Which Presidents Would Belong On A Second Mount Rushmore?

This morning, on MORNING JOE on MSNBC, there was a fascinating three hour discussion on the American Presidency, to commemorate the Fourth of July national holiday.

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski had many distinguished guests, journalists and historians, to analyze the office and the 43 men who have held that position.

Three distinguished historians–Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jon Meacham, and Evan Thomas–gave their view of which Presidents would be appropriate for a second Mount Rushmore, if such a momument were ever to be built in South Dakota or elsewhere.

Their selections were certainly fascinating, controversial, and highly debatable.

Goodwin’s list was Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.

Meacham’s list was Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy,and Ronald Reagan.

Thomas’s list included Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.

So FDR and Reagan are on all three lists, and would certainly please progressives and Democrats on the one hand, and conservatives and Republicans on the other hand.

But there the disagreements begin, and lead to a total of six other Presidents being listed–Jackson, Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ, and Bush No. 41.

One wonders if there has been disrespect shown toward Woodrow Wilson, who had such a long range impact on the office of the Presidency, although there has been a lot of criticism directed toward him over the years.

One also wonders about the famous “obscure” President, James K. Polk, who gained more territory in his one term than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.

Also, the question arises whether Bill Clinton will see his historical stock rise as the years go by, to the point of possibly being a candidate for a second Mount Rushmore.

If this author and blogger were queried about his choices, the Presidents he would select would be to agree totally with Doris Kearns Goodwin: FDR, Truman, LBJ, and Reagan!

But now the reader can chime in with his or her views about a second Mount Rushmore, and the more the merrier!

7 comments on “Which Presidents Would Belong On A Second Mount Rushmore?

  1. Tim George November 28, 2012 7:40 pm

    I am a little surprised that no one mentioned President Gerald Ford, who, after being appointed Vice-President, and then succeeding the shamed President Nixon, did his best to heal the nation’s wounds after Watergate. He was a humble man and served his country well, in Congress and as VP and then President. He struck the right tone for the time, but was punished for forgiving Nixon. I agree with those who chose President Kennedy for he was extremely inspiring to the entire country.

  2. Ronald November 28, 2012 10:46 pm

    I can understand your feelings, Tim, as I have come to like Ford more as time goes by, and loved his wife, particularly!

    But he was only in office for two years, five and a half months, with only William Henry Harrison, James Garfield, Zachary Taylor, and Warren Harding having shorter terms.

    Additionally, his time in office was not anywhere as eventful as, say, John F Kennedy, who only had about four and a half months more in office than Ford.

    Ford was a good transition from Richard Nixon, but if he had won a full term, there would be a better case to put him among the outstanding Presidents.

    There simply is not enough in favor of Ford to put him among the greats!

  3. Tim George December 1, 2012 6:48 pm

    Ron, I appreciate your perspective on President Ford. I believe, if there were a second Mount Rushmore, President Eisenhower would also have to be considered. One of his major contributions was the Interstate Highway system that links us all. When I think about our presidents, I favor those whose vision, and actions, continue to remind us that we are the “United” States of America, not the divided parties of America.

  4. Ronald December 2, 2012 7:51 am

    Yes, Tim, your perspective on what should make a President “great” makes a lot of sense, and certainly, Ike is being looked upon more kindly in recent studies and research than he had been, and assuredly, in comparison to the Republican party of present times.

  5. Anonymous December 23, 2013 9:37 pm

    Woodrow Wilson
    Franklin Roosevelt
    John Kennedy
    Barack Obama

  6. Ronald December 23, 2013 10:34 pm

    Anonymous, the problem with your list is that they are all Democrats, and that would not be acceptable to those who are not Democrats! LOL And picking Obama is highly controversial to many, and the same with Wilson, who is hated by conservatives and Republicans big time! At the same time, I personally have no problem with your list, except it is not going to happen, since too partisan a list!

  7. Chip July 7, 2016 6:09 pm

    I would go with FDR, Truman, Ike, and Reagan. 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans. FDR for his leadership in WWII. Truman for his leadership at the beginning of the Cold War. Reagan for the end of the Cold War, and Ike for being a 5 star general and president.

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