Archive for Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lectures to discuss new picks for Mount Rushmore

January 30, 2011


Lecture series dates

Richard Norton Smith will present the upcoming lecture series at the Dole Institute of Politics arguing for his choices for a 20th-century Mount Rushmore.

Ronald Reagan

3 p.m. today at the Dole Institute.

A public reception for Smith will follow at 4:30 p.m. at the Seymour Gallery at the Lied Center.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Dole Institute.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Dole Institute.

Woodrow Wilson

7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Dole Institute

A former Dole Institute director will return to the institute beginning today to deliver a series of lectures outlining his version of a 20th-century Mount Rushmore.

Richard Norton Smith has chosen four new presidents for inclusion on the mountain: Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Smith, a presidential scholar, left the Dole Institute to serve as president of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill. Today, he is a scholar-in-residence at George Mason University.

The series begins with a discussion of Reagan today with Bill Lacy, current Dole Institute director who also worked as a Reagan political director.

Without wanting to give away too much of his planned presentations in a recent interview, Smith talked about his four selections.

“Other people would make their own choices, and that’s part of the appeal to this,” he said, adding that he hoped his presentations would involve lively discussions with audience participation as well.

He qualified his selections by saying that he tried to pick the four presidents of the century with the greatest historical significance.

Eisenhower, for example, in his famous Farewell Address references the burden of the debt that the country was passing on to its children and grandchildren. That’s certainly a relevant topic today, Smith said.

“Probably the most controversial of my choices would be Woodrow Wilson,” he said.

Even so, he said, it’s hard to argue that Wilson — who pushed for international collaboration with his League of Nations idea that ultimately failed — was not one of the most influential presidents of the century. When it comes to foreign relations, most presidents have either adopted a Wilsonian or non-Wilsonian approach.

He called Franklin D. Roosevelt the man who invented the modern presidency.

“You could say that of Teddy Roosevelt, but he’s already on Mount Rushmore,” Smith said.

Both Franklin Roosevelt and Reagan transformed the modern presidency, he said, in addition to their own political parties. They’re both extremely polarizing figures, but yet both enjoyed huge popularity during their terms, he said.

Lacy said he was looking forward to Smith’s presentations, and that he anticipated the program would be well-received.

“I think there is a fascination with our presidents,” Lacy said. “Whether they were successful or flawed, there is a tremendous amount of interest in them.”


Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

Reagan, the architect of our current economic meltdown, (Voodoo economics anyone?) it's now pretty generally accepted that the last year he was in office his Alzheimer's was beginning to interfere with his presidency and Nancy ran the country with his staffers. Woodrow Wilson, who denied recognition or assistance to the fledgling Irish Republic because he didn't want to pss off his cronies in Britain. His wishy washy stance on WWI also contributed to the Bolshevik Revolution and the establishment of the Communist state, paving the way for Stalin. For the last year of his second term, his administration was also run by his wife, Edith, after he collapsed from a profound stroke in 1919. Dwight Eisenhower. A contemporary pundit said that if you wind the Eisenhower doll up it stands there and does nothing. He was a caretaker president...for eight years. Franklin Roosevelt, the only president who might* deserve being up there (in fact he should replace Teddy, who definitely doesn't). He ushered us through the worst depression this country has ever seen and then followed it up by leading us through most of the worst war we had ever seen (to that time). Dear god I wish we had an FDR now.


Stuart Evans 3 years, 2 months ago

I would rather see a tribute to the worst presidents. people could line up to throw tomatoes and such.


Bill Lee 3 years, 2 months ago

I think we should update the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, DC, to include the two stars that are on the flag now, but weren't during WW II. That would make as much sense as doing anything to Mt. Rushmore. I know this is a "what if" lecture, but why waste the time on an idea we all know won't happen.


labmonkey 3 years, 2 months ago

The presidents that need to be on Mt. Rushmore:


jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

Pres. Ford - At a time when we needed a caretaker president to simply get us to the next election, he did it.


rockchalker52 3 years, 2 months ago

True Americans: James Garner, Groucho Marx, Howdy Doody & ScoobyDoo. Ruh roh!


jonas_opines 3 years, 2 months ago

I wonder, if they were able to be asked, how the presidents whose likenesses are currently imprinted on the mountain would feel about it.


Fossick 3 years, 2 months ago

Woodrow Wilson? Good grief. He was the single worst president ever inflicted on this great nation.

We would be better served by replacing him with Al Capone or John Gotti.


JJE007 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh waste of rock end your chiseling and monumental church your congregation passes gas off as communion skittles and cherry picking nannies cry in glee Oh

waste of rock my electrons join you cut in stone

cold in the end


Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 2 months ago

I seem to recall that I read several years ago that there will be no more sculptures on Mount Rushmore for the simple reason that there is no suitable granite left.


number3of5 3 years, 2 months ago

I think our mountains are destroyed enough. Just forget the existing sculptures, don't add any more and let nature recreate her beauty.


irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

this is stupid, they aren't going to build it and why should anybody care who he wants on it.


ophiuchus 3 years, 2 months ago

With a little work, I think the existing likenesses could be refashioned into those of the Beatles.


none2 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm shocked that they didn't recommend Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Calvin Coolage, & Warren Harding.

In all honesty, I'm shocked that they didn't include Truman. Historians give him a bit higher marks than Eisenhower, and much higher than Reagan.


pizzapete 3 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe he isn't considering putting Bush up there, the guy was a two term president, one of the greatest ever. Maybe they could break the mountian in half and put him in the center.


autie 3 years, 2 months ago

I think it should me...neatly wedged in up by those other guys.


Flap Doodle 3 years, 2 months ago

Michael Reagan considers his attention-whore brother to be an attention-whore.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Ronald Reagan, Jr. considers the worship of his father by conservatives to be a bizarre form of fetishism.


thuja 3 years, 2 months ago

Haven't we altered the landscape enough already?

Make your Mountain out of mashed potatoes, man!


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