Cult of the Presidency – Part II

Why is this noteworthy? Yon Goicoechea, leader of the pro-democracy student movement in Venezuela, was named the winner of the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty. First answer: Because Americans are weakening their own liberties through the Cult of the Presidency. That happens to be the title of a recent book by Gene Healy, subtitled: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power.

The Cato Institute, organizer of the Friedman Prize, notes, Goicoechea is the “leader of the pro-democracy student movement in Venezuela that successfully prevented President Hugo Chávez’s regime from seizing broad dictatorial powers in December 2007.” In sum, Goicoechea and others stood up to the cult of Chávez.

Healy’s book, coincidently, was published by the Cato, whose website summary states The Cult of the Presidency “[e]xamines how Americans have expanded presidential power over recent decades by expecting solutions for all national problems, [and concludes] by calling for the president’s role to return to its properly defined constitutional limits.” In other words, we need more Goicoecheas of our own.

Why is this noteworthy, answer number two. As the Oregon primary draws near, those interested in substantive matters have two chances to hear Healy speak about The Cult of the Presidency. Your first opportunity: Tues., April 29, 6:00-8:00pm at Kell’s Irish Pub, downtown Portland (event host: America’s Future Foundation; RSVP to [email protected]). And, the next day, Cascade Policy Institute hosts a luncheon for Healy, also in Portland.