A reader writes:
"Presider", so far as I know, has become wholly church language. Anciently (as in very early church anciently) the Church used the word "President" to connote "the one who presides at the Eucharist". Relying upon new scholarship that revealed that information, the draft committee of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church USA came close to floating an early draft of that Prayer Book that included "President" instead of "Celebrant". That was in 1972.
Then Watergate happened. All references to "President" in the draft Prayer Book were removed and never saw the light of day. More recently, Episcopalians, other Anglicans, Lutherans, and perhaps some Roman Catholics now use "Presider" now precisely because the word connotes "the one who Presides" and not "President of the United States". Yes, Obama is doing something different, and I appreciate him, and I even appreciate your use of the word in the title of your article. But don't get used to it, friend. The Church isn't giving up her language that easily.
It seems to me that Obama is echoing Bush in one way: he's using the role of president to establish a constitutional philosophy. Of course, he's doing it in part to correct the Bush administration's disregard of our founding document. But Obama's first days in office, his executive orders... it's all promoting a nation-wide constitutional philosophy. It's like everything he does is based first on a legal interpretation (or pragmatic compromise), then explained to the people on an emotional level. This is the opposite of Clintonian.
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