Presidents, not kings

As we celebrate Presidents’ Day, remember why we have this holiday. America no longer wanted to give workers separate days off for the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

The Manchester Union Leader wrote an excellent article about George Washington today.

While many people like to spend time rating presidents, I find it to be a pointless activity.

Nevertheless, today is a day to relax and ponder things, as serious politics returns tomorrow.

George Washington was universally respected in his time, and still is today. Yet that is not the norm. Opinions change over time, as people get nostalgic while forgetting why they held their original opinions.

Abraham Lincoln was once considered a loser, and a physically ugly individual with his gangly frame and beard. He was married to a shrew who used to hurl vases at him, leaving a mark on his forehead.

Harry Truman was considered a bumbler and incompetent. He is now praised as an honest man.

Dwight Eisenhower was initially seen as lazy. In the 1950s “nothing really happened,” and that people liked Ike because he “didn’t do any harm.” Yet now historians are reviving Ike, admitting that he actually “did things.”

I still maintain that John F. Kennedy might be our most overrated president. He is treated like a god in this country, which is silly. He made great speeches, but so what? Style is not substance. Even Republicans romanticize Kennedy for his supply side tax cuts.

The left worships him for civil rights, but he had nothing to do with advancing them. That was Lyndon Johnson. Kennedy caved on civil rights so he could make foreign policy advances, with successes like the Cuban Missile Crisis and failures like the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy is worshiped for dying young, and is treated like a celebrity in the mold of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain. Had he lived he could have done good things, but that is not the same as actually doing them. He is rewarded for inspiring people, but he was not in office long enough to have an actual record of accomplishment.

Barack Obama is very similar to JFK in the sense that he is rewarded for what people want him to be rather than anything he has actually done. Obama is beloved compared to George W. Bush in the same way JFK was young, hip, and sexy after the boring father-figure that was Eisenhower.”

LBJ might be one of the most underrated presidents. He is considered toxic because of Vietnam, but he did advance civil rights.His domestic agenda was a failure, but at least he took bold steps his predecessor never did. JFK spoke boldly, but treaded lightly with congress. LBJ had no such fears.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a constitutional dictator. His policies did not get us out of the great depression. World War II did. He was a good speaker who gave people confidence. The Democrats have a long tradition of good speakers. Unemployment did not come down under FDR.

Ronald Reagan is romanticized, but every accolade and praise is deserving. Freeing millions from captivity should earn one a Nobel peace prize, but those are not given to conservatives. Liberals love to say that he does not deserve so much credit, but Eastern Europeans know it was Reagan who delivered. In the same way Abraham Lincoln gave the Emancipation Proclamation and freed the slaves, Reagan won the Cold War without a shot being fired.

It is way to soon to evaluate George W. Bush, although the left would love to close the door and claim the matter closed as they do with every issue where the data might disagree with them. From global warming to presidential grading, they cannot be taken seriously. If Iraq and Afghanistan succeed, Dubya will be vindicated.

As for Barack Obama, he was being given hero worship status not for doing anything, but for saying things. This is like a draft pick being put in the Hall of Fame before they play a single game. He seems to lack substance, but let the man complete his time in office before declaring him a success or failure.

Calvin Coolidge and Bill Clinton are seen by many as irrelevant, in the same way Eisenhower was. Coolidge left the stage, unconcerned with his standing. Clinton spends every day obsessing over his standing, angry that the voters do not see his greatness. Luckily nobody is listening, which advances the irrelevant argument.

Jimmy Carter is widely regarded as a universal failure, although hyper-partisans continue to insist that everything he suffered was due to his predecessor. This is similar to what is happening today.

The problem with politics today is that politicians crave power at all costs. What made George Washington so great was that he refused enhanced powers.

He understood that America would be better with presidents, not kings.

As long as America survives, it will be because of his foresight. He was the Father of our country, a man who put the nation above his own ambitions.

We could sure use him or an Honest Abe today.


3 Responses to “Presidents, not kings”

  1. 1. The Great Depression ended in early 1938. And even if WWII accounts for most of the recovery, all that proves if that FDR didn’t so enough beforehand. After all, WWII was massive government spending to create jobs, proving that FDR and John Maynard Keynes were right.

    2. Ronald Reagan never freed anyone.

    3. No one blames Jimmy Carter’s predecessors for his failed presidency. most recognize that his downfall was his inability to control the Circus of Interests that is a Democratic majority on the Hill. Obama is suffering the same problem now.


  2. Micky 2 says:

    The fed bought the maerials/productsfrom the private sector. They cranked up the production lines, privateindustry ended the depression, not no stinkeeng deals.

    You cant both blame Reagan for his military spending deficit andat thesame time say it had no effect.
    He freed millions.

    #3 just proves once again how this president is ignorant to history and as naive as Carter was

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