Writing at NationalJournal.com Jill Lawrence asks, sardonically, “What does a president have to do these days to get his face carved into a mountainside?” Equally sardonically, I would respond that being president when the carving got done would help.
The individuals who are immortalized on Mount Rushmore:
- Fought a successful revolution, freeing the colonies that formed the basis for our republic, and set the foundations of that republic by leaving office when his term had expired.< ?li>
- Wrote the Declaration of Independence and, when president, doubled the size of the territory of the United States.
- Freed 1/7th of the population of the United States from slavery, saved the Republic, and added the last large chunk of territory to the United States.
You may lionize or demonize the incumbent. I don’t honestly see how anyone in his or her right mind could think that ensuring that 3% more people had healthcare insurance really fits into the same class of accomplishment as those above.
If aspirations are enough to fit the bill, shouldn’t Jimmy Carter’s face be carved into half the mountainsides in the country? Or LBJ’s?
I have been reminded that work on Mount Rushmore didn’t begin until 1927 and T. Roosevelt was selected to balance the presidents depicted between Republicans and Democrats. My point remains: major accomplishment is really the criterion required for that sort of memorialization.