The 'impossible position' of being president | KUOW News and Information

The 'impossible position' of being president

Feb 22, 2018

Here’s a test for you. Who was the first U.S. President to be born an American, i.e., after the Revolution? Hint: He is the same man who said “As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it.”

That would be President Martin Van Buren.

The U.S. Presidency is marked by pomp, circumstance and widespread reference to its occupant being “the most powerful man in the world.”

It’s also known to age a person prematurely. According to historian Jeremi Suri, it has always been a bit of an impossible position. Suri is the author of “The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office.” He says, now especially, it is an office in desperate need of informed revision.

Suri spoke with journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium on February 15. Town Hall Seattle presented this Inside/Out event as part of their Civics series. Jennie Cecil Moore recorded the conversation.

Listen to the full version below: