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The Crazy Idea that the President Is ‘Leader’ of the Country

We think the president is like the CEO of our country, when in reality his job is more akin to head janitor.

by
Frank J. Fleming

Bio

November 4, 2012 - 12:00 am

We keep hearing that on November 6 we will elect the leader of America. We will pick whom we want to set the course for our nation and inspire us to move forward. Someone who will take on all our problems and set things right. Someone who will write up a nice kill list of people who should be dead.

So where did we get this idiotic idea?

I mean, really, why does everyone believe the president is the leader of our country? What he is, is the head of our government, i.e., he is the leader of the least part of our country. We have two groups in America: the people who work hard and create businesses and jobs and all the things that make our country great, and the screw-ups who get in the way of that. Government is by far the greatest force of the latter. So why do we as citizens think the guy we put in charge of the government and all the bureaucrats — “King Idiot,” basically — is our leader? That’s like saying a pothole is in charge of the road.

What was the concept of the U.S. government when it was created? That it’s our servant — we’re in charge of it. The president serves at our pleasure. So the president trying to lead us is like your butler dictating your agenda for the day. What would you do if your butler tried that? That’s right: You’d lock him in a small room in the wine cellar for a couple days to teach him his place. Yet somehow we not only put up with the president trying to lead us, but we’ve come to expect it.

We have it in our heads that the president of the United States is like the CEO of our country, when in reality his job is more akin to head janitor. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to say that politicians work as hard or are as essential to society as the average janitor. But it’s our job as private citizens to do the main work, and the government is supposed to operate in the background doing minor things that support that work — cleaning up the messes we’re too busy to handle. If the head janitor and his staff do their jobs well, we should barely even notice them.

Yet right now in America we think that this janitor is in charge of everything, and that’s how we ended up with this Obama mess. Everyone went on about how inspiring Obama was — like that matters — and how he was going to solve all our problems — like that was his job. But no one asked the essential question: Can he clean and stay out of our way? Thus we come back four years later and find that the office building we asked him to clean has been burned down, and when we ask him what happened, he gets mad at us and says, “It’s not my fault; it was messy when I started. But don’t worry, I have great plans to really get the company growing these next four years. First off, I went ahead and significantly increased the janitorial budget.”

In reality, that guy would not only be fired, he’d be sued. And, with a name like Barack Obama, probably deported. But because it isn’t reality — it’s government — we’re somehow considering keeping him. Of course, would Mitt Romney understand his job as president any better? He has his plan to fix America, and if 90% of the plan isn’t “stay out of everyone’s way,” he’s overthinking it.

That’s why the State of the Union address is a great idea: It’s a yearly update from the president on what he’s doing. And the standard should be that if he’s doing a good job, that’s the only time of the year we see him. If the president is constantly on TV, then obviously he’s being a huge screw-up who needs too much supervision. Can him.

And we need to get out of the president’s head the silly notion that he’s our leader. If America wanted a leader, we would have a special set of feats a person would have to accomplish  in order to become that leader, like create a business, win a nacho-eating contest, and punch out a grizzly bear — things that display Americanness. What we would not do is elect a leader through our usual democratic system, which does nothing but produce mediocre bureaucrats. Really, why would anyone think we should be inspired by those people? That’s like being motivated by a slime mold.

But America doesn’t need a leader, because we’re a bunch of free people in charge of our own lives who can handle our own problems, as long as we have a president who knows enough to keep the government out of our way. We can create our own businesses and make our own jobs. We can drill for oil and lower gas prices. We can head to the Walgreens at any major intersection and buy our own birth control.

And if we really want to be inspired, we can buy a set of Tony Robbins tapes.

Frank J. Fleming is the author of Punch Your Inner Hippie, coming November 11th, and the science fiction novel Superego, coming later this year, writes columns for PJ Media and the New York Post, and blogs at IMAO.us, and also wants little Barry to wear a hat so he doesn't catch a cold.
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