According to a survey conducted by C-Span last month, Denison-born Dwight D. Eisenhower is the fifth best president of the U.S. The survey, the third conducted by C-Span since 2000, polled historians and ranked the presidents based on how they performed under a number of criteria.
Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt rounded out the top five presidents, with Harry S. Truman dropping from fifth to sixth. In the assessment of Eisenhower, the survey gave him high marks for his moral authority, administrative skills and international relations, among other traits.
Over the Presidents Day weekend, I spent some time at the Eisenhower Birthplace. While they were celebrating all of the presidents that weekend, conversations naturally gravitated towards Eisenhower. While I was talking with John Akers, director of the Eisenhower Birthplace, our conversation shifted to how history has viewed Ike now that time has passed.
Akers said that at the end of his presidency, Eisenhower wasn’t immediately considered a success. With the election of Democrat John F. Kennedy, the youngest elected president, many at the time viewed this as a rejection of his presidency and the image of Eisenhower as a inoffensive grandfather was not uncommon, he said.
However, over the past 60 years, Eisenhower has been vindicated by history.
Now, many historians are giving him credit for many initiatives that we appreciate today. Akers said it is easy to look at crisis presidents with a favorable view.
Eisenhower is now credited for his work with the modern interstate system, an idea he borrowed from his time in Germany during World War II, the de-escalation in Korea and his response to communism at the time. While future presidents, namely Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, would find successes with the NASA program during the 60s, the program first started under Eisenhower’s watch.
Happy birthday Wednesday to Keri Lillis, Wanda McKee and Sterling Jackson, all of Sherman; Tate Reding and Kendalyn Reding of Denison; Dena Morris of Gordonville; Howard Shivers; and Kyle Butler of Providence Village.
Happy anniversary Wednesday to James and Barbara Clark of Denison, 48 years; Cade and Amanda Butler of Van Alstyne, 8 years.