cult of the presidency here.