I didn’t know if this should go on the Politics or Society page, but I do know it’s an interesting question to pose and should generate some good discussion. So here’s the question: Who are the top 5 most interesting Presidents of the United States (not including the obvious ones).
Ok, before we get started let me unpack that a little and lay down some ground rules. First, imagine you are reincarnating these guys in today’s world and can ask them anything you want about history or modern society or whatever. Second, ‘most interesting’ means that the guy you choose wasn’t necessarily the best President or the one you most agree with, just that he’d be an interesting guy to sit down with and talk too. For example, it’d be interesting to ask President Nixon why he was so paranoid and what he erased off those tape recordings. Third, and most importantly, by ‘not including the obvious ones’ I mean that you cannot include any of the following Presidents in your top 5: Presidents Washington, Lincoln, FDR, or Kennedy. Those guys are excluded to force us to actually put some thought into this and get creative.
Now that we’re all on the same page, here’s my list, I encourage you to put yours in the comment box.
5. President Harry Truman – Easily the most normal guy to have ever held the office, the last President to have never attended college, and the one most revered by the majority of people today who was ironically hated while he was in office. Plus, he had to make the hardest decision any President has ever had to make.
4. President Woodrow Wilson – Was way ahead of his time. An incredible intellectual who was really the forefather of modern liberal foreign policy, so I think I could talk to this guy about foreign policy stuff for hours and be continually enthralled and amazed.
3. President Andrew Jackson – A Southern populist, so of course I’m gonna like the guy. Took on the central bank (which had bad repercussions later) and was generally just brazen in everything he did. He’d be more entertaining than insightful, but how great would it be to hear him tell you about the Battle of New Orleans and then go into how he had a big block of cheese in the White House that anyone off the street was welcome to eat.
2. President Thomas Jefferson – Universally renowned as a genius. What more is there to say really? You could ask him what he intended the U.S. to become when he was forming the Nation and then ask him what he thought of it today. Just so incredibly deep and smart that there’s no way you wouldn’t enjoy simply listening to him talk politics for as long as he wanted.
1. President Theodore Roosevelt – One of my personal heroes. This guy did everything I like. He boxed, was a war hero, broke up monopolies and trusts, was brash, openly dissed people, liked to go on safari, etc. No lie, if I ran for President, I’d run under the Bull Moose Party. But seriously, you could talk to him about anything and be in awe of how he was an expert on everything. In my mind he’s easily the most interesting President.