“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” – President Ronald Reagan

mountrushmore

Let’s imagine for a nanosecond or two the new Republican Congress and the Democratic President actually decide to embark on a genuine new era of bipartisan cooperation.

We are not talking about mere words that are quickly discarded, but actual deeds. These would be actions that could restore the tattered faith of the American people with those of infinite wisdom that reside and work within the contours of the Beltway.

Here’s an idea for a tangible-and-impressive undertaking, sending an unmistakable signal that a new spirit has arrived in Washington, D.C: Use the backdrop of the 2015 non-election year to pass and sign legislation to add 60-foot-tall likenesses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan to Mount Rushmore.

The new lineup: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan – six consequential presidents who each earned and achieved the Mount Rushmore mantle of greatness.

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Would it be an easy vote for a GOP Congress to pass legislation to memorialize in granite the architect of the New Deal, the leader of the nation’s war effort against the Axis Powers, and the nation’s longest serving president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Absolutely not.

And likewise, would it take courage for President Barack Obama to resist the easily agitated progressive wing of his party to construct an iconic symbol of the man who restored national faith and took the critical steps to defeat Soviet-style Communism, Ronald Reagan? Yes, indeed.

That’s exactly the point here. Passing and signing this legislation to place Democratic and Republican icons side-by-side on Mount Rushmore will be extremely difficult, but don’t we as Americans specialize in monumental achievements (pardon the pun)?

Why FDR and Reagan for Rushmore?

Next year, it will be 74 years since the work was completed on the fourth and final face on Mount Rushmore: Teddy Roosevelt. The construction, which took 14 years to complete, was to salute the president who represented the birth of a new nation (Washington); one that spurred the growth of the new country (Jefferson); the one who saved the union and abolished slavery (Lincoln); and finally the president who founded the conservation movement and guided America into its role as an international power (T. Roosevelt).

The achievements of FDR and Ronald Reagan rise to the level of enshrinement on Mount Rushmore. Almost DailyBrett is not equating Franklin Delano Roosevelt with George Washington or Ronald Reagan with Abraham Lincoln. That’s not the point in any event.

What is germane is that both of these presidents came to the White House at times when the country was suffering a crisis of confidence: Roosevelt during the Great Depression; Reagan during the Great Inflation. Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Tojo’s Japan were the evil adversaries during FDR’s time. Reagan was pitted against the Great Inflation and the godless and expansionist Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

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Historians with their usual histrionics will always debate the merits of FDR and Reagan, but what is indisputable was that America recovered from the Great Depression and the Great Inflation, and nationalistic Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia were all defeated. The conclusion: both FDR and Reagan were two of our nation’s greatest presidents.

Should Others Be Considered?

Harry Truman certainly is being treated well in the history books (he is more popular with historians than he was with the American people when he left office in 1953), but “Give Em Hell Harry” doesn’t rise to Rushmore immortality.

Dwight Eisenhower was a great commander of the Allied Forces in World War II, and he was an extremely popular president. Alas, there are more reasons to put Ike on Rushmore as a commander rather than a commander-in-chief.

John F. Kennedy tragically did not serve long enough in office to earn Rushmore enshrinement. LBJ was driven from office because of the Vietnam quagmire, and Richard Nixon was disgraced by Watergate. Gerald Ford? Historical accident. Jimmy Carter for Rushmore? Please.

The modern presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all fall way short of the standard for carving their likenesses into Mount Rushmore, which leaves FDR and Reagan.

This is not to suggest that FDR (Iron Curtain falling on Eastern Europe) and Reagan (Iran-Contra) were perfect presidents, and quite frankly, that is not the deciding factor. There is no doubt that FDR and Reagan were charismatic, leaders, who presided over consequential presidencies with real achievements that will stand the test of time.

Will the power brokers in Washington, D.C. take this monumental step to add the likenesses of FDR and Reagan to Mount Rushmore? Probably not. Nonetheless, the decision is warranted by history and it would be an even-more important signal that gridlock is not the only tangible outcome in our nation’s capital.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rushmore

http://www.jeanpatrick.com/mount_rushmore_faqs.htm

http://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan

 

 

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