David Brooks has a very thoughtful and provocative piece in the New York Times today on various styles of executive management in politics. There are only two things you need to know about the column: (1) His case studies are Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, and Barack Obama and (2) you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t read it in its entirety.
It wasn’t Brooks’ primary line of argument that piqued my interest, however. Rather, it was this hypnotic passage, which reads like an afterthought in the context of his broader analysis:
In 1961, John F. Kennedy gave an Inaugural Address that did enormous damage to the country. It defined the modern president as an elevated, heroic leader who issues clarion calls in the manner of Henry V at Agincourt. Ever since that speech, presidents have felt compelled to live up to that grandiose image, and they have done enormous damage to themselves and the nation. That speech gave a generation an unrealistic, immature vision of the power of the presidency.
What say you, Ricochetoise? An accurate indictment of the imperial presidency or too much freight for one speech to carry?