Author Robert W. Merry wraps up the presidential election - and the inaugural year of the Library's Hail to the Chiefs presidential series - with a fresh, playful, and challenging way of rating our presidents.
He'll show us how it's done in Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Merry examines how and why presidents succeed and fail by recounting the judgments of historians and comparing them to how the voters saw things. Was the president re-elected and did his party hold office in the subsequent election?
Where They Stand explores the chief executives Merry calls "Men of Destiny," those who set the country toward new directions. Contemporaries and historians agree on Lincoln, Washington, and FDR. He describes the "Split-Decision Presidents" (Wilson and Nixon)-successful in their first terms and re-elected; less successful in their second terms and succeeded by the opposition party; the "Near Greats" (Jefferson, Jackson, Polk, TR, Truman); the flat out failures (Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Fillmore, Pierce); and those whose standing has fluctuated (Grant, Cleveland, Eisenhower).
This voyage through all our history provides a sometimes surprising analysis of how presidential politics works, and how the country sets its course. Where They Stand invites readers to pitch their opinions against the voters of old, the historians, the pollsters-and, against the author himself. In this year of presidential politics, Where They Stand will have a huge political presence.
Merry has been a Washington correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the Executive Editor of the Congressional Quarterly.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.
The event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series on the American presidency co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute and co-sponsored by KCUR's Up to Date.