Never mind the fuzzy "Presidents Day" -- the real celebration should be Wednesday, the anniversary of George Washington's birth, as David Boaz reminds us in a very nice essay over at Cato. Washington is my favorite president by a long chalk. Here is a man who had the noble restraint to step down from power not once, but twice: first after winning the Revolution, and then after two terms as president. On both occasions, he had a loyal army at his command.
But my favorite quotation from Boaz is the following, which reflects more on the decline of restraint since Washington's day:
What values did Washington’s character express? He was a farmer, a businessman, an enthusiast for commerce. As a man of the Enlightenment, he was deeply interested in scientific farming. His letters on running Mount Vernon are longer than letters on running the government. (Of course, in 1795 more people worked at Mount Vernon than in the entire executive branch of the federal government.) (Emphasis added).