Having just torn the concept of President's Day a new one, I thought it might be fun to talk about our favorite presidents. Historians like to make top X lists, so I figured we could have fun and do the same.
Too often, I ask these questions and never get around to answering them myself, so I'll go first.
1. William Henry Harrison - He did two important things that makes him number one. First, his life was a parable of why one should not give long-winded speeches. Second, he died a month after taking office. If only every other president would do as he did.
2. Thomas Jefferson - TJ showed us how to be president. He once famously answered the door of the White House himself in slippers. The person knocking was the British Ambassador. He also balanced the budged and paid off the national debt. He so hated the job (it gave him migraines for days at a time) that he checked out several months early and left everything on auto-pilot. Then when he wrote his own epitaph he left the presidency off the list of his accomplishments. If only every other president would do as he did.
3. James Madison - Madison so understood the dangers of centralized power and a standing military that he let Washington DC get burned to the ground. If only every other president would do as he did.
4. Martin Van Buren - Convinced by Quicker Brown Fox and Murray Rothbard, I've added Van Buren to the previously vacant spot on the list. All the good aspects of Andrew Jackson minus the militarism.
5. Calvin Coolidge - Of all the presidents since the beginning of the 20th century, knowing how their tenures turned out, he's the only one I would vote for. But only with reservations (because he was pro-tariff). Not only did he say no as early and often as possible, but he also knew when and how to shut the hell up. We've lost something since then. If only every other president would do as he did.