Thursday, 30 June 2011

The most significant President?

One of our "Washminster community" posed the following question - "who do you consider to be the most significant US President post WW2?" (full comment here)

What an interesting question - and I'll happily publish any comments that you might make. Our original contributor wrote "Personally I think Nixon is very significant - a man who was in many respects a successful president, but unfortunately isn't always regarded in this manner. .. Whilst being significant at the time, was Watergate really as big a presidential faux-pas as historians would like us to believe in the light of more recent political scandals and failure - I think not."

I have to say I find Nixon endlessly fascinating. I probably agree that "Watergate" is actually one of the lesser criticisms that can be made of the man. I'm currently looking at the other conflicts he had with Congress - over impoundment (where Congress authorised certain expenditure and voted to appropriate it - but Nixon refused to comply with the decision of the legislative branch) and over War Powers (back yet again!). These are serious constitutional issues - about the proper roles of the Executive and the Legislative branches - and of course there were his claims about the extent of Executive Privilege.

LBJ was another fascinating President - I have to say, I don't think I could have stomached him personally, but he certainly got things done!

I'll return to the question soon - but in the meantime - do let me have YOUR comments