Why Would Anyone Want to Be President?

Last Updated May 17, 2011 12:12 PM EDT

Why Would Anyone Want to Be PresidentI just want to know one thing. Why would anybody in his right mind want to be president of the United States? It's a thankless job that turns you into a prisoner. A walking sound bite. And not just for four or eight years. For as long as you live.

I know what you're going to say, that being president is the same thing as being CEO in a different field. That it's just a natural progression for politicians, the final rung on the ladder.

Well, I was a senior executive for years, even got to be CEO of a high-tech startup for a little while. Let me tell you, that's way, way different from being the leader of the free world.

I mean, I can see getting into politics. I've even thought about it. But president? The most "powerful" person on earth? Nope, not for me. Not for all the money in China.

It's not like being a celebrity, either. Entertainers and athletes just put one foot in front of the other and, if they're really, really good at what they do, they become famous. It's unexpected, unplanned. It sort of just happens over time. You don't ask for it; you just try to be the best at your trade.

Politics is different. Politicians actually campaign to be president and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with being good at anything, except maybe convincingly telling folks what they want to hear. Oh yeah, also shaking hands and signing your name.

Actually, I don't get why anyone would want to be president. Here's why.

10 Reasons Why It Sucks to Be President

  1. You have no freedom. The most powerful person in the world. Please. How can you be powerful when you have no freedom. Imagine having secret service agents following you around for the rest of your life. You can't even go to the bathroom without six people checking to make sure everything's okay.
  2. The pressure is enormous. Just think about all the whining you do about your job. Oh the stress. All the pressure. I've got to get on a plane and negotiate a contract. Um ... that's like a three year-old having to decide what color crayon to use for the clown's hat in a coloring book compared to being president.
  3. Everyone in the country gets to approve or disapprove of you. Don't like being micromanaged? Everybody and his brother has an opinion of what you should be doing. Talk about job scrutiny. Sheesh. You've got to have such thick skin I don't know how you can ever be genuine again after all that. I mean, walls work both ways, right?
  4. Everything you say and do is forever dissected, analyzed, and scrutinized. Can you even imagine not being able to make a mistake, screw up, or even have a single secret? You sneak a cigarette, it's front page news.
  5. You spend the rest of your life acting like a human sound bite. Ever been a company spokesperson? I have. It's a real pain having to be on message, on point, controlled, and consistent all the time. Your life becomes one big giant elevator speech. Like your brain is stuck inside an MRI machine. Ahhh!!!
  6. Everybody scrutinizes how you dress. When Bill O'Reilly asked about the downside of the job, President Obama said, "I've got a jacket on on Super Bowl Sunday." My thought exactly. What a drag to have to think about how you dress all the time. The way I went to the store the other day, you would have thought I was homeless. Everything was torn.
  7. Everybody's got his hand out. Everybody wants something. They want their bill sponsored, their uncle pardoned, or their enemy tagged with a smart bomb. Nobody really likes you for you, but for what you can do for him. And God forbid you actually need something. Everyone would laugh at you. A president with his hand out. What a disgrace.
  8. Why be president when you can be vice president. Seriously. No stress, no pressure, piece of cake job. Just stay on message, out of the way, and try not to say or do anything really stupid. Same glory, same everything, except none of the responsibility and you're still set for life.
  9. It's lonely at the top. Everybody behaves strangely around you. They don't act like themselves. They're all stiff and laugh at inappropriate times. They treat you as if you're some sort of alien, like E.T. or Mr. Spock or something.
  10. You don't get to be just a person anymore. Honestly, I can't imagine anything more constraining than not being able to just be a nobody - to walk down the street and enjoy the sun on my face without having a worry or care in the world - anymore. Can you even imagine what that would be like?
Sure, there's something to feeling like you've got a calling. I just don't know what kind of person thinks their calling is to be the the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. I don't know about you, but I don't think the last few have been all that impressive. So, was it their calling, or are they just power hungry or delusional?

Also check out:

Follow Steve Tobak on Twitter or Facebook
Image: Daniel Morrison via Flickr