Monday, September 29, 2014

Recarving Rushmore By Ivan Eland

RECARVING RUSHMORE Ranks Obama as the 8th Worst U.S. President - Justly Slightly Better than John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush
Avoids Conventional Biases and Instead Ranks Presidents on How Well They Contributed to Peace, Prosperity and Liberty

Barack Obama ranks 34th out of 41 U.S. Presidents in terms of his contributions to peace, prosperity, and liberty--just slightly better than Ronald Reagan but slightly worse than George H.W. Bush. So claims Ivan Eland, a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute who is challenging the tendency for historians and pundits to rate the presidents by focusing on secondary qualities, such as their communication skills, leadership style, and responses to crises their policies may have helped cause.

Ivan Eland's book, Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty is destined to shake up the way Americans think about presidential achievements. This may be especially true for people who thought that Obama's campaign slogan promising "change" would signal a meaningful departure from his predecessor's policies. "In many ways, despite their divergent party and ideological labels, the presidencies of Barack Obama (labeled a liberal Democrat) and his predecessor, George W. Bush (labeled a conservative Republican) have been similarly bad," Dr. Eland writes.

Dr. Eland's bold comparison of Obama and Bush is just the tip of the iceberg. Taking a distinctly new approach, RECARVING RUSHMORE profiles each U.S. president from Washington to Obama on the merits of his policies and whether they contributed to peace, prosperity and liberty. Its unique ranking system is based on how successful each president was in fulfilling his oath to uphold the Constitution. Readers will be intrigued to discover:

  • Why, of the four men given exalted representations on Mount Rushmore, only Washington deserves the honor.
  • Why Teddy Roosevelt has been overrated.
  • Why Jefferson hypocritically violated his lofty rhetoric of liberty; and
  • Why Lincoln provoked a civil war that achieved far less than believed.
As for more recent U.S. chief executives, Republicans will be astounded to learn that Nixon was the last liberal president and that Reagan wasn't all that conservative. Democrats will be amazed to learn that Clinton was in some respects more conservative than George W. Bush. Readers will also learn why Dr. Eland goes against the grain and anoints Eisenhower and Carter as the two best modern presidents.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute. He spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. 

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