Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Greatest Presidents

As I've probably mentioned more than a few times, I'm reading the outstanding biography of our 16th President, Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, by Richard Carwardine. Fast-paced and easy reading, I'd recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in American history.

Lincoln was an amazing leader, and I'm more than a little ashamed to admit that there wasn't much I knew about him (chalk it up to a public school education, if you must have a reason, Dear Reader). He has grown considerably in my mind, to say the least.

So, I've been thinking, if I had to rate the five greatest Presidents, what would that list look like? Highly unscientific, here's mine, and please share yours as well.

1. George Washington
2. Abraham Lincoln
3. Ronald Reagan
4. Harry Truman
5. George W. Bush

The first two are really no-brainers, but I'll elaborate if you insist. Reagan won the Cold War, revisionist nonsense aside. He's the greatest modern President, hands-down. Truman I respect a lot for his courage to use the Bomb. A lot of people tried to convince him otherwise, and taking Japan conventionally might have cost a million more lives. War is a brutal thing, and not for the faint of heart. Which brings us to Bushie, as my dry cleaner calls him (as in: "Oh, Bushie, he try so hard. I don't like that other guy with the mean face." Of course, she was speaking of Jean-Francois Kerry). He was the right guy at the right time. As much as he drives me nuts with this "compassionate conservatism" idiocy, he's done a fine job prosecuting the war on Fascism.

On 9/12/01, if you asked people how likely they thought it was we'd have another terrorist attack, and would it be worse than 9/11, I think you'd have had affirmative responses probably 7 or 8 times out of ten.

P.S. I left out FDR because although he led this Republic through one of the most challenging periods in history, his failure to recognize the threat of Soviet ambition (and spies like Alger Hiss in his employ) exposed this same Republic to the threat of nuclear destruction for the better part of forty years.

3 comments:

Ol' Shep said...

Here's my list:

1. Abraham Lincoln
2. George Washington
3. Ronald Reagan
4. Abraham Lincoln
5. Abraham Lincoln

Truman was soft on commies, contrary to what some might believe. When the Republicans swept the House in '46 (or was it '48?) they did so on a "Get tough with the Commies" ticket. Truman is given credit for being tough with them much in the same way that Clinton is given credit for welfare reform.

Ever heard of the Venona Project?

The Monarchist said...

Ol' Shep,

You seem to be a smart fella, as evidenced by picks 1, 4 & 5, LOL, but I was trying to use them all just once. Do I know Venona? Yeah, I'm usually the one telling everybody I know to look it up. Truman was a coin toss, but that he had the nerve to drop 2 big boys on Imperial Japan goes a long way in my book.

Ever read Witness by Whittaker Chambers? It's one of my favorites.

Thanks for stopping by... you know, it's funny how much your "voice" sounds just like someone I know...

-AH

Ol' Shep said...

I remind you of someone you know?

**looks around nervously, adjusts Groucho glasses, fidgets**

Haven't read Witness, but it's on my to-get list.