After a military flyover during Bill Clinton’s inauguration, then-Hollywood liberal Ron Silver was reportedly outraged by the militaristic display. Until, that is, it hit him: “Hey, those planes are ours now,” the late actor allegedly quipped.
Whether that story is apocryphal, or not (I’ve been hearing about it since 1993 when Rush Limbaugh mentioned it on his TV show), the sentiment certainly rings true: Having won the presidency, concerns about the excesses of power quickly fade.
The Silver anecdote came back to me recently, not during the July 4 debate about military parades but rather with the release of a new report on how Republicans are suddenly open to the idea of expanding presidential power. According to the Pew Research Center’s study, “About half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (51%) now say it would be too risky to give presidents more power, down from 70% last year.”