Here is a nice article on the "greatest president of the past 100 years." He shows the value of restraint. Just what we need today.

Scott Brooks writes:

When ranking the greatest American presidents, I believe one has to use separate categories.

One for the Founders who became president and one for everyone else.

Coolidge, in my opinion is at the top of the "everyone else" list.

Now as to the bottom of that list…the worst presidents ever (in descending order):

7. (a tie) Bush 1, Bush 2,

6. Clinton

5. Carter 

4. (a tie) Nixon, TR, Wilson, Hoover

3. LBJ

2. FDR

1. Lincoln

Stefan has laid out a well thought out argument as to why I am wrong on Lincoln, but I still stand by my assessment. And BTW, I believe Lincoln ranks at the bottom because of acts of "omission" and not acts of "commission". The rest are there because of acts of "commission"

And as a future prediction: If Obama keeps going the way he's going…well, let's just say he is fighting for the top spot (at least #2).

Stefan Jovanovich replies:

The only reason it is safe for me to argue with Scott (who is decades younger, in much better shape and a much, much better shot) is that his fierce opinions are always tempered by his piety (yet another argument in favor of that bizarre practice known as faith). So, here goes:

I think ranking Lincoln is like assessing the performance of a captain of a ship in a typhoon when someone else decided how much ballast the vessel should take before it left port. Susan and I are doing the ancestry hunt for the Lipscombs, Austins, Gayles, Turners and Gaudelocks from whom she is descended by searching the graveyards of South Carolina and Virginia. Among the sites we have seen on the way have been Appomattox, Blacksburg Junction (the logistical Gordian knot that Grant, with his usual genius, cut within a month of taking effective command of the Union Armies in the East) and Limestone College (largely funded by Jefferson Davis' daughter). The Civil War (War Between the States, whatever) was the greatest single disaster in American history; it dwarfs everything else, and we still live with the legacies of its idiocies and nobly mistaken loyalties. Whatever anyone says about it is going to fall far short of telling the truth.


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