Washington. Lincoln. Roosevelt. Reagan.
These are the names that most often come up when Americans are asked to list who they think was the greatest American president. But not Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm, who casts his lot with the often-overlooked, one-term George H.W. Bush.
In honor of President’s Day, conservative blog FrumForum asked the new Republican members of Congress to name their favorite former commander-in-chief, leaving President Reagan out (“to give the other presidents a fair chance”). The most popular was President Lincoln with five votes of the 14, followed by President Teddy Roosevelt with three votes and President Jefferson with two votes. The remaining four presidents received only one vote each.
The freshman praised Roosevelt’s “can-do spirit,” Jefferson’s many interests, and Coolidge’s ability to shrink the federal budget.
Grimm’s vote however was the sole that went for the first George Bush. The congressman said he named Bush because as a marine in Operation Desert Storm during the first Bush’s presidency.
“He has the best experience any president can have from his service in the military, to his leadership as an ambassador, his time as a U.S. congressman, his role as the Director of the CIA, and his two terms as Vice President,” Grimm said of Bush the elder.
Grimm didn’t stop there:
“President George H. W. Bush is the greatest and most dignified American I have ever had the privilege and honor to meet,” he added.
The elder Bush was a close ally of former Congressman Guy Molinari, who was a major backer of Grimm’s campaign to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon.
And Grimm may approve of Bush’s ability to judge people: he travelled to the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine to receive a rare endorsement of the former President during the campaign.
According to a recent Gallup poll, it looks like Grimm is in the minority. When asked which president was best- from both parties, and including Reagan- only 5% of Republicans answered H.W. Bush. Other votes of note included Reagan who received 38% of the vote and the younger Bush, who received no votes.