- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 27, 2000

About that new C-Span poll ranking the presidents, which was the subject of an editorial in this space on Wednesday. No less than 58 historians decided that Bill Clinton, our 42nd president, is, on the whole, a perfectly mediocre commander in chief, ranking him No. 21. Clustered about him on the list are the rest of the recent chief executives (exception: Ronald Reagan, No. 11), including George Bush (No. 20), Jimmy Carter (No. 22), Gerald Ford (No. 23), and Richard Nixon (No. 25).

This must come as something of a disappointment to the legacy-seeker on Pennsylvania Avenue. Still, it all depends on how you look at things. Remember the difference between optimists and pessimists who argue over whether the glass is half-full, or half-empty? We, who always look on the bright side of things (sometimes even standings on our heads to see it), thought at first that Mr. Clinton had been ranked "behind" Messrs. Carter (No. 22), Ford (No. 23) and Nixon (No. 25). We offered the appropriate sympathies, and pointed out that Mr. Clinton had nonetheless surpassed George Bush (No. 20).

Having recalibrated our slide rule and strenuously recalculated, it now appears that Mr. Clinton, in fact, "leads" the middling moderns, Nixon-through-Carter. Thus, congratulations are in order and to George Bush, who, in turn, tops Mr. Clinton on C-Span's scorecard.

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