Maybe Princeton professor Cornel West should redirect his get off the crack pipe suggestion to MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
On Monday's Hardball, the host actually said with a straight face that John F. Kennedy is "the American president we Americans most want to see joining Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt up there on Mount Rushmore (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero” appears in bookstores next Tuesday. It tells the story of the American president we Americans most want to see joining Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt up there on Mount Rushmore.
Apart from drugs and/or alcohol being the culprit, one has to imagine Matthews was referring to a November 2009 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair online poll that asked the question, "If you could add a president to MOUNT RUSHMORE, which one of these would you pick?"
Kennedy came in first at 29 percent in this highly unscientific poll placed at two extremely liberal websites where people could vote as many times as they wanted.
Such surveys are typically looked upon with a grain of salt. This was especially the case here as the folks designing this poll actually put Barack Obama up as one of the answers.
Despite him having only been in office for ten months, sixteen percent of respondents chose him.
Nice poll to gauge public opinion by, don't you think?
Significantly more scientific is a fairly comprehensive list of presidential rankings done since 1948 available at Wikipedia.
To be sure, these kinds of polls normally get the opinion of academics, political scientists, and presidential historians that typically lean left, but they're far better than an online poll done by CBS and Vanity Fair.
With that in mind, Kennedy's aggregate ranking in these surveys is eleven putting him well down the list of folks to be added to Mount Rushmore.
Sorry, Chris, but this isn't something you're likely ever going to see no matter how many books you write about this man including the one about to come out titled “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero”:
For those interested, here's the aggregate top ten:
- Abraham Lincoln
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- George Washington
- Thomas Jefferson
- Teddy Roosevelt
- Woodrow Wilson
- Harry Truman
- Dwight Eisenhower (tie)
- Andrew Jackson (tie)
- James Polk
Anticipating the question, Ronald Reagan's aggregate rank is 17.
Remember: the folks doing the ranking are mostly liberals.