Thursday, February 24, 2011
A recent poll by Gallup put Ronald Reagan at the top of the heap of greatest American presidents. Here's the top 10:
Ronald Reagan -- 19%
Abraham Lincoln -- 14%
Bill Clinton -- 13%
John F. Kennedy -- 11%
George Washington -- 10%
Franklin Roosevelt -- 8%
Barack Obama -- 5%
Theodore Roosevelt -- 3%
Harry Truman -- 3%
George W. Bush -- 2%
As shameless Reagan acolytes, even we were more than a little embarrassed by the fact that our boy bested both Washington and Lincoln.
Sarah Palin took some very undeserved grief for naming Washington as the greatest/most important President as she was entirely correct. "Pedestrian" was the general charge levied at her if we remember correctly. Because, you know, we all get enough Washington in grade school, right? As if an emphasis on the foundations of this nation and the men responsible for it in the 5th grade is evidence of a lack of intellectual rigor. As if cherry trees and crossing the Delaware are but part of an American mythology... if kids these days are even learning about cherry trees and crossing the Delaware.
Without Washington, the President and
the general, none of this happens. None of it. With respect to who is your own greatest president, you are entitled to think otherwise but you would be wrong*.
Recall perhaps the most important thing Washington ever did for this country and indeed for the advancement of democracy was what he did not do: he did not seek a third term, stepping down after his second thus ensuring that Western civilization's grand experiment would not start off with a third world-like President-for-life.
* Needlessly confrontational but confrontational just the same.