What Presidents Demonstrate

This is from Four Brands of Impos­si­ble by Nor­man Kagan, a short sto­ry of sci­ence fic­tion copy­right 1964 by Mer­cury Press, Inc.:

…Did you know we have a top-secret Con­gres­sion­al Project to auto­mate the pres­i­den­cy? Fact. The chair­man of the Depart­ment of Cyber­net­ics told me the sys­tem phi­los­o­phy behind it: Roo­sevelt showed that some­one could be Pres­i­dent as long as he liked. Tru­man proved that any­one could be Pres­i­dent. Eisen­how­er demon­strat­ed that you don’t real­ly need a Pres­i­dent. And Kennedy was fur­ther proof that it’s dan­ger­ous to be a human Pres­i­dent. So we’re work­ing out a way to auto­mate the office.”

Leav­ing aside the ques­tion of why those demon­stra­tions lead to the con­clu­sion that the office should be auto­mat­ed, if Mr. Kagan was writ­ing today, I won­der how this would change. FDR still stands as the best evi­dence that some­one could be Pres­i­dent as long as he liked, though I sus­pect there are many who feel Rea­gan could have held the office as long as he want­ed if not for the con­sti­tu­tion­al limit.

That any­one could be Pres­i­dent might have been more recent­ly shown by Rea­gan, Clin­ton, Bush, and Obama.

That we don’t real­ly need a Pres­i­dent by Ford per­haps, or maybe Rea­gan’s sec­ond term?

That it is dan­ger­ous to be Pres­i­dent? Rea­gan is the only Pres­i­dent to be shot since Kennedy.

So, real­ly, if the para­graph was writ­ten today, Rea­gan could be used to ful­fill all of the categories!!

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