President

Washington, Lincoln and FDR are revered as leaders who helped shape the course of history. They are often referred to as “great” presidents. But is it possible to have a great president today? And is greatness a quality that Americans even want in their chief executive?

Aaron David Miller examines the history of the U.S. presidency to explore those questions in his book, The End of Greatness.  In the book, Dr. Miller makes the case that greatness as a presidential virtue is largely overrated – and that it occurs too infrequently to be relevant to current politics.

Two hundred and twenty-eight years ago this April, George Washington took the oath of office as the first president of the United States.  Since then, 44 Americans have taken that solemn vow, most recently Donald Trump.  History has yet to judge our most recent presidents. But as we look farther into the past, which presidents have stood the test of time and are revered today?  And which ones are now viewed as less successful leaders, or even as failures?

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Archives

If you haven’t heard of FDR’s hour-and-a-half stop in Boise on September 27, 1937, you probably aren’t alone. It was the first and only time he visited the city.

 

Almost 80 years later, there’s a local effort to have the visit formally commemorated. 

The president and his wife arrived by train that morning after a stop in Pocatello the night before and would go on from Boise to dedicate the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. But before they did, they got in an open-roof motorcade and cruised the streets of Boise. 

This is an encore interview and was originally broadcast in October 2014.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s dedication and perseverance led to the preservation of some of our greatest national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife sanctuaries. Thanks to Roosevelt’s vision and foresight, our children’s grandchildren can enjoy species that in a not-too-distant past were threatened with extinction, and visit natural areas that today remain as pristine and untouched as they were a century or more ago.

The White House / Flickr Creative Commons

President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a 2:45 p.m. speech today at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on the Boise State University campus after delivering his State of the Union address last night.

craigslist.org

Tickets to see President Barack Obama speak Wednesday at Boise State are a hot item. On Monday, BSU students had first dibs, followed by university employees and then the general public. The Idaho Statesman reports up to 5,000 tickets were given away for the standing-room only event.

But after those free tickets were scooped up, some people turned around and tried to sell entrance to the event on Craigslist.

The office of the President of the United States is among the most highly visible institutions anywhere in the world. The person who occupies the office is subject to intense scrutiny – and while some of that is negative, the president oftentimes also serves as a symbol of the hopes, dreams and aspirations of a diverse American citizenry.

But what happens when there is a disconnect between the high expectations Americans have for what their president can accomplish, and the reality of how the office functions in today’s Washington?

Boise State University/Andrus Center

Scholars from around the U.S. are in Boise today to talk about the state of the American presidency.  They're taking part in a day-long event at Boise State University to discuss the power of the president, the chief executive’s role in fiscal policy, and bias in the presidential selection process.  
 
David Adler directs the university’s Andrus Center for Public Policy, which organized the conference.  On KBSX's Morning Edition Thursday, Adler said the panelists include some of the most distinguished presidential scholars in the country.  Click below to hear the conversation.

Whitehouse.gov screen shot

President Barack Obama has nominated the head of retail chain REI to lead the U.S. Interior Department. 
Fifty-six-year-old Sally Jewell is the chief executive at REI in Kent, Washington, and a resident of  Seattle.