The Votes have been Cast

Tuesday’s mock presidential election at Bowling Green High School (about which a story appears in today’s Daily News) featured more than just the question of who students and staff there want to see in the White House in 2009.

Preliminary results indicate that more people who participated in this mock election voted for Barack Obama than any of the other candidates in either major party, with the Illinois Democratic Senator nearly winning a majority among the 10 Democratic and Republican candidates.

BGHS literacy coach William King told me yesterday that whoever wins among the candidates in the mock election would likely stand to do well in the remaining primaries and the general election this November.

However, I am more interested for the purpose of this post in another question that was asked of BGHS voters:

If miracles could happen, which one of the following Presidents would you want to lead the nation in 2009?

The options presented included these former presidents:

Bill Clinton
Dwight Eisenhower
Thomas Jefferson
John F. Kennedy
Abraham Lincoln
Ronald Reagan
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
George Washington

It’s a good historical exercise and I would be interested in learning whether a student’s preferred former president would be a good indicator of who that student would vote for in the general election on Nov. 4.

Since this won’t be asked of me or any other voters on the actual ballot this November, I feel comfortable pulling the proverbial lever on this issue.

Out of all the former presidents mentioned above, I would give FDR another shot at the White House.

Thinking of the rural Kentucky town in which I was raised, there are probably as many tangible reminders in Flemingsburg of FDR’s policies as there are of any other former president.

The building that served as my middle school and my parents’ high school was the product of the Works Progress Administration, the largest of the New Deal public works projects. The post office in my hometown features a mural on one of the inner walls painted during the Great Depression, part of a WPA art project. Of course, there is also a dwindling but passionate population of World War II veterans who for the most part are only too happy to offer their recollections of that time in history.

To think that so many of those things are still, several generations after the fact, a part of where I grew up makes me curious about how well FDR would fare in the modern world of presidential campaigning, how he would withstand the scrutiny of the 24-hour news cycle and how voters would react to the polio that disabled him (presuming it weren’t vaccinated, he could not possibly hide that particular disability in today’s world). Also, I’m curious about how he would govern under the two-term limit the Constitution set for presidents after he died in office during his fourth term.

Could he be as effective in eight years today as he was in 12 back in the 1930s and ’40s?

I’ll now open the polls to anyone reading this — of the former presidents listed above, who would you like to see come back for another chance at the White House?


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