Thursday, February 24, 2011

And the winner is....

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.


drozz said...

more interested in the dynamics of the group polled.

i think lincoln is the only one arguably in the correct position.

Dean said...

If Reagan was #1 and Clinton was #3, I would say the dynamics were "highly diverse".

Road Dawg said...

I dislike the shameless plug in these polls for Lincoln. Setting abolition aside, he destroyed state's rights. Saying this is akin to bashing Santa.

The civil war was not about freeing slaves, but about the right to succession clearly expressed by Jefferson and Madison.

"States rights have been viciously attacked by our federal government for about 150 years now, and ideologically they have been attacked since the inception of our nation. The terrible tendencies of government that the Founding Fathers were concerned about since the beginning have been played out in the very way that they, (jefferson/ Madison) foresaw and which they tried to mitigate against with our Constitution have been playing out the entire time.

Thoughtful commenter, "Steve" had me review my conservative thoughts on Reagan, much of which were not as conservative as I expected, but more romantic history." Thomas DiLorenzo on the classical liberal state's rights tradition.

Admiration is no substitute for the truth.

Kentucky Resolve of 1798, you think the Patriot act is scary, thank God this didn't pass. Let's take a second look at John Adams administration.

K T Cat said...

Washington wins it going away for me.

SarahB said...

couldn't agree more.

Harrison said...

I think when they took this poll in the 60s Eisenhower and Truman were towards the top. Answer is few people know their history.