A recent Gallup Poll grabbed national attention by showing that Ronald Reagan leads the way when Americans are asked to name the greatest president of all time. The most interesting revelation in this survey, however, involved partisan splits in evaluations of presidential greatness. Self-identified Republicans picked Reagan, Washington and Lincoln, in that order, as the most admirable chief executives in history.
And the Democrats? They chose Bill Clinton as the greatest ever, conveniently ignoring the scandals and impeachment crisis that consumed his second term. The Dems chose John Kennedy as number two and, amazingly enough, they named Barack Obama—after just two troubled years—as the third best in history.
These contrasting results highlight core differences between the parties. Democrats are not only more fiercely partisan, but clearly possess much shorter memories.
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