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Ben Franklin's bifocals September 27, 2008

Reign of Terror

How many who watched last night's first presidential debate noticed that at one point when Jim Lehrer was questioning the candidates he referred to the current administration as the "Reign of George Bush"? Talk about your Freudian slips. Then today, on CNN, I heard one of the reporters use exactly the same phrase.

George Washington (who could have been George I) must be spinning in his grave. Even before there was a United States of America, our founders profoundly feared that the newly independent colonies would degenerate into some form of monarchy or dictatorship. Most historians believe that Washington's reluctance to accept the presidency of the new nation was in part due to his understanding that as a hero of the War of Independence, and the most popular leader in country, he would attract to the presidency too much power. One of the best things that he did for this fledgling nation was to decline an additional term, although clearly it was his for the asking.

See how far we have come in the last eight years. In my lifetime I have seen a dozen presidents come, and eleven of them go. Never before have I heard any of their terms of office referred to as a reign. The Imperial presidency of Bush-Cheney has so eroded the basic fabric of our democracy that their tenure in office can now be characterized as a "reign" in words that fall casually from the lips of smart people. To describe any United States presidency as a reign is anathema to the founding principles of this nation, and would have generated widespread public outcry and indignation in previous centuries. Not so in today's world, apparently.

His Highness and Chief Courtiers

William's Whimsical Words:

Perhaps the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain. In my country, acid rain should not fall on the White House Rose Garden.

acid rain

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