Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ranking the Chief

CSPAN recently ran a presidential ranking poll, in which Lincoln again ranked number 1 and GWB came in at 36. One of my top 5, the much maligned Warren G. Harding was, once again, listed in the bottom 5. Historians have no love for Harding because he was considered a "do-nothing" much like my man, Cal Coolidge. Notwithstanding the "cult-of-the-presidency" trend that dominates academia, historian David Beito is an exceptional defender of President Harding:

[A] president who successfully promoted economic prosperity, cut taxes, balanced the budget, reduced the national debt, released all of his predecessor's political prisoners, supported anti-lynching legislation, and instituted the most substantial naval arms reduction agreement in world history. Go figure.

Here is Gene Healy's excellent piece on the cult-of-the-presidency.