John McCaslin

"Fantastic Find for Inauguration," reads Thursday's ad posted on Craigslist, offering three bedrooms on the top two floors a rowhouse on Capitol Hill for $12,000.

"Located 8 blocks from the Capitol Building," the ad states. "There is a dog that lives in this house, which will not be present during your stay."


Thought you knew the nation's best and worst U.S. presidents?

Of the four presidents exalted glory on Mount Rushmore, only George Washington deserves the honor, writes Ivan Eland, director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute, whose intriguing new book is appropriately titled, "Recarving Rushmore."

The author argues that Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was overrated by historians and scholars; Thomas Jefferson hypocritically violated his lofty rhetoric of liberty; and Abraham Lincoln provoked a civil war that achieved far less than believed.

Mr. Eland's book profiles and ranks every U.S. president on the merits, including his oath to uphold the Constitution. Surprisingly, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter are anointed the two best modern presidents, and Bill Clinton is declared in some respects more conservative than George W. Bush.

It might come as a surprise that John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States, earns the No. 1 ranking of all commanders in chief. Tyler, we read, exhibited "restraint in dealing with an internal rebellion, a bloody Indian war, and a boundary dispute with Canada. He supported a sound policy of limiting the money supply, and he generally opposed high tariffs, a national bank and federal welfare to the states.

"In sum, John Tyler gets the number one ranking here not only because he favored limited government, but because he fought members of his own party (Whig and Democrat) to preserve it - thereby torpedoing his chances for a second term."

As for the worst president (President Bush, if you wondered, ranks 36th), Woodrow Wilson's "abominable track record" earns him the bottom ranking of 40th. (William Henry Harrison and James Garfield weren't ranked because of the short amount of time they were in office).


Liz Perraud of Columbia, Md., writes: "After reading your entry 'No Comment' from Inside the Beltway on Wednesday in reference to the runaway costs for the completion of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC), I thought you might like to take a look at this letter that my grandfather, David Lynn, received from Charles E. Hughes, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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