What do we do with people who scored 1600 on Pennsylvania Avenue?
Another quick note. As I’ve mentioned (either here on on Twitter), the combination of (mostly) teaching online and some other paid writing opportunities took time away from this delightfully unpaid newsletter.
We’ll be back soon with new content. In the meantime, Cato Unbound invited me and some top presidential scholars to write about the problem of ex-presidents:
The modern post-presidency, then, constitutes a role almost entirely opposite that of what the Framers envisioned when they drafted the Constitution. Not only has the culture of honor disappeared, but personal enrichment is now a taken-for-granted outcome for a former president. It’s worth considering what incentives such developments have provided contemporary presidents.
As one looks at the donor walls of a presidential library, featuring the names of prominent corporations, wealthy individuals, and foreign governments, one cannot help but think of Hamilton’s warnings about what an avaricious man might do as president. It also brings to mind the inadequacy of the standard political-science assumption that politicians are “single-minded seekers of re-election.” As an analytic shorthand, that assumption does useful theoretical work. It enables theories in which ambition for office would lead candidates to curb their excesses, adopt policies that appeal to wide audiences, and subject politicians to the stern discipline of public attention, lest they be caught out by an ambitious rival pursuing the same goal.
Read the whole thing! And watch the classic Saturday Night Live “X-Presidents” sketch!