The Role of the President

Regular readers know I have written a large number of posts on how Presidents since Ike have performed at various tasks, from economic growth to cutting the rate of abortions. But what is the President’s job? What’s he supposed to do?

I wandered over to the White House page, and clicked on the tab that reads “president”. That took me here where I was greeted by this:

You’d think they’d have picked a picture that didn’t make him look so much like Alfred E. Neuman, but then you’d be wrong…

But nowhere here there’s anything about what the President does, what he is supposed to do, or what are his duties and responsibilities.

The Constitution gives a list of things the President can do: signing laws, vetoing bills, create a Cabinet, and (this one is special for Scooter Libby) grant reprieves and pardons. There are also some things he does with the advise and consent of the Senate: nominate ambassadors, judges, make treaties, etc.

He’s also chief executive of the Executive Branch, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The only thing it seems to me he is required to do, though, is take an oath of office (to uphold the Constitution) and to give an annual address to Congress about what he thinks is going on.

But people expect more than that from the President. Most people want him (or her) to take steps their lives better. This includes making the economy stronger and seeing to it the government provides services they desire. Heck, some people want the President to outlaw most forms of birth control.

And Presidential candidates clearly are willing to promise all these things.

So what is the role of the President? What should it be?