One would expect a biographer of Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt to judge all presidents against these two giants. Nathan Miller, like Arthur Schlesinger before him, views all presidents through a single lens, whether or not they expanded the role of the federal government.A fairer question would be whether they left the republic in better condition than they found it. By this standard, Miller does a great injustice to Calvin Coolidge.Like Gerald Ford, Coolidge healed a nation that had been scarred and disillusioned by one of the greatest scandals in American history. His tax cuts for all Americans in all brackets ushered in the greatest period of economic growth prior to the "golden age" of Ronald Reagan. Under Coolidge, home ownership was at a high; unemployment was at an all-time low -- two boasts of today's Clintonites. Coolidge practiced and preached personal responsibility, government restraint and accountability, and moral andcivic virtue -- commodities in short supply today.One president who deserves a place on any list of the "worst ten" is Andrew Jackson. How did "Old Hickory" and his followers use the federal powers they expanded? They removed native Americans to lands west of the Mississippi (clearly "ethnic cleansing," if not genocide), preserved and extended slavery, thwarted Supreme Court decisions, wreaked havoc on the banking system, and castigated their critics as evil and part of a "conspiracy."Against that record, most Americans would prefer Coolidge -- or even Taft, Harding or Harrison -- hands down. In this, the 75th anniversary of Coolidge's ascension to the presidency, they can right an old wrong and place "Silent Cal" on the $20 bill.

Dr. Alvin Felzenberg

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