May 25, 2007


First, Get the Knowledge (DIANE RAVITCH, May 25, 2007, NY Sun)

Who was the greatest American president? According to the latest Gallup poll, 18% of Americans picked Abraham Lincoln. Second place goes to Ronald Reagan, 16%, followed by John F. Kennedy, 14%, Bill Clinton, 13%, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, 9%.

George Washington should obviously be in that front rank, having made a presidency possible and established its moderate tone. And JFK was a complete failure as president.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 25, 2007 9:36 AM

as were Clinton and FDR.

Posted by: erp at May 25, 2007 4:58 PM

Clinton is a bade man, but was a reasonably good president and, given the transition to the Third Wayt that began on his watch, a historically significant one. FDR is likewise important for accelerating Hoover's Second Way, though disastrously.

Posted by: oj at May 25, 2007 6:03 PM

JFK has the benefit of having been assassinated within living memory--and in the very early stages of his presidency. That's the reason he's so popular.

Posted by: ray at May 25, 2007 10:03 PM

Washington should top the list, Lincoln for preserving the legacy of Wasington, Reagan for his policies and plain-speaking which ended the 200 year debate regarding the original 'second way' and revealing it as a tyranical, rationalist fraud.

The assumptions held here are:
1- The American idea is a good one and worth preserving.
2- Rationalism as the sole basis around which society should be organized is defective
3- The original third way was a compromise between the ideas of ordered liberty based on republican virtue, minimal government, de-centralization and the top-down statist totalitarianism based on the utopian ideas of abstract equality mixed with the tenets of 'rationalism' exemplified best through the left-right divide created by the contrast between American and French 'revolutions' and their progeny.

Posted by: hugh at May 26, 2007 10:35 AM