Monday, February 16, 2009

Lincoln Tops New Presidential Survey

Abraham Lincoln is ranked America's most important president in a new ranking by C-Span (via CNN and Memeorandum):


It's been 145 years since Abraham Lincoln appeared on a ballot, but admiration for the man who saved the union and sparked the end of slavery is as strong as ever, according to a new survey.

Lincoln finished first in a ranking by historians of the 42 former White House occupants. The survey was released over Presidents Day weekend.

The news wasn't quite as good for the latest addition to the nation's most exclusive fraternity: George W. Bush finished 36th in the survey, narrowly edging out the likes of historical also-rans Millard Fillmore, Warren Harding and Franklin Pierce.

James Buchanan - the man who watched helplessly as the nation lurched toward civil war in the 1850s - finished last.

"As much as is possible, we created a poll that was non-partisan, judicious and fair-minded," said Rice University professor Douglas Brinkley, who helped organize the survey of 65 historians for cable television network C-SPAN.

The survey - which asked participants to rank each president on 10 qualities of leadership ranging from public persuasion and economic management to international relations and moral authority - was the network's second since 2000.

The hero of Springfield, Illinois, finished first nine years ago as well.

"It's fitting that for the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln that he remains at the top of these presidential rankings," Brinkley said.

"Lincoln continues to rank at the top in all categories because he is perceived to embody the nation's avowed core values: integrity, moderation, persistence in the pursuit of honorable goals, respect for human rights, compassion," Howard University's Edna Medford added.
Lincoln embodied "the nation's avowed core values," as do neoconservatives. See, "Abe Lincoln - The First Neoconservative":

Lincoln clearly viewed the success or failure of the American Experiment not only in domestic terms, but as a benchmark, a turning point, in the struggle of all mankind. He wrote on December 1, 1862, in his Annual Message to Congress, the following:

In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free —honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.

President Lincoln echoed, in those words, the call to destiny in Thomas Jefferson’s “the last, best hope for mankind”. Let us not forget that all freedom loving people in the world depend upon America’s continued success here and abroad.

I love President Lincoln. My visit to the Lincoln Memorial in 2007 was one of the most important political experiences of my life. I look forward to making that pilgrimage again.

Here's wishing all of my readers a happy holiday evening.


Anonymous said...

I like these sort of things, but people should not be able to vote for administrations they personally witnessed. Carter is too high, Clinon is WAY to high (even if he was a good President, what did he really DO to be top 15 of all time? what was that big crowning achievement?). Actually, ranking Clinton and the recent Bush is pretty silly since it takes years to really determine a President's affect on the country/world.

But yeah, Lincoln is the best. He, and the Civil War, are big in my family. The best part about him was that he wasn't some intellectual genious, he wasn't arrogant, and he never thought particularly high of himself. He simply pondered/thought about what to do, agonized over whether or not it was the right thing to do, but stood his ground when he knew he was in the moral right i.e. slavery.

AmPowerBlog said...

"Actually, ranking Clinton and the recent Bush is pretty silly since it takes years to really determine a President's affect on the country/world."

Perfectly said, PrivatePigg, as are you comments about "Lincoln i sthe best..."

Thanks for visiting.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I think you know my feelings of distaste for short-term history. These historians who participate and actually vote on such recent administrations should be ashamed.

I think the minimum should be 20 years removed or the accepted measure of one generation. I do agree about Lincoln.

Although today he would be considered a totalitarian dictator for his wartime measures. Suspending habeus corpus was the least of his measures.

I feel they were obviously necessary under the circumstances. Isn't it ironic that BO is unduing some of the same measures Lincoln condoned.

BO=Lincoln? Not hardly.

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks LOT.

I just like Lincoln!

JBW said...

Lincoln kicked ass, no question but what I find particularly amusing are the admonitions that it's way too early to rightfully judge W's presidency since it just ended while I can't count how many people commenting on this very site have already declared Obama to be the worst president in history within the first few weeks of his first term.

See Don, this is the kind of entertainment I was referring to when I told you why I come here from time to time. Great stuff.

cracker said...

Good Post Professor

However I went to your referrence

Abe Lincoln - The First Neoconservative":

and read through the comments, there is some pretty serious debunking of the authors attempt to assert the idea that Lincoln was a neo-con. FYI

Great man great leader nonetheless

AmPowerBlog said...

JBW: Let's see the quotes? I don't recall anyone here saying Obama's the worst president in history. I certainly haven't.

AmPowerBlog said...


I read through the comments at the link. I think folks are more debunking Beran's book than the notion the Lincoln was neocon. I just threw that out there for read meat, in any case. I believe Lincoln represents neoconservative values, but it's not my area of expertise.

Old Rebel said...

It's sloppy to claim Lincoln was a Neocon, just as it would be so to claim Lao-tse was a Jeffersonian. Neoconservatism is an outgrowth of its Trotskyite foundations, which developed long after Lincoln.

That said, it's useful to highlight the parallels between the ideologies of Lincoln and the Neocons. Both justify the centralization of power on universalist, rather than American, principles. Both believe the nobility of their ideologies justify wholesale bloodshed. And both view the natural, historic social and political order as backward and in need of "creative destruction," which they're happy to provide.

It's also interesting that the cited article features "Forge of Empires," although, ironically, as praise. We paleoconservatives have argued for years that empires are inherently artificial, destructive of traditional liberty, and can only be propped up by ruthless force. Like Bismarck and Alexander, Lincoln gave the central government formerly unimaginable control over the civilian population, enabling the destructive wars and other excesses that followed. There would have been no Nazi or Communist takeover had Bismarck and Alexander not destroyed local autonomy in their respective countries. And Lincoln paved the way for Wilson's insane and self-destructive intervention in WWI.

Today's centralized, multi-cult, socialist regime is the direct outgrowth of Lincoln's counter-revolution.

PRH said...

Jimmy Carter was/is laughable...without a doubt he belongs at #44. I am surprised these leftwing hacks had Reagan rated as high as they did.

My picks for what they are worth.

#1 Jefferson
#2 Washington
#3 Reagan
#4 Teddy Rose
#5 Harry S.(only because he had the guts do do what needed to be done....

#41 Woody Wilson=Facist
#42 FDR=Corrupt
#43 LBJ=Lying War Monger{probably had JFK killed}
#44 Carter=Without Question

Anonymous said...

JDW: You really think more people have declared Obama to be the worst President in history than declared Bush to be the worst President in history while he was still in office? We always considered judging Bush as 'the worst president in history' to be foolish, and a bit of "emotion over intellect." So, of course, it would be ridiculous to judge Obama's presidency in history after just a few disastrous weeks.

By the way, I just noticed that sweet earring you have in your picture. I had an earring once, too. When I was 17. It was cool back in the mid-90's. But yours still works for you, totally. I mean, most people outside of a boy band couldn't pull it off today, but you totally got it, man. Excellent. If I had seen that bad-boy before today I never would have mocked you for challenging people to a fight after an online debate. You see, having an earring is like doing coke - it makes you invincible. Had I known, I never would have jeopardized myself by mocking you. I apologize.

cracker said...

M Tuggle

"We paleoconservatives have argued for years"....

paleoconservatives?....what is that? I've never heard that term used before.Anyone ?, Bueller?, Bueller?

PP.....thats cheap... supersnarky...bad acting....bad form

Old Rebel said...


"Paleoconservative" was the term originated to distinguish original conservatives from the Neocon identity thieves, whose actual origins are Trotskyite.

For a quick introduction, see here, here, and here.

Anonymous said...

This neocon-Trotskyite linkage is absurd. I'm not a neocon, but I certainly know where that way of thinking originated. Try Scoop Jackson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, etc.

Old Rebel said...

Tom Carter,

Just labelling facts "absurd" doesn't change their status. Check out this post from Neocon Stephen Schwartz, in which he mentions the Trotskyite loyalties of self-described "godfather of Neoconservatism" Irving Kristol. Here's an excerpt:

"To my last breath I will defend the Trotsky who alone, and pursued from country to country, and finally laid low in his own blood in a hideously hot little house in Mexico City, said no to Soviet coddling of Hitlerism, to the Moscow purges, and to the betrayal of the Spanish Republic, and who had the capacity to admit he had been wrong about the imposition of a single-party state, as well as about the fate of the Jewish people. To my last breath, and without apology. Let the neofascists, and Stalinists in their second childhood, make of it what they will."

What's the big deal about Trotsky? He advocated the global, as opposed to the national, revolution. Today's Neocons have adapted his worldview to agitate for what they call the "global democratic revolution," hence their insistence on perpetual warfare, the centralized welfare-warfare state, and the destruction of historic cultures.

That's why the Neocons backed the amnesty for illegal aliens.

Anonymous said...

Tuggle, that is ridiculous. Because Trotskyites want "global" revolution and the exportation of Marxism, and because neoconservatives support certain interventionist policies abroad to support "American interests," you deem the two somehow compatible, or that one comes from another? The mere fact that both support "something" outside of their own borders means they are one and the same? That is absurd. Not to mention that on the other 1000 relevant issues, neoconservatives would probably disagree with Trotskyites on all of them: Marxism v. the market, etc.? Seriously, Tuggle, how dumb. The fact that you cited your own blog as support says something (that other link says nothing about Trostskyism).

As for Irving Kristol's comment that he would defend Trotskyites who "said no to Soviet coddling of Hitlerism, to the Moscow purges, and to the betrayal of the Spanish Republic, and who had the capacity to admit he had been wrong about the imposition of a single-party state, as well as about the fate of the Jewish people." Uh, yeah, I agree with that. I would support someone in a limited fashion if they, too, opposed coddling of Hitlerism, the Moscow purges, etc. How does that make me a Trotskyite? Non-Trotskyites can oppose Stalin, the purges, and the Soviet coddling of Hitlerism, right?

No serious political scientist would draw parallels between Trostkyism - a belief in the need to restore genuine Marxism as it was expounded in the Russian Revolution as well as the need to export that Marxism abroad - with neoconservatism - a traditionally conservative movement (i.e. small government, the antithesis of Marxism) with a belief that limited intervention abroad is appropriate to protect our interests.

Even if you could discern some Trotskyite leanings from Irving Kristol, no part of being neoconservative requires Trotskyite leanings from its followers. Nothing about his personal beliefs or sympathies means "all" present day neocons somehow share those personal leanings. For example, I could on one hand be a neocon, and on the other hand personally appreciate Castro's removal of the dictator Batista, even if I oppose what Castro has done since taking power. This does not mean that I or all subsequent neocons, even those that learn neoconservatism from me, are suddenly Castro apologists. Or that any of us are Communists, or revolutionaries, or anything else. You can't mistake an agreement or sympathy on one point with an agreement on all.

Old Rebel said...

Private Pigg,

Do forgive me for linking to my own blog. But if you'll notice, each posting had links to original material to back up my points. And the most important point is that "Neoconservatism" is an alien, anti-American philosophy that would transform us into a centralized, deracinated, authoritarian empire.

Here's more on Neocons' Trotskyite roots:

"On the other hand, many neoconservatives come to the movement from the hardline, socialist left, often from organizations that supported Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky (see Late 1930s - 1950s). Trotskyites accused Stalin of betraying the purity of the Communist vision as declaimed by Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. “I can see psychologically why it would not be difficult for them to become [conservative] hard-liners,” says Harvard Sovietologist Richard Pipes, himself a hardliner whose son, Daniel Pipes, will become an influential neoconservative. “It was in reaction to the betrayal.” Many neoconservatives like Stephen Schwartz, a writer for the Weekly Standard, still consider themselves to be loyal disciples of Trotsky. Richard Perle is a Trotskyite socialist when he joins Jackson’s staff, and will always practice what author Craig Unger calls “an insistent, uncompromising, hard-line Bolshevik style” of policy and politics. Like Trotsky, Unger writes, the neoconservatives pride themselves on being skilled bureaucratic infighters, and on trusting no one except a small cadre of like-minded believers. Disagreement is betrayal, and political struggles are always a matter of life and death."

Bottom line: real Americans, and real conservatives will resist their efforts to turn us into an aggressive, multicult, authoritarian empire.

Average American said...

Lincoln will always be at at or close to the top of that list, Always!

I don't think that any President still living should be included in the list, history isn't complete on them yet.

cracker said...

Law and Order Teacher.

Your statement "BO=Lincoln? Not hardly."

Completely undermines and nullifies your preceding statements.

Given your tact, any judgment on the President at this time is not only pre-mature but also an indication of selective myopia......thereby ejecting oneself out of intelligent debate circles and into irrelevant rant fests amongst the back ranks.

Yes No Maybe?

Old Rebel said...

Here's the link to the History Commons' article on the intellectual roots of the Neoconservatives:

Law and Order Teacher said...

I am sorry you have trouble discerning my point. Allow me to expound. My statement meant that because Obama has no track record he hardly can be judged against Lincoln. For him to equate himself with Lincoln is shall we say, presumptuous? I didn't inject Obama into a debate about Lincoln. He's done that pretty well himself.

As for a rant fest I'll have to say that is rather an overstatement on your part don't you think? I don't recall taking Obama to task in this post.


cracker said...

Thanks for the clarity L&O Teacher...

I concur with your position on pre-emptive judgements of U.S. Presidencies, Cheers

As for the rant fest.....heh heh
a little flak there

Anonymous said...

Well, Tuggle, if you actually believe that the majority of of neoconsevatives today are actually old-school socialists, or have anything at all in common with socialists or Trotskyites, then feel free to peddle that at your blog. Somehow I doubt you'll get much traction saying a certain set of conservatism (a set that does NOT differ from other conservatives economically or fiscally) that happens to believe in certain interventionist policies, is actually a bunch of economic and fiscal liberals.

I mean, really? You think a group of people - liberals, socialists, what have you - that believe in an interventionist national government, high taxation, the welfare state, nationalizations, increased government spending, etc., are going to flock to a fiscally conservative ideology because that ideology, while completely repudiating pretty much everything with which they agree, is willing to use the military abroad?

I think what you're looking for is the National Socialist Party - economically liberal with an interventionist military / national government.

Anonymous said...

"that believe in an interventionist national government"

I mean domestically, of course.

Old Rebel said...

Private Pigg wrote: "I think what you're looking for is the National Socialist Party - economically liberal with an interventionist military / national government."

Hey, that's a pretty good description of the Neocons -- warrantless surveillance, suspending habeas corpus, floodtide immigration, aggressive military, all paid for by the military-industrial complex.

Anonymous said...

First they're Trotskyites, and now they're Nazis? You are becoming less and less relevant. And if you had any allusions of finding conservative people that agree with you, more than likely you just guaranteed that won't happen.

Old Rebel said...

Private Pigg wrote: "And if you had any allusions of finding conservative people that agree with you, more than likely you just guaranteed that won't happen."

Um, that's "illusions." As in, "Many uninformed Americans are under the illusion that Neocons are conservatives."

Anonymous said...

Dr. Douglas. I am pleasantly surprised you play host to Mr. Tuggle

Anonymous said...

Typos aside, your responses don't repudiate even a scintilla of what I've said. You just quote me then say something that doesn't repudiate the quote, like how neocons are Nazis or how I wrote "allusions" instead of "illusions."


A typo can be easily corrected. Stupidity, unfortunately, is not so easily remedied.

Old Rebel said...

Private Pigg,

Again, the point is that Neoconservatism is NOT conservative, nor is it of American origin in its philosophical foundation. That's what the links to the Neocons own statements make pretty clear.

Anyone who argues for a centralized, authoritarian, and aggressive government that could and should re-engineer society by pushing Open Borders is not a conservative, and certainly not pro-American. Such a person clearly does not know America's history or its political traditions.

And what better place to remind pro-war, any war supporters of these facts than on a posting about the man who reconstructed our Republic of Republics into a despotic, aggressive empire?

Old Rebel said...


Dr. D has graced my web site with his nuggets, and is free to do so again anytime he wishes.

Anonymous said...

Michael, I think you're probably on the right track in claiming that neo-conservatism has little in common with the libertarian conservatism (the more honourable conservatism in my opinion ) that you perhaps identify with?

But I am not sure that Trotskyite socialists will be clammering for any kind of kinship with their neo-con "friends"! Neo-conservatism, (if I may use the likes of Wolfowitz, Dick the prick Perle, and so on, as an example) seem to focus on this never ending quest for some global utopian hegemony for the UNited States. In that respect, I think Mr. Trotsky would be turning over in his grave if you told him that his buddies identify a close knit idealogical relationship with his neo-conservative "brethren"!

Old Rebel said...


Absolutely! No doubt the advocacy of liberty is "more honourable" than the Neocons.

And I'm not arguing today's Neocons and yesterday's Trotskyites would recognize each other as soul-mates. My point is that the Neocon philosophical foundation, as the Neocons' own statements prove, is based on Trotskyite thought; ie, universalism, authoritarianism, and global revolution, as opposed to the specious claim Neoconservatism is an American tradtition.

Again, there are close parallels between Lincolnian and Neocon authoritarianism, but that doesn't make one grow out of the other.