Steven Hayward, one of my favorite historians and writers, has some pretty whacky ideas. For example, he thinks presidents should be graded on their loyalty to their oath of office. Why, it’s just crazy enough to work! Read this book not only because it is entertaining, insightful, and informative but also because it’s the perfect antidote to presidential grade inflation.”
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online and author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning
One of the keys to restoring the government to its proper limits will be to have our presidents serve in their originally intended role as defenders of the Constitution, rather than undermining it through endless expansions of the administrative state. It is surprising how seldom we evaluate presidents according to whether they live up to their oath of office, and we have Steven Hayward to thank for reminding us of the presidents who understood this, and those who didn’t.”
Edwin Meese III, Attorney General in the Ronald Reagan administration and Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation
Every president takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. But how well do they perform this basic duty? Modern historians have mostly ignored this question, but Steven Hayward tackles it head on, grading the presidents of the last hundred years. He’s a tough grader, and his conclusions will surpriseand delightmany readers.”
Michael Barone, senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics
From the Back Cover
Grading the presidents—by the Constitution
For a century after the founding, presidents routinely vetoed bills they believed unconstitutional and regularly spoke to the American people on the subject of constitutional government. But beginning with Woodrow Wilson in the Progressive Era, some chief executives have actively sought to undermine the Constitution, and in recent years many presidents have been negligent or simply ignorant about their constitutional responsibilities.
In The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the Presidents, presidential historian Steven Hayward revives the original standard for judging our presidents. You’ll not only discover which presidents get an F on their efforts to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, but also learn about some of the underappreciated constitutional heroes who have been elected to the White House.
Along the way, you’ll also learn:
How the much ridiculed Calvin Coolidge was actually one of our most intellectual presidents, reading classics in the original Greek and Latin for relaxation at night in the White House
How Herbert Hoover, a strong anti-Communist, may have assured the success of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia
Why Eisenhower deliberately stumbled his way through his rare press conferences
How Barack Obama wanted to include Hiroshima and Nagasaki on his world apology tour, but the Japanese government said no thanks