May/June 1998 | Volume 49, Issue 3
President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States of America. Stubborn, inflexible, overrating his own limited military knowledge, a poor judge of character, a man of prejudices and overwhelming pride, he was—as can be seen in retrospect—a terrible choice for the leadership of a cause that desperately needed vision and political skill rather than personal and regional arrogance.
Richard Nixon, whose involvement in the Watergate offenses and whose unpleasant personal characteristics and attitudes cause many to overlook the many accomplishments of his first administration: SALT I, the volunteer army, the EPA and other environmental landmarks, affirmative action (the Philadelphia Plan), the 1970 gains in school desegregation, the first wage and price controls in peacetime, federal revenue-sharing with states and localities, and—though defeated by Democratic Congresses—the most far-reaching welfare-reform proposal in history, as well as an early health-care proposal.
If that be treason, make the most of it!