President for a Day

I came across an interesting bit of trivia this week that I’m almost embarrassed to admit I had not heard before, but my guess is that residents of the western side of Missouri are more prone to have heard of Senator David Atchison than us easterners. Historians dispute the claim, but many believe that Atchison was Acting President of the United States for a 24-hour period in 1849 when Zachary Taylor refused to be sworn into office on a Sunday. At 41 years of age, this would have made him the youngest president in US history as well.

Whether or not you agree with those who so interpret the events of that day, it does lead one to think about the implications of being President for a day, and what might actually be done with that power if one found oneself in such a position. I could probably come up with quite a list myself. But as I think about it, there are far too many things broken in this country for me to believe that I could fix any of it in a single day. Even writing Executive Orders from sunup to sundown, I would barely scratch the surface, and probably couldn’t fix anything anyway, at least not permanently. In fact, my time would be better spent just hanging out in the Oval Office all day, kicking my feet up on the desk, and having the staff bring me beer.

Atchison himself admitted that he spent most of his day sleeping. A wise choice, Senator. A wise choice, indeed.

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