Was George Washington a great president? Let’s see—he was a slaveholder, lost more battles than he fought, bought a lot of land via his access as President of the United States. Was Abraham Lincoln a great President? He suspended the writ of habeas corpus, stifled protest and dissent to the point that riots against the draft occurred in New York City, and all this after he was alleged to have snuck into Washington, D.C., prior to his inaugural, so as not to be seen.
What qualities make a President great? Today, to even be viable as a candidate for the office, one must raise hundreds of millions of dollars to wage a mega-ad blitz.
Do we want to entrust the power of presently held by occupants of the White House to an individual with the personality traits necessary to acquire that office? The person would need to be extremely ego-centric (to the max), amenable to just about every view (in order to raise funds), willing to sell his/her soul (in order to raise funds), and willing to ditch any sort of private life in order to hold an office in which s/he will age dramatically in four(4) years while being watched by all the media. Brittany Spears did not have te media attention trained on the Prez, and look how she flipped out. (All right, maybe Brittany is not a good example.)
On Saturday’s Show we will rank the Presidents, from Washinton to Bush II. (President Obama is still in office.)
We shall discuss the qualities that make a president great, the temporal contexts in which greatness or non-greatness may be fostered, and, finally, what the picks are of our panel and how we rank the occupants of the Oval Office.
Civil Discourse Now takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Big Hat Books. We go on-line later in the day. If you want to listen to what we try to make interesting discussion, come on by.