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American Presidents Aren’t All That Great47:33
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Greatness and the American Presidency. Aaron David Miller says aim for good. Really good.

A statue of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on New York City's Roosevelt Island. (Flickr / Alexisrael)
A statue of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on New York City's Roosevelt Island. (Flickr / Alexisrael)

Do you want a great president? Would you settle for a good president? Would a good president be better? More sturdy? Focused? Americans have a whole lot of worries these days. A sense that national leadership — from Congress right on up — is missing in action, or just not cutting it. Aaron David Miller says we're not likely to have another "great" president, in the Vein of Washington, Lincoln, FDR. That we know too much in the media age for them to emerge. So where, who, do we get the next "good" president that we need? This hour On Point: the great, the good and the American Presidency.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Aaron David Miller, vice president for New Initiatives and distinguished scholar in the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Author of the new book "The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have and Doesn't Want Another Great President." Also author of "The Much Too Promised Land," "Search for Security" and "The Arab States and the Palestinian Question." (@aarondmiller2)

From Tom's Reading List

NPR News: FDR Was The Last Great President. Let's Never Have Another — "Who was the last great president of the United States? Well, if you're not on Social Security, you wouldn't be old enough to have seen one, says author Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In his new book, 'The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President,' Miller concludes that we've had three great leaders."

Foreign Policy: We Have Reached Peak President — "Today we are consumed with leaders and leadership as the solution, if not the panacea, to just about everything that ails us. We admire the bold, transformational leader who seeks fundamental change, and value less the cautious transactor who negotiates, triangulates, and settles for less dramatic results. And we tend to forget too that great leaders almost always emerge in times of national crisis, trauma, and exigency, a risk we run if we hunger for the return of such leaders. "

Kansas City Star: Why the U.S. really doesn’t want another truly great president — "America’s obsession with finding its next great president is far from healthy and likely will never be realized, a senior Washington insider contends in a new book."

Read An Excerpt Of "The End Of Greatness" By Aaron David Miller

This program aired on October 20, 2014.

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