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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Under the Cold Eye of History - by Robert P. Watson

Ever since 1948, when historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. first polled leading scholars and asked them to rank our presidents, updated polls have been released every few years. As a participant in the current poll, I spent several weeks thinking long and hard about the best and worst of our country's presidents -- and about President Bush's eventual place in history.
As aides and supporters worry whether Bush's presidency can be "salvaged," I respectfully suggest the future of the country, rather than the president's legacy, is the topic more worth pondering. The forthcoming poll will be the first to include a preliminary ranking of this President Bush. So, here is my prediction:
There is much agreement by scholars as to the greatest presidents; they are Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt, with Harry Truman, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson not far behind. These great leaders provide a standard by which all presidents are measured -- and clues as to how Bush measures up. From the great presidents we know that the country is well-served by leaders who exhibit the following traits:


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