Is The Day Of Great Leaders Past?
By Chuck Baldwin
November 10, 2009
A recent column co-authored by John Eidsmoe and Ben DuPré struck me. They titled their column, "What makes a 'great' president?"
The basic thrust of the column was to examine the qualities that make one a "great" President. They start by examining the Presidency of our 11th President, James K. Polk. They note that Polk is commonly regarded as being one of America's top 12 greatest Presidents. To use their words, "between eighth and 12th among our greatest presidents."
Eidsmoe and Dupré note that Polk was undoubtedly a man of outstanding Christian character and faith. They say that Polk was "the only president who kept and fulfilled every one of his campaign promises." They observe him to be a man "with a Puritan work ethic, [who] literally worked himself to death as president, retired from office in broken health and died 103 days later."
But Polk also greatly expanded the power of the Presidency. "In 1846, President Polk sent American troops into disputed territory where they were almost certain to become embroiled in hostilities, and then demanded that Congress recognize that a state of war already existed. Increasingly with Polk's presidency and thereafter, the president set national policy and the Congress rubber-stamped the president's decisions."
Eidsmoe and Dupré note that the people who are charged with rating our Presidents are commonly academicians, "and as such they tend to be left of center. They believe in centralized power, and they therefore admire presidents who increased federal power and concentrated it in the presidency."
In this regard, Eidsmoe and Dupré are 100% correct. Look at the heroes of liberal historians and who do you find? Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt. Not by accident, these same historians will extol the virtues of Hammurabi, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and Napoleon. All these men have one thing in common: they were responsible for expanding (either by force or fraud) a centralized government.