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Reagan tops Lincoln
November 9, 2006 5:56 AM   Subscribe

A poll that the GOP is actually winning Reagan?! What is happening to The Atlantic?
posted by papoon (85 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
No gg allin. Damn librul media.
posted by bardic at 5:59 AM on November 9, 2006


Saying someone is "influential" is not necessarily an endorsement.
posted by glenwood at 6:06 AM on November 9, 2006


Wait... Albert Einstein is considered an American? George W. deserves mention? Wow, there are just so many things wrong with the basic choices offered, let alone the results...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:07 AM on November 9, 2006


where's the result? I just see 20 choices including reagan and lincoln, as well as pretty much all the usual suspects... I'd think practically everyone except john marshall, and maybe alexander hamilton, would be suggested in any high school classroom as possibilities.
posted by mdn at 6:08 AM on November 9, 2006


I don't think this means what you think it means.
posted by OmieWise at 6:08 AM on November 9, 2006


There are some items on a list that I don't agree with!
posted by gwint at 6:09 AM on November 9, 2006 [3 favorites]


Polling software by Diebold, Inc. Seriously, though, I'd call Reagan mighty influential. More so than even, say, Jim Jones or David Koresh.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:11 AM on November 9, 2006


And GhostintheMachine, Albert Einstein became a US citizen, so we can count him on our team.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:12 AM on November 9, 2006


Freeped poll. Wingers love these things 'cause "unscientific" is their domain.

To see the percentages you must click on one of the choices.

Let me recommend Washington instead of Saint Raygun?
posted by nofundy at 6:15 AM on November 9, 2006


I voted for Bill Gates. His geeky appearance and demeanor got us gently used to the idea that some people can have more money than a lot of countries.
posted by clevershark at 6:18 AM on November 9, 2006


FoB: I know he became a citizen in 1940, but I think it's safe to say the majority of his influence on America came well before then.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:21 AM on November 9, 2006


Personally, I'd go with Jefferson instead of Washington.
And I would think Rockefeller or Carnegie (or insert your favorite robber baron here) would be considered influential, yet somehow they're not on there, but Gates is? Really? Is it because they're already on the list?
posted by symbioid at 6:21 AM on November 9, 2006


When I checked, George Bush had 2.8% to Martin Luther King's 2.5%. ummm...
posted by cal71 at 6:22 AM on November 9, 2006


This list is really biased to current celebrities: Oprah, Reagan; and founding fathers: Franklin, Hamilton. It's almost as bad as those Greatest "Insert plurality here" tv shows that were on a few years ago.

My point: Jacques Brel won in Belgium. That says enough about the validity of these kinds of contests.
posted by parmanparman at 6:23 AM on November 9, 2006


"Of all time"? What, did someone forget to pay the time bill again? I wasn't aware that we'd reached the end.

Here's a pro tip for the mainstream publishing community: In the face of the vastness of time itself, the USA is going to be the merest blip in the footnotes of history. Of course, that sells neither magazines nor consumer confidence.

That being said, perhaps without Einstein we'd have no Reagan, being that one of his most notable accomplishments was assisting in finally bankrupting the USSR via the Cold War.

And without Wozniak and Jobs, we'd undoubtably have no Gates.
posted by loquacious at 6:24 AM on November 9, 2006


You do realize this is an internet poll, right? It doesn't really say anything about The Atlantic -- at most it says something about a few thousand random people who happen to find out about the poll's existence.

Voted for FDR, by the way. Much of our modern social system can largely be tracked back to his administration.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:26 AM on November 9, 2006


Reagan's appeal is timeless. Americans love massacres of Latin American peasants.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:30 AM on November 9, 2006 [2 favorites]


It does seem an odd list - I don't think I've ever seen Einstein referred to as American before, putting Bush on there is just silly (regardless of what one thinks of him, he hasn't been around long enough for anyone to judge his potential influence), and what's with the baseball player?
posted by jack_mo at 6:31 AM on November 9, 2006


Oh shit, I clicked on Reagan to see his percentage, and that turns out to be a vote for Reagan. I feel so dirty!
posted by OmieWise at 6:36 AM on November 9, 2006


These excercises are pretty silly. That said, there is only Lincoln.
posted by LarryC at 6:36 AM on November 9, 2006


Damned liberal media.

Aren't we only now digging out of the 'influence' of Reagan? he is influential, not necessarily "good." Although what he did in Grenada was pretty spectacular.

Oh and that Iran weapon thing too...
posted by mountainmambo at 6:38 AM on November 9, 2006


If the Rolling Stones aren't on this poll, it's useless.
posted by spicynuts at 6:38 AM on November 9, 2006


and what's with the baseball player?

You're joking, right?
posted by justgary at 6:39 AM on November 9, 2006


OmieWise, you're fired.
posted by Stauf at 6:40 AM on November 9, 2006


Where's Tony Danza?!?
posted by jefbla at 6:42 AM on November 9, 2006


Or K-Fed?
posted by mountainmambo at 6:42 AM on November 9, 2006


what's with the baseball player?

Jackie Robinson was the first black player in the major leagues.

(Which isn't exactly true, as there were a couple of black players in the 19th century, but he's regarded as the guy who integrated MLB post Gentleman's Agreement.)

It's felt his performance in the majors was a catalyst for the Civil Rights movement. Which is mostly true, but it's a question of how much is myth overriding actual history.

Sorry for only using Wikipedia links.
posted by dw at 6:42 AM on November 9, 2006


What's with having George Washington on the list? I mean, I know that he became an American citizen later in life, but he was British.

loquacious, you're so right about the blip in history thing. They should have a "Most insignificant nation in history" poll so that everyone can vote for the U.S.
posted by XMLicious at 6:47 AM on November 9, 2006


Haha, Albert Einstein. Good one.
posted by fire&wings at 6:49 AM on November 9, 2006


There's just no other way to put than anybody who would pick Reagan (on purpose) over Jefferson or Franklin is just ignorant.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:50 AM on November 9, 2006


Whatever image is in the top-left corner will win. That's how these things work.
posted by stbalbach at 6:50 AM on November 9, 2006


Presidents have power, not influence. Same goes for insanely rich people like Gates and Oprah. The truly influential can bring about real change without money or power. That's why my vote goes to MLK.
posted by rocket88 at 6:52 AM on November 9, 2006


I don't think this means what you think that I think it means.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:56 AM on November 9, 2006


where's Elvis?
posted by jonmc at 7:03 AM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]



There are some items on a list that I don't agree with!


Your favorite influential sucks.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:03 AM on November 9, 2006


This reminds me of the Discovery Channel's Greatest American poll. Guess who won! Go on, guess!
posted by zsazsa at 7:04 AM on November 9, 2006


Fired? That's a little harsh. How about you just throw me out of the mental hospital that has been my home so that I can live homeless on the streets of the nation's capital?
posted by OmieWise at 7:07 AM on November 9, 2006


I'm in ur poll votin for ur influential doodz!
posted by pardonyou? at 7:08 AM on November 9, 2006


How about you just throw me out of the mental hospital that has been my home so that I can live homeless on the streets of the nation's capital?

OK. As long as you're out there cab you pick us up some crack? Thanks.
posted by jonmc at 7:10 AM on November 9, 2006


Well, I hear the Reagan years did wonders for LA commuters' marksmanship abilities. That's always something.
posted by clevershark at 7:14 AM on November 9, 2006


Needs midi.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:15 AM on November 9, 2006


Reagan's got two fucking nuclear reactors and displaces 90,000 fucking tonnes and is actually the fucking empire state building's horizontal fucking twin and can go 20 fucking years between refueling . Unless you have a particle uplink cannon that is pretty fucking unbeatable fucking influence at least until the GLA arrive.

Strange that Clinton isn't on the list since he is still responsible for everything that happens 6 years after he stepped down.
posted by srboisvert at 7:16 AM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Alexander Hamilton was an incredibly influential dude but never gets any respect. So I voted for him. Surely this will turn the tide in his favor.
posted by Kwine at 7:18 AM on November 9, 2006


I voted for mathowie

what do you mean that's Eleanor Roosevelt???
posted by felix betachat at 7:19 AM on November 9, 2006


where's Elvis?
posted by jonmc at 9:03 AM CST on November 9


I'm a little shocked and ashamed that that was my first question too.

Conservatives have this obsessive need to deify Reagan in any way conceivably possible. They really wish to bestow Sainthood upon him, but of course WASPs don't do that sort of thing.

The movement to put Reagan on the currency is a prime example.

Reagan Airport still cracks me up.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:24 AM on November 9, 2006


I'm a little shocked and ashamed that that was my first question too.

There is no shame in the Elvis-love, my man.

The movement to put Reagan on the currency is a prime example.

I say sure. Put him on the three dollar bill. Bonzo, too.
posted by jonmc at 7:28 AM on November 9, 2006


gandhi isn't even on this list!!! it's also missing bono and god.
posted by snofoam at 7:32 AM on November 9, 2006


Oh, and I voted for Gates. Having the man with the most bajillion dollars in the world living in your country makes him almost automatically the most influential person.

I guess its all in how you measure influence.

I would have voted for Elvis because during his time on top, he could have easily amassed an army of millions of girls and women who would have gladly died for him.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:32 AM on November 9, 2006


I'm in ur poll votin for ur influential doodz!

Why does this meme crack me up every freakin time? I say put THAT on the list.

And oh yeah...HUGH!!!!
posted by spicynuts at 7:34 AM on November 9, 2006


I would have voted for Elvis because during his time on top, he could have easily amassed an army of millions of girls and women who would have gladly died for him.

He also hooked up with Ann Margret. For that alone, he is a giant among men.
posted by jonmc at 7:36 AM on November 9, 2006


Not only is Oprah on the list, she's got more votes than seven other people (when I checked, anyway). I would weep for my country, but I got distracted by a shiny thing.
posted by languagehat at 7:46 AM on November 9, 2006


I would weep for my country, but I got distracted by a shiny thing.

Men who weep for their countries. On the next Oprah.
posted by jonmc at 7:48 AM on November 9, 2006


Oprah single handedly destroyed Tom Cruise by allowing him to expose the alien controlling his body. If that is not power and influence, I don't know what is. Nanoo Nanoo.
posted by spicynuts at 7:48 AM on November 9, 2006


He also hooked up with Ann Margret. For that alone, he is a giant among men.
posted by jonmc at 9:36 AM CST on November 9


True, but so did Walter Matthau, so she must have been easy.

God, she was hot though back in the day. That red hair and that fiesty attitude... I can see why he liked her. Oh yeah, you're a dirty little girl aren't you?

Ahem. Sorry.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:51 AM on November 9, 2006


Reagan tops Lincoln

And they're showing this in The Atlantic?!
posted by rkent at 7:58 AM on November 9, 2006


"of all time" = 230 years
???
and as jon said, no Elvis, wtf

not to mention the most influential American, by far, is Edgar Allan Poe, nevermind that bizarre crew of politicians and random celebrities cooked up by some bored, lazy person at the Atlantic. Poe dreamt timeless, universal nightmares. his imagination is us -- where "us" is humanity. his genius is without borders, without expiration date.

and of course, The Atlantic = LOL
posted by matteo at 8:01 AM on November 9, 2006


and really, Einstein as an American? Jesus Christ, people
posted by matteo at 8:06 AM on November 9, 2006


True, but so did Walter Matthau, so she must have been easy.

Walter was a sex machine. and you know this.
posted by jonmc at 8:09 AM on November 9, 2006


matteo writes "an American? Jesus Christ, people"

No, I think this past election has gone some way to putting this myth to bed...Jesus is not an American.
posted by OmieWise at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2006


where's Elvis?
posted by jonmc


Absolutely!
The philosopher King rules, even today he's still out and about.
posted by nofundy at 8:19 AM on November 9, 2006


This reminds me of the Discovery Channel's Greatest American poll. Guess who won! Go on, guess!
posted by zsazsa


The #25 on this poll amazed me. Neil Armstrong??? WTF?
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:27 AM on November 9, 2006


What, no one else picked John Marshall? He built the Constitution we know and love today, as opposed to the Constitution that was written. Without the decisions he wrote the US would be a very different place, if it even survived. I'm not shocked that the voters on the site haven't picked him too often, but they should. On the other hand, maybe my Con Law professor has just brain washed me.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:33 AM on November 9, 2006


Just cast a protest vote for Walt Whitman.

Though I suppose if the Republic collapses entirely in the next couple decades, smart historians will trace the final downfall back to Reagan's brand of duplicitous feel-good triumphalism, so maybe he's the most influential after all.
posted by gompa at 8:41 AM on November 9, 2006


We all know this poll sucks, but on a serious note, it has always seemed to me that George Mason never gets the props he deserves. He was pretty much responsible for the Bill of Rights. More people need to get to know him.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:44 AM on November 9, 2006


I find it interesting that as of right now, Oprah and Robert E. Lee are tied in the voting.
posted by TedW at 8:45 AM on November 9, 2006


I'm with Kwine.... I think Alexander Hamilton might actually be the "correct" answer, whatever that means.
posted by selfnoise at 8:46 AM on November 9, 2006


Someone should alert Steven Colbert so he can get on the list.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:48 AM on November 9, 2006


i voted 4 my dad
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:07 AM on November 9, 2006


justgary writes 'and what's with the baseball player?

You're joking, right?'


No - he was the only person I'd never heard of, so I looked him up, and, as far as I can make out, he played baseball, worked for a coffee company with the unbelievable name of Chock Full o' Nuts (?!) and was on the board of the NAACP for a decade... so I'm still puzzled.
posted by jack_mo at 9:08 AM on November 9, 2006


Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, jack_mo.
posted by Khalad at 9:25 AM on November 9, 2006


They really wish to bestow Sainthood upon him, but of course WASPs don't do that sort of thing.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:24 AM EST on November 9

Charles Krumenthal had an editorial the other day that referred to the "now-sainted Ronald Regan" and I went hysterically blind so I couldn't read the rest of the editorial. When I think of Regan I always remember the doddering old fool who got real life mixed-up with the movies-- while he was still President!

He was certainly influential in getting Americans to accept stammering, blinking incoherence as a sign of good leadership...thereby paving the way for G. W. Bush.

The #25 on this poll amazed me. Neil Armstrong??? WTF?
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:27 AM EST on November 9

My WTF moment was Lance Armstrong at #20.

My pick for the most influential American is that con man, Joseph Smith. After all he spun a few lies into a religion practiced world wide by millions.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:33 AM on November 9, 2006


I thought that was L. Ron Hubbard.
posted by jonmc at 9:37 AM on November 9, 2006


I thought that was L. Ron Hubbard.

Could we please not turn this thread into another "Xenu sucks" -fest? Just once?
posted by felix betachat at 9:42 AM on November 9, 2006


No Telsa? Well screw this then! Pfaw, giving me Edison instead. Shame!
posted by Talanvor at 9:48 AM on November 9, 2006


They could have an easy out: Put FDR and Eleanor on the same cover and call it MOST INFLUENTIAL MARRIED COUPLE IN AMERICA EVAR!
posted by ardgedee at 9:50 AM on November 9, 2006


I don't see where I can cast my vote for Stephen Colbert..
posted by dopamine at 9:56 AM on November 9, 2006


Washington was the freakin' father of our country! Do you realize how much self-sacrificing sex that involved?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:25 AM on November 9, 2006


languagehat: "Not only is Oprah on the list, she's got more votes than seven other people (when I checked, anyway). I would weep for my country, but I got distracted by a shiny thing."

I saw that too and wept a tiny tear. Like her insatiable ego needs more stroking.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:30 AM on November 9, 2006


I call bullshit on this poll. I checked twice, and I couldn't find myself listed anywhere.
posted by lekvar at 11:00 AM on November 9, 2006


If we're talking purely influential, then where's Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray & Lee Harvey Oswald? They probably changed the face of American politics more so than anyone else in the 60's.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:07 AM on November 9, 2006


what's with the baseball player?

I'm shocked you're serious about that too.
But truly, it comes down to trying to be balanced: they need a couple black people; MLK and Robinson are the obvious choices. They need some women: Eleanor's a given, and then it was gonna be Stanton or Anthony (but not both because the women's movement is a side issue - whereas with founding fathers, three or four is expected). They need a few contemporary figures, because the present always looms large and people like to vote for those in their own time: oprah, bill gates, GWB, and I'd say reagan gets in largely for that - but also because you need a few presidents other than washington & lincoln. Then throw in an artist, an inventor, and a supreme court justice (often the lay person / high school class would go with Holmes rather than John Marshall, but still, not a radical pick) and you're done.
posted by mdn at 11:29 AM on November 9, 2006


Screw Elvis. I did.
posted by mistermoore at 11:49 AM on November 9, 2006


If we're talking purely influential, then where's Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray & Lee Harvey Oswald?

Whoa... it's like the quickening^ - by killing someone, you assume their influentiality. If I was Benjamin Franklin, I would have killed George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton... I would've been the most influentialest ever! Or... what if Oprah killed Jon Stewart, K-Fed, George Bush, and Mother Teresa? The possibilities are mind-bending.
posted by XMLicious at 12:16 PM on November 9, 2006


i voted 4 my dad
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:07 AM


I am so ashamed! I should have voted for my mom instead of myself.
posted by Cranberry at 12:23 PM on November 9, 2006


How the heck did they miss James Polk? The guy doubled the size of the country, and he did it in a single four year term.

(54 40 or fight!)
posted by jenkinsEar at 12:58 PM on November 9, 2006


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