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Happy Presidents’ Day Weekend! Although it does kind of feel claustrophobic and a little unfair. Just one holiday for 44 people? For accounting purposes I’m counting Cleveland once– although Taft is often counted twice due to excessive weight. How do you breach the subject with the really good ones? It’s like lettering in track– only to realize that everybody who put on a uniform got the same honor…regardless of performance or attendance.
“Lincoln– you freed the slaves and kept the nation together… you get 2.27% of today.” Did Benjamin Harrison have the same impact as George Washington? Does James Buchanan merit equal billing with Franklin Roosevelt? Millard Fillmore is most famous for resembling the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island”-are we really honoring Jonas Grumby?  Should we be a nation that celebrates excellence but lumps disastrous terms with nation-saving leadership is one that’s lost its way?

 

Solution: create an official Presidents’ Day Weekend. Let’s be honest:  most take off the second half of Friday on a holiday weekend anyways.  And separating the wheat from the chaff not only acknowledges greatness, but also gives “the other guys” a half-day in the spotlight Friday. Instead of being overshadowed by Washington, Lincoln and the like-Rutherford B. Hayes can have his semi-moment in the sun (with lemonade).

Honoring ten “Super Presidents” on Monday then gives those who deserve a whole day their due. But how do we determine a “Super President”?

1– Like stamps… they have to be deceased (sorry Bill)…

2– Mount Rushmore– if you are chiseled into the side of a hill– you qualify. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt— welcome to the club.

3– Currency is consideration, but no slam-dunk. So just because Grant is on the $50, doesn’t mean he’s in (far from it). FDR, Wilson and Jackson make the cut though.

4– Veterans Committee– alternating underrated chief executives from the 19th and 20th centuries for a “special spot”. Example: Polk this year, Truman next year, Cleveland in 2021, Eisenhower in 2021. You get the idea.

5– Partisan Picks– in throwing a bone to both parties…Reagan and Kennedy make the list. Makes sense: Republicans are still looking for the next Reagan and Democrats are still searching for the next JFK.

So enjoy the holiday weekend… and celebrate the mediocre with the great. Because often it’s the Hoovers that make the FDRs necessary.

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