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  1. #31  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    And your thoughts on Clinton would be...
    Hypocritical and driven by his ideology, like all of his thoughts.
    --Odysseus
    Sic Hacer Pace, Para Bellum.

    Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people!
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  2. #32  
    Senior Member Arroyo_Doble's Avatar
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    James K. Polk
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  3. #33  
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    As noted by others, we have to have a bit of a definition of "Presidential" to go with here.

    If we mean poised, graceful, well-spoken, etc., then Reagan tops the list, followed by FDR and then JFK. But, we have a hard time comparing these guys to, say, Calvin Coolidge or Teddy Roosevelt or Benjamin Harrison because the first significant actual video/film footage that we have of Presidents starts with FDR. We don't really know exactly how well-spoken Benjamin Harrison was. We know how he wrote, and we know what he said, but we don't how he spoke. We have certain anecdotal clues, such as that Thomas Jefferson, despite his wonderful writing, was absolutely petrified of public speaking, even to what was then a fairly small Congress. But for most Presidents before FDR, we have only very small clips of grainy, posed film shots and very little actual voice recordings. Nobody alive today knows what Grover Cleavland's voice sounded like, but pretty much every American can immediately recognize FDR's voice. So it makes for a bit of a tough comparison for the earlier Presidents.

    If we mean something more like what one expects from a CEO, how they comported business in the White House, then probably the list is Reagan, then W, then Ike, then probably 41, and then it sort of turns into a tie between FDR, TR, JFK, and several others. These folks were ever-punctual, demanded proper dress at all times while working (even on Saturdays in the case of Reagan), and had a very deliberate "get X done" attitude in which they kept themselves from meddling directly but delegated properly.

    Then I suppose one could define "Presidential" as just taking hold of the Presidency and "using it" "properly." That gets kinda tricky. I would say that probably Washington tops the list, since he got to set the benchmark. Depending upon whether you look at policies or leadership appearance, FDR could come in second there for his leadership and inspiration during the Depression and the war, but from a policy standpoint, and from doing things like court-packing, he sinks way down the list very quickly. If you think that the proper way to use the Presidency is to basically not use it at all, then Calvin Coolidge probably comes in at #2, and then I think maybe William McKinley or perhaps Herbert Hoover.
    Olde-style, states' rights conservative. Ask if this concept confuses you.
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  4. #34  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Wood View Post
    As noted by others, we have to have a bit of a definition of "Presidential" to go with here.

    If we mean poised, graceful, well-spoken, etc., then Reagan tops the list, followed by FDR and then JFK. But, we have a hard time comparing these guys to, say, Calvin Coolidge or Teddy Roosevelt or Benjamin Harrison because the first significant actual video/film footage that we have of Presidents starts with FDR. We don't really know exactly how well-spoken Benjamin Harrison was. We know how he wrote, and we know what he said, but we don't how he spoke. We have certain anecdotal clues, such as that Thomas Jefferson, despite his wonderful writing, was absolutely petrified of public speaking, even to what was then a fairly small Congress. But for most Presidents before FDR, we have only very small clips of grainy, posed film shots and very little actual voice recordings. Nobody alive today knows what Grover Cleavland's voice sounded like, but pretty much every American can immediately recognize FDR's voice. So it makes for a bit of a tough comparison for the earlier Presidents.

    If we mean something more like what one expects from a CEO, how they comported business in the White House, then probably the list is Reagan, then W, then Ike, then probably 41, and then it sort of turns into a tie between FDR, TR, JFK, and several others. These folks were ever-punctual, demanded proper dress at all times while working (even on Saturdays in the case of Reagan), and had a very deliberate "get X done" attitude in which they kept themselves from meddling directly but delegated properly.

    Then I suppose one could define "Presidential" as just taking hold of the Presidency and "using it" "properly." That gets kinda tricky. I would say that probably Washington tops the list, since he got to set the benchmark. Depending upon whether you look at policies or leadership appearance, FDR could come in second there for his leadership and inspiration during the Depression and the war, but from a policy standpoint, and from doing things like court-packing, he sinks way down the list very quickly. If you think that the proper way to use the Presidency is to basically not use it at all, then Calvin Coolidge probably comes in at #2, and then I think maybe William McKinley or perhaps Herbert Hoover.
    While I consider Reagan the second greatest president, and the greatest in my lifetime, I have to argue in favor of George Washington. Reagan restored the dignity and authority of the office after it had been trashed by scandal (Nixon) and ineptitude (Carter), but that dignity and authority had been established by Washington, who set the standard that Reagan followed, and who put most of the mechanisms in place that we consider part of the executive branch. Washington's public demeanor and dignity were well-documented, and his heroic stature among the founding generation (a generation of heroic stature in its own right) was considered beyond dispute. Washington was the only president ever elected unanimously by the Electoral College, and certainly will be the only one to have been unanimously twice. Washington was an excellent administrator who established the first cabinet, and filled it with men of character and ability. His contemporaries described him as "systematic, orderly, energetic, solicitous of the opinion of others but decisive, intent upon general goals and the consistency of particular actions with them."

    In terms of his personal carriage and demeanor, see below:

    President George Washington: Physical Description
    About the President George Washington and his physical description including height and weight.

    His Person: Washington's commanding appearance always inspired trust and admiration from those around him; as much as any other President, he had the elusive quality of charisma. When he was 27, a fellow member of the Virginia House of Burgesses described him as "straight as an Indian, measuring 6'2" in his stockings and weighing 175 1bs." This estimate may have been conservative: After Washington's death, his private secretary claimed that he measured the body and found it to be 6' 3 1/2" tall. Whatever his actual height, Washington was always considered a giant, and his body remained sinewy and strong, never exceeding 200 1bs. in weight. His massive frame supported enormous hands that required specially-made gloves and feet that called for size 13 boots. His cool, steady, blue-gray eyes, recalling in Emerson's phrase, "an ox gazing out of a pasture," furthered the impression of massive strength. An attack of smallpox when he was 18 had left his skin pockmarked, but it also left him immune to the disease that later ravaged his Continental Army. By age 57, Washington had lost nearly all his teeth, and he began a long and frustrating search for a pair of dentures that would fit him properly. The wooden and ivory false teeth that he finally selected were so unsatisfactory that he kept his lips tightly compressed during his later years, and his jaw developed that awkward, unnatural set that appears in most of his portraits. His dentures also left Washington with such deeply sunken cheeks that Gilbert Stuart, when painting his most famous likeness of the great man, stuffed his subject's cheeks with cotton; a close examination of this portrait reveals the artificial bulge. The natural color of Washington's hair was sandy brown, but he wore it powdered white and further obscured under a fashionable white wig. In 1760, Capt. George Mercer noted that in conversation Washington "looks you full in the face, is deliberate, deferential and engaging. His movements and gestures are graceful, his walk majestic, and he is a splendid horseman." But beneath this cool and polished exterior, Washington hid a furious temper. On one occasion as commander-in-chief, he became so exasperated at the quarreling of drunken soldiers in front of his headquarters, that he forgot the dignity of a general, rushed out, and knocked several of the brawlers cold with his own massive fists. When provoked, the "father of our country" could let loose a torrent of curses that would make even a modern President blush. Washington's private secretary once commented that the most dreaded experience in his life was hearing the general swear.

    1975 - 1981 by David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace
    Reproduced with permission from "The People's Almanac" series of books.
    All rights reserved.
    Finally, the most presidential thing about Washington is that he did not seek the office, but had it thrust upon him. Every other man who held the office campaigned for it. Washington didn't, but only acquiesced to serve because of his sense of duty, and refused a third term despite public acclaim. And, of course, as anyone who is familiar with the Newburgh plot knows, he refused a crown.

    Washington was the first and the best.
    --Odysseus
    Sic Hacer Pace, Para Bellum.

    Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people!
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