What Happened to Limits on Power?

Former President Bill Clinton said last week he would have preferred to leave the White House “in a coffin” because he loved being commander in chief. “It’s good that we have a (term) limit. Otherwise I would have stayed until I was carried away in a coffin. Or defeated in an election,” Clinton said at a conference in Istanbul. “I loved doing the job.”

It’s not love. It’s power lust.

Do we really want elected political leaders like this? I don’t want a President who cares more about political power than anything else. I want one who cares about freedom, capitalism and individual rights more than anything. One who wants to go home as soon as possible, and be replaced with someone who has the exact same attitude: To leave us all the hell alone, especially the best, brightest and most productive among us. A good President is one who had a life and talents (other than politics) prior to entering office, and sees life as about much more than politics.

I assess the current President as much worse than Bill Clinton in this regard. He appoints “czars” to do his bidding outside of constitutional limits, and he pressures Congress to pass unpopular legislation because the American people “need” it whether they know it or not. I don’t think he merely “loves” the job, even in a neurotic or narcissistic way. I think he’s damn intent on keeping it, and imposing on the country whatever he wants regardless of the “democracy” he claims to uphold. How that will reconcile with uncooperative elections, strong dissension, freedom of expression and commerce remains to be seen. Bill Clinton may have believed in limits on power, but I wonder how much Barack Obama really does.