After all, what sane person would want a job that destroys your privacy, makes it impossible for you to go out on the street, subjects your family to intrusive media scrutiny, forces you to watch everything you say, and drives some people to want to take a shot at you? Apparently someone who feels that the power that comes with the office is worth the attendant indignities.
“Great men are almost always bad men,” Lord Acton famously said. “There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” Indeed, good men rarely run for president. And when they do, they rarely win. An honest man stands no chance .. who conspicuously lacked the pathological need for attention that characterizes most officeholders.
More to the point, is it moral to seek power over other human beings in the first place? It might seem moral to Thrasymachus in Plato’s “Republic,” who proclaimed that, “justice is the advantage of the stronger,” but no sane parent would teach that to their child. Yet it is precisely the morality that one must follow to become president.
We like to think that a presidential candidate we support will turn out to be a modern-day Cincinnatus — a person who dutifully serves the republic and then retires to private life. Instead, we are more likely to get a new Thrasymachus, who will presume to control, order, hector, nettle, cajole, and harass the very people he just spent a year or more sucking up to — while they pay him for the privilege.
No matter the party, the tendency is for presidents to always fight for more control for the office they hold — over education, health care, safety regulation, the economy, and many more areas of life. The power grabs of one administration are rarely relinquished by its successors. If anything, they grab for more.