June 10, 2005

Greatest American Vote - Carter Kicked Off Island

Ready to learn? The Discovery Channel is having a special series to review notable people in the history of this country and allowing the public to vote on "The Greatest American." It runs each Sunday night during June. They have already compiled a "Top 100" and reduced that to a workable "Top 25." Now, you have the opportunity to vote on this.

Unfortunately for many of you, you have missed out on some of these notable favorites, who already have been sent packing:

Maya Angelo, Jimmy Carter, Cesar Chavez, Hillary Clinton (oh, too bad), Bill Cosby, Brett Favre (he was a finalist!?), Hugh Hefner, Michael Jackson (currently detained), Rush Limbaugh, Abraham Lincoln, Madonna (you're kidding me), Dr. Phil McGraw, Michael Moore (big, I mean really big laugh), Richard Nixon, George Patton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Martha Stewart

My question is how did some of these people get on the Top 100 list at all?

Okay, so who represents the remaining 25 people who have not been voted off of the island as of yet. Well, I have a problem with some of the names on the list and some of the names off of the list, but they are what they are. Here are the finalists in alphabetical order. I have included brief comments about what each did. Be sure to click on each name to see a special picture or feature about that person.

25 Finalists for Greatest American

Muhammed Ali - World Champion Boxer (still a draft dodger in my eyes)
Lance Armstrong - Won Tour de France six times and married to shacks up with slut Sheryl Crow.
Neil Armstrong - First man on the moon to mess up his lines
George W. Bush - Leader of greatest nation in the world
Bill Clinton - President, perjurer, and philanderer
Walt Disney - Mickey's father. Made me smile and got a lot of my money.
Thomas Alva Edison - Invented electric light and a million other things (My mom met him with Henry Ford & Harvey Firestone.)
Albert Einstein - Bombed in math. Used letters instead, like E=MC squared. Made passing physics harder.
Henry Ford - Made NASCAR possible. Introduced mass production of cars.
Benjamin Franklin - Great patriot, on $100 bill, electric personality.
Bill Gates - Made some money as founder of software company.
Billy Graham - One of nation's biggest "savers"
Bob Hope - Entertained our troops. "We thank you so much."
Thomas Jefferson - President, patriot, drafted Declaration of Independence
John F. Kennedy - President, PT Boat skipper, inspired race to moon, model for Bill Clinton
Martin Luther King Jr. - Had a dream, wrote letter from Birmingham jail, led non-violent change, won Nobel Peace Prize.
Abraham Lincoln - President, preserved union, Gettysburg Address, honest, and many "coincidences" with JFK.
Rosa Parks - Sparked civil rights movement by refusing to move to rear of the bus.
Elvis Presley - The King, sang and in movies, was on Ed Sullivan Show, served his country, featured on many velvet paintings.
Ronald Reagan - President, Governor, actor, Ended Cold War, Restored pride and confidence in America.
Eleanor Roosevelt - First Lady, active in social issues, ghost still speaks to Hillary Clinton.
Franklin D. Roosevelt - President, Governor, led U.S. through depression and WW II, began Social Security, moved U.S. left.
George Washington - Father of our Country, President, General, patriot, First in the hearts of his countrymen.
Oprah Winfrey - Television talk show host, actress, inspiration to others, hard worker, came up from poverty.
Wright Brothers - Flew first powered airplane, had to take shoes off and empty pockets before flight.

Okay. Wasn't that fun and educational? It's great to learn! So, now, it's your turn to think.

Who is your "Greatest American" of all time? That person does not have to be on the list. But, if you're going to vote at the Discovery Channel, then you have to pick from the finalists. Now, I may like someone best but might expect another to actually win. If that's you, then, also, let us know whom you think might be the choice of the American public.

Give you answers and your reasons. After you finish commenting here, go vote. Madonna and Michael Moore have been eliminated, so I still have some faith in the American public. Let's do our part and help out more.

To cast your vote, go to THIS PAGE--and, keep up with the program the rest of the month to see if your choice wins. Remember to vote early and often.

Posted by GM Roper at June 10, 2005 08:10 PM | TrackBack

Look, I know how badly you guys need your heroes, But Reagan ending the cold war? I'd say that had more to do with Gorbachev realizing the Soviet economy could not keep pace with us on military spending. You want to give credit to Reagan for increasing our spending? Fine. But the collapse of the USSR would have happened anyway.

Reagan did have the good sense to meet with Gorbachev on many occasions, with good results...can't take that away from him. But does he belong on the list? I don't think so.

Bill Clinton does not belong on the list. George Bush really does not belong on the list. Both should be sent the way of Madonna.

JFK? Had the makings of a great leader. FDR and Lincoln both showed great leadership during extraordinary times, so I'd say they belong on the list. But I wouldn't vote for them.

Washington (in particular) and Jefferson? Now you're talkin...

Posted by jim hitchcock at June 10, 2005 09:36 PM

Eleanor Roosevelt's ghost talks to a woman who undermined welfare with 'welfare reform'? you gotta be kidding, hillary's politics are to the right of Laura Bush these days I'm afraid.

steve, Hillary once confessed that she actually spoke with the ghost of Elenor Roosevelt when she wandered the halls of the White House. I didn't make that up.


Posted by steve at June 10, 2005 10:37 PM

True story. The ghost of Walt Disney once spoke to me during a ride in the Haunted mansion. He said "Never trust Eisner..."

Do you think that Walt's body is really being kept on ice?


Posted by jim hitchcock at June 10, 2005 10:56 PM

Of course not. In Pirates of the Caribbean, he's the pirate with the hairy leg sitting on the bridge.

Posted by jim hitchcock at June 10, 2005 11:13 PM

Oh, that's too funny. I posted the above before I read Woody's link and learned of the 'below the Pirates of the Caribbean' theory.

Posted by jim hitchcock at June 10, 2005 11:26 PM

Thomas Jefferson.

He is one of the lead architects (the?) of our current system of government and a leader in the democratic revolution that has overtaken the Western World in the the last 300 years. He did this despite the inherent risks to his person and property.

All the rest are poseurs.

Posted by too many steves at June 11, 2005 05:58 AM

Steve writes: "Eleanor Roosevelt's ghost talks to a woman who undermined welfare with 'welfare reform'? you gotta be kidding, hillary's politics are to the right of Laura Bush these days I'm afraid."

I can't believe that Steve of all our readers/commenters believes that Hillary has moved to the right of anyone. It's a pose Steve, she is trying to fool the great American public that she is becoming more moderate. So, you are either buying into that pose, or you are part of her conspiracy to help convince America that she is "becoming more moderate. ;-)

Posted by GM Roper at June 11, 2005 09:09 AM

Leaving the paranoid Hillary silliness posted above out of my sights, in the same spirit that I avoid picking up pennies off dirty sidewalks, I think that while one is tempted to pull for one's ideological heroes (for me it would be iconoclastic folks like Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglas, and Martin Luther King Jr. who were critical or subversive of established order) there are truly only a handful of "Greatest Americans" who embodied the fate of the nation at crucial times. Jefferson, even more than Washington, was the visionary who personified our nascent revolutionary democracy in it's earliest decades. And the Louisiana Purchase was as crucial to the country's future as the words he gave us. Lincoln was the man who held it all together. He gave bloody birth to a truly federal republic that was greater than "the sum of it's parts" and at least on paper, the civil war sparked the long process of extending full citizenship rights beyond white, propertied males. And FDR pulled the nation together in the face of economic collapse and world war, laying the groundwork for the modern American state with global reach and a modernized, more populist, regulated economy - a system that even right-wing fanatics don't have the honesty or courage to attack head-on without cloaking their reactionary nonsense in stealth rhetoric acknowledging that the great American majority strongly believes in the foundation, assumptions and broad goals of FDR's New Deal liberalism.

Those are my three - Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR. Of course, there's something slightly un-American about the idea of The Greatest American. And with all due respect, I think that to have sports figures or entertainers contending seriously on such a list is shameful and embarrassing. But that's just my opinion. Some folks actually vote for these types when they jump into the political arena, so I guess I'm in a distinct minority. All I can say is that if the Democrats ever sink to nominating Oprah for President, it will be my signal to finally jump ship.

Posted by reg at June 11, 2005 12:30 PM

To respond more directly to Woody's comments, I DID indeed learn something from all of this. I had no idea Lance Armstrong was married to Sheryl Crowe.

Also, I think that George Washington will win the contest. I'd pick Jefferson if I had to vote for one. But he's a little obscure for a group that's got him running against Oprah. I think people might have actually heard of Washington because of his prominent place on our object of worship - The Almighty Dollar - and therefore will assume that he is, in fact, The Greatest! (With all due respect to Oprah, Elvis and Ali.)

Posted by reg at June 11, 2005 12:37 PM

"Those are my three - Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR." My choices as well, although I'm less sure about FDR. Perhaps King or Edison would be on the list. But, the neat thing about the list, is that, as Woody noted, folks like Carter get "voted off the island."

Posted by GM Roper at June 11, 2005 12:44 PM

"Look, I know how badly you guys need your heroes, But Reagan ending the cold war? I'd say that had more to do with Gorbachev realizing the Soviet economy could not keep pace with us on military spending."

Nope. Stefan Possony had more to do with the fall of the Soviet Union than any other single person. Including Gorbachev and Reagan, who were both late players in that game.


That aside, no other person even belongs on that list with George Washington. By contemporaneous witness of those present at the Constitutional Convention, there would not even BE a United States of America without his influence.

Posted by David at June 11, 2005 01:00 PM

David, I was going to rethink my putting Jefferson over Washington as The Greatest. I probably still should, just as an excercise in self-education. But I let myself off the hook when I considered that you assert Possony, not Ronnie or Gorby, was the architect of the fall of the USSR. Everybody who isn't a total nitwit knows the man most responsible for that was Max Shachtman.

Posted by reg at June 11, 2005 02:40 PM


I was a little hasty providing some information about which I made an incorrect assumption--but I will remedy that now here and on the post itself.

Lance Armstrong is DATING Sheryl Crow--NOT MARRIED to her.

I apologize for this, as I think it might be the first time that something was posted on the internet that was not correct.

Posted by Woody at June 11, 2005 03:59 PM

Hold up on Thomas Jefferson.

Here's what's happening with the Berkeley School Board and the controversy over a school named after Jefferson. The school board has to consider changing the school's name. "Parents, students, and teachers at the school voted to change the school name because the nation's third president owned slaves. Debate over the name of the school has continued for more than two years after several teachers, including an African American mother of three former Jefferson students, said Jefferson's name offended them."

Well, there you have it. Everything good that Thomas Jefferson did no longer counts because he owned slaves 200 years ago. Now, what am I going to tell my black friend whose name is Washington?


Posted by Woody at June 11, 2005 04:52 PM

I changed my mind... the greatest is Thomas Alva Edison, otherwise we would be reading our computer screens by candlelight. :-)

Posted by GM Roper at June 11, 2005 06:26 PM

"I can't believe that Steve of all our readers/commenters believes that Hillary has moved to the right of anyone"

I havent' said she's 'moved' to the right. She's always been a right of center Democrat. On key issues of the day she is no different from Bush:

Invade Iraq/Occupy Iraq/Give Pentagon whatever it requests for the occupation and more

Support of Ariel Sharon

HMO as the mechanism to privatize health care [ok, Bush stands for more extreme forms of privatization, same difference]

Cuts in social security funds/incremental privatization [ok, Bush wants outright privatization, same difference different pace]

1980's support for Contras in Nicaragua and Afghanistan [actively supported both actually]

Support of bombing of Yugoslavia

Support for dropping more bomb tonnage on Iraq than any country since the Vietnam War...
Full support for sanctions against Iraq...

etc. etc.

Posted by steve at June 12, 2005 12:33 PM

"But Reagan ending the cold war? I'd say that had more to do with Gorbachev realizing the Soviet economy could not keep pace with us on military spending."

Nonsense. Till this day, the liberal media pundits and leftwing historians, still don't give President Reagan the credit he's due for ending the Cold War. Reagan was THE catalyst in toppling the communist state run gov't and setting in motion events that would lead to the breakup of the USSR. Even former soviet officials admit this.

Read "Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism," by Peter Schweizer

"You want to give credit to Reagan for increasing our spending? Fine. But the collapse of the USSR would have happened anyway."

I keep hearing that from the Left -- now that Communism has fallen in Russia and Europe. But what were they saying DURING the Cold War? Quite the opposite.

They sneered at Reagan for daring to call the U.S.S.R. an "Evil Empire" (which it obviously was). They sneered at Reagan when he predicted that Communism would go down as "a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written." They sneered at Reagan when he urged "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Fuzzy "Liberals" like Arthur M. Schlessinger ridiculed predictions that the Soviet economy was failing. They insisted that Communism was here to stay, a permanent fact of life, that it was invincible, the "wave of the future", a superior system to our own, and that we must "coexist" with it.

It's amazing how many supposedly "brilliant" men, particularly those in the media and in Democratic political circles (whoops, same thing) were proclaiming the Soviet economy a miracle.

Let me remind you not only of Schlessinger, but Strobe Talbott, who for years maintained the worker's paradise of the Soviet Union was a land of milk and honey, then, post-Berlin Wall, did a complete about-face and claimed its demise was inevitable and that Reagan had nothing to do with it.

Writing during the mid-1980s, Strobe Talbott, then a journalist at Time and later an official in the Clinton State Department, faulted officials in the Reagan administration for espousing "the early fifties goal of rolling back Soviet domination of Eastern Europe," an objective he considered unrealistic and dangerous. "Reagan is counting on American technological and economic predominance to prevail in the end," Talbott scoffed, adding that if the Soviet economy was in a crisis of any kind "it is a permanent, institutionalized crisis with which the U.S.S.R. has learned to live."

Historian Barbara Tuchman argued that instead of employing a policy of confrontation, the West should ingratiate itself with the Soviet Union by pursuing "the stuffed-goose option -- that is, providing them with all the grain and consumer goods they need."

I found more goods in the shops, more food in the markets, more cars on the street ... those in the United States who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse, ready with one small push to go over the brink are wishful thinkers who are only kidding themselves. - Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., 1982.

"The Soviet Union is not now, nor will it be during the next decade, in the throes of a true systematic crisis, for it boasts enormous unused reserves of political and social stability that suffice to endure the deepest difficulties." -- Seweryn Bialer, Professor of Political Science, Columbia University, Foreign Affairs Magazine, 1982/3.

Compare that to:

"What we see here is a political structure that no longer corresponds to its economic base, a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones. It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying freedom and human dignity to its citizens. A march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history". -Ronald Reagan, Address to the British Parliament, June 1982.

Reagan in Geneva in November 1985: "What you are doing in Afghanistan in burning villages and killing children," he said. "It's genocide, and you are the one who has to stop it." At this point, according to aide Kenneth Adelman, who was present, Gorbachev looked at Reagan with a stunned expression, apparently because no one had talked to him this way before.

Reagan also threatened Gorbachev. "We won't stand by and let you maintain weapon superiority over us," he told him. "We can agree to reduce arms, or we can continue the arms race, which I think you know you can't win." The extent to which Gorbachev took Reagan's remarks to heart became obvious at the October 1986 Reykjavik summit.

A story of RR was provided by George Will (I think it was Will): Gorby was getting a ticker-tape parade in NYC after the signing of the treaty (after the talks in Iceland fell apart due to Reagan's insistance on retaining the Pershing missles in Europe and the SDI). Reagan had a quiet dinner in the White House with a few friends, and the writer (Will?) was included. The talk of course was about the just signed treaty, Reagan was reticent on the topic - after numerous requests to give his view of what the treaty meant, Reagan quietly said, "It means the end of the Soviet Union."

He had just achieved his fondest political dream, his greatest victory - and while his vanquished foe was celebrated as a hero by Reagan's own people, Reagan quietly dined with friends, and only reluctantly spoke of his freshest and greatest accomplishment.

Posted by ANONYMOUS at June 13, 2005 09:49 AM



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