Brad Delong is surprised. The National Review organized a Presidents’ Day symposium of historians on great presidents, yielding this list:
Richard Brookhiser… George Washington
H. W. Crocker III… Ronald Reagan
John Derbyshire… Calvin Coolidge
Bruce Frohnen… William Henry Harrison
Paul Kengor… Ronald Reagan
John J. Miller… Calvin Coolidge
It would be inconceivable for any of them to name… Abraham Lincoln, wouldn’t it?
Of course, because why honor a man who ended slavery?
What surprises me is that Teddy Roosevelt, champion of the little man, robust outdoorsman, and profound believer in America’s power to promote our values through threats of military force. His Presidency represented exactly the sort of compassionate conservatism that George W. Bush claims to believe in. In many ways, Roosevelt was the sort of President that Bush claims he wants to be (and isn’t).