In the news this past week we hear that historian Steven Hayward will start teaching at UC Berkley this fall. We wish him the very best. It is sure to deliver the “challenge” Mr. Hayward seeks over the next three years. With his name in the news, it is worth highlighting his 2012 book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents: From Wilson to Obama. Scholar Hayward, in assessing every President’s record since 1913, recognizes only one in modern time has earned the highest measure of excellence: Calvin Coolidge. Hayward’s reasons deserve serious consideration, especially as we stand poised to vote for the 45th President in just two over months.
Coolidge’s legacy is used to long periods of exile from the public sphere. It looks as if what he did and said might undergo another period of official hostility come January 2017. That is hardly new and Cal will endure whoever reigns next from the White House. His simple yet thoroughly cutting-edge approach to Executive authority will continue to speak to us now and those yet to grow into an appreciation of him. Despite the best efforts to forever silence him, no one has succeeded and nothing ever will. His practical wisdom, firm grasp of eternal essentials, and his astounding success as a courageous and principled voice in the darkest of times will never be extinguished. Mr. Coolidge will press on, furnishing an abiding example prepared for the time when we are brave enough and mature enough to receive it.