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  Who really belongs on Mount Rushmore?
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Last EditedJ.R.  Apr 05, 2009 09:18pm
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MediaNewspaper - East Valley Tribune
News DateThursday, March 5, 2009 03:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionNo matter what party partisans say, no American president is perfect — to say the least. But when historians get around to ranking our greatest presidents, the top spots invariably go to the usual titans — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and the Roosevelts, Teddy and Franklin. Ivan Eland, a senior fellow at The Independent Institute (independent.org) and an expert on defense issues, begs to differ with the standard consensus -— by about 180 degrees.

In his book “Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty,” Eland doesn’t rank our commanders in chief according to how many wars they won or how many new federal government social or regulatory agencies they fathered. He ranks them on how well they adhered to the principles of limited government as put down in the Constitution by our founding framers — which is why obscure John Tyler is Eland’s No. 1, under-appreciated Grover Cleveland is second, derided Warren Harding is sixth, ridiculed Jimmy Carter is eighth, revered Abe Lincoln is 29th, hallowed FDR is 31st, beloved Ronald Reagan is 34th and progressive icon Woodrow Wilson is dead last. I recently talked to Eland by phone from his home in Washington, D.C.
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