Today it’s worthwhile to reflect on what might have been, while we appreciate America’s good fortune.
As the founders debated the presidency during the sweaty summer of 1787, a few interesting ideas were bandied about. One attendee suggested a a novel approach: a two-person presidential team. It would have been interesting, but it would have been a circus with two ring masters. Another participant wanted each President to serve for life (an unusually bad idea if ever there was one), other members favored a two-year presidential term. America is lucky these notions weren’t popular.
Last but not least, some of the men assembled in Philadelphia wanted the President to be elected by congress. Eventually this idea was cast aside; the founders were afraid the president would offer no resistance to poor congressional decisions. But what if the convention had embraced the aforementioned model? Who would currently be President? It certainly wouldn’t be President Obama, the House of Representatives would not have supported him. Similarly, the Senate wouldn’t give their blessing to a conservative Republican. In short, congressional gridlock and corruption would reach epic proportions.
Taken as a whole, we should be thankful for the Presidents we have had thus far. Admittedly many presidents have been vaguely inept, others have been corrupt, and a few have been both. Yet in the long run the electorate’s batting average has been high enough to bring freedom and relative prosperity to most Americans. And for this we should all be thankful, other countries aren’t so lucky.