This week I asked readers which one they would most like to sit down with and have a refreshing beverage – and which one was their “favorite”.
Well, he may be first in the minds of his countrymen, but George Washington didn’t turn out to be a very popular drinking buddy. But we’ll get to him in a minute.
I won’t take the time to list the presidents that NO ONE wanted to sit down with. Needless to say it was a longish list.
That said, one person each wanted to have a drink with the following:
John Quincy Adams,
Rutherford B. Hayes,
William Howard Taft,
Warren G. Harding,
Calvin Coolidge, and
George H.W. Bush.
Then in what I think of as the next to the next to the lowest tier were the following:
2.1% - Ulysses S Grant
2.1% - Jimmy Carter
1.4% - Lyndon Johnson
1.4% - Richard Nixon
1.4% - George W. Bush
And then we had the "bottom" of the top 10:
4.9% - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
4.9% - Bill Clinton
4.9% - Barack Obama
3.5% - John F, Kennedy
2.8% - George Washington
Yes, that’s right – the father of our country barely made the top 10!
Now, as for the top five:
Harry S Truman garnered the support of 6.9%, making him the fifth most popular in our beverage sharing list.
Right behind “Give ‘em Hell, Harry” was that old Rough Rider himself; Theodore Roosevelt, with the support of 8.3% of this week’s respondents.
Third-most popular was none other than “The Gipper” – Ronald Reagan, and his 13.9% was nearly good enough for second place….
Second place went to Thomas Jefferson, who received interest from 14.6% of our readers.
Topping the “beverage” list was none other than Abraham Lincoln, who received the support of just over one-in-five (20.8%) of this week’s respondents.
Having established which of our Presidents readers would most like to sit down with, many were also willing to share some insights about why – and in some cases what they’d like to be drinking:
The more I read, know of Mr. Lincoln, the more I am impressed with his impressive achievements.
It would be a good bottle of wine with Obama; if he could answer honestly, I'd be curious if our country's leader is actually allowed to lead, is often influenced by other forces or is a figurehead only and others really run the country. In this era, I cannot imagine why anyone would want to be president.
This is an interesting question since the concept of meeting individually with a President is so far removed from an modern person's universe. The way that these people are shielded and wrapped in a cocoon, while necessary, makes them seem unapproachable and distant. I suspect that any of the Presidents, good or mediocre, would be an interesting partner for conversation.
To sit down and have a drink - it would have to be Grant. A hard drinker, with plenty of stories to tell. Favorite - Jefferson - a complex, flawed, genius.
I don't know much about the earlier presidents as "real people", but from what I have read about Truman, he was a down to earth person. I think he would be one of the few to discuss his term in office without a condescending attitude and might give me some real answers about what it was like during that time.
"Washington's courage in the face of such adversity is extremely admirable. He had a very quiet, forceful demeanor that made his soldiers and the country love him, respect him, and ultimately follow him.
Jackson was a strict constitutionalist and leader of the people."
I think it would be awesome to sit with Honest Abe and listen to him spin a few tales of his life. He could do all the talking. Also, after 146 years he would probably enjoy a refreshing beverage.
You have to love Teddy Roosevelt - the guy just lived a fascinating life. And as for refreshing beverages, I'll take a nice margarita, no salt, please.
I'd love to ask Bill Clinton, "What were you thinking????"
Jefferson was famous for his table and made his own wine. How great would it be to sit with Jefferson and drink a glass of his wine. Or even better, several glasses of his wine.
Actual I would prefer to speak with Eleanor Roosevelt, but if I have to pick a president FDR would be on the top of my list.
"I'd like to know what Washington's take on the revolution is.
Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace, but before that he accomplished a lot. I'd like him to know that not all of America thinks he was a bad president. Most of our politicians are less than honorable, he just got caught. Doesn't make it right, but doesn't erase the good things."
Having a beer with Bubba would be my first choice, since the man has such a good grasp on so many issues and is such a great spellbinder. He could talk a dog off a meat truck. As long as the subject was not politics, I would also like to have a refreshing beverage with the Bushes. Didn't agree with their politics, but they seemed like they'd make good neighbors and throw a great barbecue.
I would most like to sit down to a bourbon with Harry Truman. I like the man's practicality and directness. He is also quite colorful and an open personality. While FDR is my favorite President for all of his accomplishments, he was a closed personality. Even those who were closest to him said, you never really knew what the man was thinking.
I would want to talk with Thomas Jefferson to get his perspective as one of the architects of the Constitution on such issues as gun control, abortion, etc.
I'd have a drink with any of them! They would all be fascinating. I chose Ulysses S. Grant though since I'm a Civil War buff. My favorite is Washington.
It's hard to have a favorite really. History tends to shine up the bright spots in some cases, or throw more muck on others and feelings tend to be most passionate (positive and negative) about the ones of our time. I love what Obama represents, even if I disagree with the way he does his job sometimes. Likewise, I love what the founders represent, even though many of those men had huge flaws that would make them unelectable today. Bottom line, its a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
Nixon might not be a popular choice, but he was the first president that I was aware. As a pre-teen, I was so impressed with what he did with China. I cried when he resigned (hey, I was 10 - give me a break).
Just imagining a Sunday dinner with Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Tyler, Lincoln, Cleveland, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, and Obama - discussing what was envisioned, erred, and accomplished. Maybe IBM's Watson II could take these Presidents' writings/recordings and recreate their visions and personalities for a sitdown discussion on issues we face today?
How could you not pick Clinton? Intelligence, enthusiasm, passion (ok, I don't mean that kind of passion), knowledge and experiences - all combined would make for a fascinating coffee break.
"Millard Fillmore was the president who will live in anonymity. We need more like him. The position should not be a glamour one or a personality contest. It should be a dedicated individual who truly cares about the direction that this nation is headed. Who has no tribute to pay or legacies to build or is attempting to attain rock star status.
Millard was responsible for the 1850's Missouri Compromise but more importantly kept the nation at peace during a very turbulent period in our history. He will never be given his props."
Andrew Jackson is my second choice for both questions.
The refreshing beverage would be wine, as President Jefferson cultivated a vineyard on his Virginia property.
When I look at the list, there are so many that I would like to meet that it's hard to choose one. Theodore Roosevelt would be entertaining and I am sure could regale with stories; Lincoln went through so much turmoil, I would love to listen to him talk about our country's dark time. How was the decision made to drop the bomb, how did the President live with the decision; What was it like to grow up a Kennedy or a Bush? How did Mr. Reagan decide to go into politics? What an intriguing question to ask. Makes me want to study the presidents more. As for the day, I'm not so sure I like what it's become.
Can't say I have a "favorite" President, however if there was an "all except Obama" choice, I would select that in a heartbeat.
It's interesting that 1/3rd of our presidents have served under the "glare" of television, which is of assistance in assessing whether or not one might have a pleasant social refreshment with them. I also hadn't thought much about a favorite, to which so many criteria could be attached. Rather, I chose my "most admired" for the circumstances under which he served and his response to those circumstances in leading our nation. It will be of interest in the future as to how many more presidencies must come and go before we add a female name to the list....
Harry S. is my choice for sharing a beverage...he liked his bourbon and branch water by all reports!; The Gipper is my favorite...he understood the American people and their spirit to overcome adversity! Hope we haven't lost it...
President Carter is a man committed to the good of all people, and was a bold President. As Governor, he was the first southern statewide office holder to publicly state that racial discrimination had no place in the future of the state. As President, he championed energy conservation, and had solar panels installed at the White House. If only we had continued with his vision. He did more for Middle East peace process than any other President. Since leaving office, he received a Nobel Peace Prize, worked on human rights issues across the globe, is a key figure in Habitat for Humanity, relief to Hati, and a multitude of other humanitarian causes. He is probably the humblest former President, and one that should receive more accolades for his successes.
We could really use some "plain speaking" from Harry Truman about now in this country.
LBJ had some of the most impressive accomplishments for the welfare of the citizens of the United States during his presidency and in dealing with so many injustices. Yet the escalation of the Vietnam War is generally the only thing echoes in our minds when we think of him.
"Teddy would have some great stories. His environmental plans were way ahead of his time. At the time of the century when everything was changing so fast. I'm from NY and he did a lot for this state too. I would imagine he'd like a good whiskey.
JFK and his family were the first family I can remember. The news was all over them and I was 8 years old and probably just starting to watch the news."
Two-hearted IPA would be nice - I think Abe might like it!
I also wouldn't mind sitting down with George Washington. I imagine it would also be fascinating.
Some of my favorite comments were:
Refreshing beverages.....Where should I begin?
Does not knowing who all the presidents are make me a living example of the decline of education?
But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who noted, “Rather than sharing a beverage, I'd prefer to play a round of golf with them. It would be a better test of their honesty, humility and decency.”
Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!