tonight, I saw John McCain on TV, declaring that he is running for “the
office of commander in chief”. There is no such office. Serving as
commander in chief is just one of the president’s constitutional
duties. McCain’s declaration makes as much sense as saying he’s
running for “the office of bill vetoer”.
This may sound nitpicky, but it’s an important point. We don’t live
in a military state. Under our Constitution, the president is
commander in chief of the army and navy, not of the whole nation.
Civilians are not obligated to follow the president’s every command.
Presidents do a lot more than act as commander in chief (or should, at
least, if they’re doing their job).
McCain may fall back on the misconceived notion that he is running
for the nonexistent office of commander in chief because he doesn’t
know what else he wants to do as president. As I previously noted, when Chris Matthews asked McCain what his presidency would be like, he was at a loss for words.
McCain’s mindset may be suited to a military state, a nation at
permanent war, but it is out badly of step with our constitutional