Yearning for competence?
On President’s Day, C-SPAN released a new poll of leading historians ranking America’s chief executives, from the greatest, to the greatest disappointments.
The top four on the list should come as no surprise — Lincoln, Washington, FDR and Theodore Roosevelt have been classified among the greats ever since such polls began in 1948.
The biggest surprise this year came from the fifth-place finisher, Dwight Eisenhower, who’s made a steady, relentless rise in scholarly esteem. In 1962, the year after Ike left office, the historians placed him at Number 22, for a “below average” classification but 55 years later he’s number five, among the greats.
Perhaps our own turbulent, polarizing era makes Ike’s unifying, non-partisan leadership look better by comparison, while the tumult and shouting of today’s political world creates a yearning for Eisenhower’s quiet competence.
American voters always liked Ike; now it’s obvious that history does, too, and our current leaders might learn from his example.