- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2010

Former President Ronald Reagan could achieve a newfound currency: his face emblazoned on a crisp $50 bill. The Gipper could supplant Grant.

That is the intent of Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, who would like to replace the face of Ulysses S. Grant with Reagan’s image on that particular greenback. The North Carolina Republican introduced legislation to that effect on Tuesday.

“Every generation needs its own heroes,” Mr. McHenry said. “One decade into the 21st century, it’s time to honor the last great president of the 20th and give President Reagan a place beside Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy.”

The latter two are emblazoned on the dime and half dollar, respectively.

“President Reagan was a modern day statesman, whose presidency transformed our nation’s political and economic thinking,” Mr. McHenry continued. “Through both his domestic and international policies he renewed America’s self confidence, defeated the Soviets and taught us that each generation must provide opportunity for the next.”

America’s 40th president hasn’t lost popularity with the public either. Harris polls and other opinion trackers have consistently placed Reagan in the nation’s top-10 favorite presidents. In this year’s annual historical presidential poll, Reagan was in second place, only outranked by Abraham Lincoln, Harris found.

Mr. McHenry cited a 2005 Wall Street Journal survey that ranked Reagan sixth on the White House hit parade — and Grant in the 29th spot.

Meanwhile, there are currently two efforts afoot to name a mountain after Reagan before Feb. 6, 2011 — what would have been Reagan’s 100th birthday.

Citizen Outreach Foundation, a public policy group, is determined that peak be in Nevada, and has already launched a “naming project” for the effort.

“President Reagan’s many achievements, especially victory in the Cold War, warrants this type of honor,” said Reagan historian Craig Shirley.

In a petition before the federal U.S. Board on Geographic Names, California-based Christian activist Arthur Mijares has proposed that 3,849-foot high “Mount Diablo” in Contra Costa County be renamed for Reagan.

Still, Mr. McHenry’s efforts are drawing partisan reactions. At least one Democrat — Rep. Brad Sherman of California — has stepped forward in protest, deeming Reagan “too controversial” to appear on the money.

Sarcasm has surfaced in the press as well.

“$50 for Reagan’s head,” wrote Richard Adams of Britain’s Guardian newspaper Wednesday.

“What did Grant ever do? Apart from win the Civil War for the North and so save the union. And end Reconstruction. And defend African Americans and native American civil rights. And sign the treaty of Washington,” Mr. Adams quipped. “But apart from that, what? Did he conquer Grenada? No. Did he star in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo’? No.”

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