It isn't possible to run for the presidency anymore without an earnest interest in the job. Wishing - as I have - for a candidate like George Washington, who had to be clubbed over the head and drug into the office, is silly. Washington was an extraordinary man in an extraordinary time. The nature of politics and our elective system is far different today than it was in the post-revolutionary period.
I understand that it takes someone with a healthy ambition, a resilient ego and a passion for leadership to have any chance at becoming president. But surely we can try to balance that with someone who is also humble and hesitant about undertaking such a monumental task, can't we?
What I'm saying is this: there's something we should distrust about the person who has been craving the White House their whole life. And, ironically, the closer lawmakers get to that position (the more popular they become, the more nationally known their persona is), the more that hesitancy should grow as they come to fully comprehend the weight of the responsibilities placed upon the president. Those who demonstrate an insatiable thirst for the office are prime candidates for the very kind of power-hungry megalomaniacs we should keep far away from 1600 Pennsylvania.
That's why I'm increasingly impressed with Mike Pence. He had the opportunity to make a reasonable play for the White House and he demurred. It's why I'm increasingly impressed with Jim DeMint. Once Pence bowed out, most staunch conservatives started looking to DeMint as their top choice.
has been encouraging to me:
DeMint says President Obama is "clearly beatable." But the GOP nominee, he argues, will need to be formidable, since the president may be able to bounce off of a rebounding economy. Numerous potential candidates, he says, "are watching to see where Obama's popularity will be. A lot is going to depend on whether people believe that he has anything to do with the economy coming back. And it will come back; you can't keep the American economy down."
NRO [National Review Online] wonders: In coming months, if [Jeb] Bush and other conservative favorites decide to sit out 2012, will DeMint feel compelled to jump in? "I really am trying to avoid that," he tells us. "I'm looking for good candidates out there in the field."
"I would have to feel a strong pull from people all over the country," DeMint says. "Again, it's not something that, right now, appears to be in my future."
But could a grassroots ?Draft DeMint' movement stir him to run? "I don't want to suggest that I'm waiting for any kind of draft," he says. "It's really not what I want to do. I really don't have any intention of running. . . . I'm not ruling anything out, but it's not something I want to do."
In some ways this is what all politicians looking to run for president feel compelled to say. But it you pay attention, you get the feeling that DeMint isn't just saying this. He means it. And that makes him even more attractive of a candidate.