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Yearning for Quiet Competence?

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On Presidents’ 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.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Jim Bird  •  Feb 22, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Dear John McCain,
    Please read Michael's column. Could you perhaps be quiet, like uhh for the rest of your term? Do you not understand that calling Trump a dictator and calling for an indepth investigation into Trump's part in rigging the election with the Russians against Hillary is so incredibly infantile that a fourth grader could figure out in less than a minute. Seriously what are you even talking about; what exactly is your point? Why even engage the lunatic fringe let alone side with the democrats! Shhhhhhhhhhhhh__!?

    • Phil Broms  •  Feb 24, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Mr. Medved, I watched then candidate Trump say on TV that yes, Sen McCain was a hero, and he also was a loser, referring to his run for the Presidency, and that Trump liked winners. Trump won the Presidency and is gathering together an excellent Cabinet of Conservatives to help our country achieve the higher level of "Good Character," unity and equilibrium provided and encouraged in our Founding Documents. While I voted for McCain – he was the GOP candidate – he now is letting us down by lending his voice to the opposition of Democrat/Leftists, unions, much of the non-reporting-opinion-thrusting mass media, frightening element of academia, big opposition money and errant Republicans. Thank God that Trump is more pragmatic than conservative – he played at the highest level of real estate development, becoming MVP. As a foot note I am extremely pleased, make that ecstatic, as I've observed the evolution of Michael Medved and Dennis Prager, two of my favorite opinion molders, from anti to openly Trump supporters, even though somewhat grudgingly and with caveats.
      Sincerely, Phil Broms, Honolulu 96821.

  2. Kpar  •  Feb 24, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Donald Trump was not my first choice (more like 15th or 16th), but I was/am an avowed #NeverHillary voter, and I knew I would support the GOP nominee against the corruption that would inevitably follow in the wake of a Hillary win.

    That, and the selection of a SCOTUS nominee that would guarantee the end of the Republic (the US Constitution becoming a "living breathing document" that no longer meant what it clearly says!) was all I needed to make my decision.

    Do I like Trump's style? In a word, no. I do not like the way he speaks, and I am troubled that he is not a Conservative, but so far, he has impressed me with the actions he has taken, as well as the choices he has made. I am hopeful.

    • John Train  •  Feb 24, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      I agree. I wish that Michael Medved would realize that we are in a "bar fight". Anything that weakens Donald Trump strengthens those who want to return to the unlimited excesses of the Obama administration. I do not know Trump but I know a lot of his generous efforts, like flying my troops home free of charge after our operations in Iraq.

      • Norm Helgeson  •  Feb 25, 2017 at 10:57 am

        You are right. This is a 'street fight' and it was time that the republicans realized this with the nomination of Trump. Although I wish it weren't so, we were never going to win with the 'gentlemanly tactics' of Mc Cain and what's his name – . McCain, and others, need to come to the party and recognize the reality of this. Trump has (is) going after the jugular and has FINNALLY given us a chance of winning and succeeding – given a new perspective and life to the party. 'Stodgy republicanism' is old, ineffective, and has no chance of winning and leading this country.

      • Billy  •  Feb 28, 2017 at 8:21 pm

        we are NOT in a bar fight we are in the middle of WORLD WAR 3

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