Charlotte Hays

We are witnessing the left turning on an increasingly bewildered Barack Obama, who without his usual balm of praise, now seems lost in the cosmos, with the kind of bitterness that can spring only from one cause: love gone sour. Much to my horror, my fellow Republicans, I am seeing in you something alarmingly similar to what got the 2008 Democrats in such trouble: you, too, want to fall in love. It is your inner Democrat speaking to you.

Your inner Democrat is what is lurking behind your oft-stated unhappiness over the current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls. You recognize that Mitt will never make you swoon. Voters seemed frustrated that no one ever needed to pack smelling salts for a Tim Pawlenty rally, a major reason his campaign couldn't last through the summer. You are waiting for somebody to sweep you off your feet and dance you around the ballroom until dawn. You want—in short—to love like a Democrat. But you’re better than that.

We are Americans and we not supposed to fall in love with our politicians. This isn’t the way our flinty Founders, steeped in the classics of Greece and Rome, designed the republic. Yet the last election was such a love fest that I felt I’d moved to the Third World. What kind of moron believes it when a candidate says he’ll make waters of the seas subside (even God contented Himself with parting the Red Sea)? As Gene Healy, the Cato Institute scholar and author of The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power, has noted, our concept of the presidency has changed:

“The chief executive of the United States is no longer a mere constitutional officer charged with faithful execution of the laws. He is a soul nourisher, a hope giver, a living American talisman against hurricanes, terrorism, economic downturns, and spiritual malaise. He—or she—is the one who answers the phone at 3 a.m. to keep our children safe from harm. The modern president is America’s shrink, a social worker, our very own national talk show host. He’s also the Supreme Warlord of the Earth.

This messianic campaign rhetoric merely reflects what the office has evolved into after decades of public clamoring. The vision of the president as national guardian and spiritual redeemer is so ubiquitous it goes virtually unnoticed. Americans, left, right, and other, think of the “commander in chief” as a superhero, responsible for swooping to the rescue when danger strikes. And with great responsibility comes great power.”


Charlotte Hays

Director of Cultural Programs at the Independent Women's Forum.