The Presidency: The Bearable Burden


James Buchanan called the presidency "a crown of thorns," and Herbert Hoover pronounced it "a hair shirt." Lyndon Johnson spoke in sepulchral tones of "the awesome burden." There is an article of faith, enshrined in the national mythology, that the leader of the most powerful country on earth must hold the world's most onerous and agonizing job. Knowing how hard the President is working not only reassures Americans, it inspires some in a small way to carry on their own more or less demanding tasks.

Consider, then, this recent observation by Richard Nixon, a man not generally noted for his...

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