John Dickerson

John Dickerson is a CBS senior national correspondent and Chief Political Analyst. He is also a Contributing Writer to The Atlantic and is co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

The Presidency is Hard

Paperback CoverI’ve been keeping a running Twitter thread related to The Hardest Job in the World. For the last year or so, when I came across an item in the news that touched on the book I linked the item to a passage. Sometimes I suggested an entire chapter. When I wrote The Atlantic piece upon which the book is based, a lot of Democrats who posted in the comments were angry. They thought the argument was meant to let Donald Trump off the hook. Now, people who don’t like Joe Biden think the argument is meant to let him off the hook.

It’s a hard job. If we understood that better we might have different expectations about what presidents can and can’t do. We might treat our presidential campaigns differently. We might stop looking to presidents to solve problems they can’t.


UPDATE: The New York Times Monday has a piece with the headline “Biden Has ‘Only Bad Options’ for Bringing Down Oil Prices.” That reminded me of the basic lesson of the presidency. “Thomas Jefferson explained this to his secretary of the treasury: “What is good in this case cannot be effected. We have, therefore, only to find out what will be least bad.” p. 256

1 thought on “The Presidency is Hard”

  1. Michael Christopher Taglieri

    Prrsidents should also stop promising to do things they know they can’t do. After the Uvalde shooting, someone shouted to Biden to “do something,” and he responded “I will.” What he should have responded to be honest would be, “I’ll do something if you give me 60 Democratic Senators. Until then, nothing can be done.”

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