We all probably have a favorite president or two, but which of them is most like you in their beliefs? Not every president is included (sorry Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt), but this quick quiz should help you discover which of our many leaders is a kindred spirit.
The points have nothing to do with whether one is "winning" or "losing," just add them up as you go. They'll come into play at the end.
1. Which of these traits do you value most?
One point: Unwavering honesty.
Two points: Being an efficient manager.
Three points: Resolute patriotism.
Four points: Unflappable realism.
Five points: Charisma and indefatigability.
Six points: Eloquence and intellectualism.
Seven points: Compassion for the less fortunate.
Eight points: The ability to shoulder terrible emotional burdens for a greater cause.
2. How would your enemies (or frenemies) criticize you?
One point: As overly rigid in your ideas.
Two oints: As uncharismatic.
Three points: As uncaring toward the poor.
Four points: As lacking core, consistent beliefs.
Five Points: As slick and dishonest.
Six points: As flat-out un-American.
Seven points: As an enemy to business rights.
Eight points: As an enemy to states' rights.
3. Which of these quotes best captures your view of government's role in the economy?
One point: "Though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. ... federal aid ... encourages the expectation of paternal care."
Two points: "By exaggerating the defects of our present condition ... [and] holding up to the feverish imagination of the less fortunate ... a condition of popular unrest has been produced."
Three points: "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
Four points: "[Government should] preserve the greatest possible initiative, freedom and independence of...the individual...but not hesitate to combat cataclysmic economic disasters."
Five points: "All Americans have ... a solid responsibility to rise as far as their God-given talents can take them; and to give something back to their communities and their country in return."
Six points: "If the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody."
Seven points: "It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."
Eight points: "Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
4. Which of the following options is most attractive?
One point: Eliminating rampant corruption and making government as small as possible.
Two points: Implementing, in a quiet fashion, various small social reforms.
Three points: Shrinking the size of the welfare state and restoring patriotic pride.
Four points: Establishing a period of calm after an era of social and international tempest.
Five points: Presiding over prosperity at home and dominance overseas.
Six points: Being responsible for winding down major international wars.
Seven points: Doing whatever it takes to alleviate the suffering of the poor.
Eight points: Limiting the spread of a great human rights atrocity by putting it on the path toward eventual extinction.
5. Which of the following quotes best captures your view of America's role in the world?
One point: "If national honesty is to be disregarded and a desire for territorial extension ... regulates our conduct, I have entirely misapprehended the mission and character of our Government and the behavior...our people demands of their public servants."
Two points: "This policy has been characterized as substituting dollars for bullets."
Three points: "The opportunity society that we want for ourselves we also want for others, not because we're imposing our system on others but because those opportunities belong to all people as God-given birthrights."
Four points: "Since the advent of nuclear weapons, it seems clear that there is no longer any alternative to peace, if there is to be a happy and well world."
Five points: "We cannot, indeed, we should not, do everything or be everywhere. But where our values and our interests are at stake, and where we can make a difference, we must be prepared to do so."
Six points: "We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified."
Seven points: "We must be the great arsenal of democracy."
Eight points: "Both parties [disapproved of] war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came."
6. Which of the following themes is best for a presidential campaign?
One point: "Above all, tell the truth."
Two point: "Good times."
Three points: "Let's make America great again."
Four points: "I like
Five points: "It's the economy, stupid."
Six points: "Hope and change!"
Seven points: "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people."
Eight points: "The Union must and shall be preserved."
To get your results: Divide your final sum by six, round it to the nearest whole number and match it to the list of corresponding presidents below.
1 point: Grover Cleveland
While not one of our better known presidents, Cleveland is as close to a libertarian as any "modern" (i.e., post-Civil War) president we've had. Unimpeachably honest, he viewed any state involvement in the economy as inherently corrupt and foreign policy interventions as dangerous steps toward imperialism.
2 points: William Taft
Known for organized management style, Taft was criticized for lacking the celebrity appeal of his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt. Nevertheless, Taft passed many important reforms, even as he staved off more radical alternatives. He can best be described as a civic reformer.
3 points: Ronald Reagan
Like the Gipper, you are a mainstream conservative in the contemporary sense of the term — favoring a strong foreign policy, pro-business and anti-welfare economic programs, and loud and proud professions of patriotism.
4 points: Dwight Eisenhower
The ultimate pragmatist, Eisenhower was suspicious of all ideology and wanted, above all else, a small 'c' conservative (which, as defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, meant being "marked by moderation or caution"). One of his core principles was the conviction that "in a democracy debate is the breath of life."
5 points: Bill Clinton
An outspoken proponent of a so-called "Third Way," Clinton argued that a centrist course that adopted the best ideas from both liberals and conservatives would lead America to greatness.
6 points: Barack Obama
Though not as left wing as some of the other presidents on this list, Obama's presidency represented a marked shift toward a new brand of pluralistic liberalism, one that separated itself from the centrism that defined Democratic politics in the post-Reagan era but was not as assertively progressive as the party's post-FDR governing ideals.
7 points: Franklin Roosevelt
Though often regarded as the quintessential American left-wing idealist, Roosevelt's progressivism stemmed not from a core ideology but rather a belief that bold experimentation was necessary when confronting domestic calamities (like the Great Depression) and international crises (like World War II). This led him to make revolutionary policy changes, but they were the incidental ends of a programmatically proactive temperament.
8 points: Abraham Lincoln
Although not commonly regarded as a leftist, Lincoln supported extensive federal spending on infrastructure (both to develop America and create jobs), formed the Department of Agriculture, passed both the first income tax and the first progressive income tax, gave away cheap public land, built the transcontinental railroad, created land-grant colleges (the forebears of today's public universities) and established a series of national banks to regulate the economy.
Which one are you?