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The Vote: Fix Political Hall of Fame

It's here!

After three weeks of making the cases for and against Richard Nixon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Tip O'Neill as the next inductee into the Fix Political Hall of Fame, the day of reckoning has arrived.

Below you can vote for your choice to be the next member of the HOF. Whoever gets the most votes wins -- it's a democracy after all!

Need a refresher course on each of the men to make an informed vote? Check out the cases for and against Nixon, for and against Roosevelt and for and against O'Neill and then scroll down and cast your ballot.

We'll hold balloting open until Thursday at 5 p.m. and announce the winner in this space on Friday.

Vote early! Vote often!

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 20, 2009; 4:41 PM ET
Categories:  Hall of Fame  
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Note the first three words: "Part of membership"

If obsession were sufficient, then certainly, by all means, Nixon.

Posted by: nodebris | July 24, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, I come back to this thread right before the deadline, and I guess I should not be surprised, given all of the registered Democrats (and not enough political scientists) here. Barring some miracle, FDR won. It seems as if ANY Democrat will "win" as against Nixon here. So much for what Mr. Cillizza and I think:

"Part of membership in the Fix Political Hall of Fame is possessing a rabid (and uncontrollable) love for the game of politics. No one this side of Bill Clinton can match Nixon in this regard. His love-hate relationship with public life was a fascinating bit of personal drama that played out in the national spotlight. The fact that his desire for public office won out over his distaste for everything that came with that office at nearly every turn in his life shows how strong the political bug had caught Nixon.

What sort of man decides to run for president eight years after he had lost that office as a sitting vice president and six years removed from a sweeping defeat for the governor's office in California? A man who is so consumed by politics that he can think of nothing else he could do with his life.

Nixon's obsession with politics clearly had a negative side -- his paranoia, conspiracy theories and willingness to break the law to gain the upper hand against his political opponents being the most obvious example -- but there is also something dreadfully compelling about someone who had any number of opportunities to join the private sector and make a comfortable life for he and his family and each time took a pass to return the boiling cauldron of elective politics."

Posted by: JakeD | July 23, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"Speaking of Republicans and Satan . . ."

Seriously though, I'm from Virginia. I voted for John Warner every election. I greatly respected Tom Davis. Webb was one heck of a Republican.

Now they are all either retired, resigned, or Democrats.

But hey, the GOP in VA still has fine folks like Eric Cantor, Virgil Goode, and Jeff Frederick. No worries! With candidates like that, who needs Satan?

Posted by: nodebris | July 22, 2009 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Republicans and Satan, a guy I used to work with at Microsoft used to play a game with his wife ... if Bush replaced by Satan, what would be different?

It started as a joke, then it stopped being funny, once all the talk turned to the morality of torture. Then it got boring because they really couldn't think of much of anything, other than maybe using the nukes.

Bush was contemptuous of human rights, of the environment, of the future, of sensitivitym of humanity. What a terrible low point in our history the Republicans have brought us to.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 22, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

"I understand you libs think any Republican is worse than Satan though"

No, not *any* Republican. I do get suspicious of folks who consistently go around quoting scripture for their own ends, though.

So, you admire Stalin as a politician, but you wouldn't vote him to the HOF "on principle," presumably because he was bad. Yet you vote for Nixon, although you admit he was bad, because he was such a great politician. Hmm. Seems somewhat contradictory. Unless . . .

Ah, I get it . . . the Ends justify the Means, right? Stalin's ends: bad. Nixon's ends: good. Stalin HOF: no. Nixon HOF: yes.

In which case, again, FDR was a much better politician than both Stalin and Nixon. To my lights, anyway.

Posted by: nodebris | July 21, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Harry Truman was a GREAT President!

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 21, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Most reputable historians in this country writing about United States foreign policy or the Cold War contend Truman was more responsible for its beginning than Stalin.
Truman was an early version of Bush II, simplistic, who viewed the world and foreign policy issues from a black and white perspective. Hopefully Truman will not be selected for this silly political hall of "fame."

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 21, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Lisa421 and JakeD are the same person

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 21, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

To JakeD, thanks for the advice.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 21, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, but Vizzini did not have a nuclear bomb (or a built-up immunity to iocane powder ; )

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"We should have taken Gen. Patton's advice in hindsight."

Really? To quote Vizzini in "The Princess Bride" (paraphrasing Monty): "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous one is never get involved in a land war in Asia."

Posted by: mnteng | July 21, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

As usual Jake is carving out some absurd revisionist neoconservative position, straight out of Coulter and Limbaugh, and tossing in some over-the-top hyperbole about Satan to buttress up his non-point.

For those new around here, he really is as stupid as he appears. It's not even an act.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 21, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Richard Nixon won his Constitutional limit of terms as President. I would never vote Stalin (or Hitler or Satan) for a Political HOF just on principle. I understand you libs think any Republican is worse than Satan though. As I said before, any political scientist can separate the game of politics from the official position of President or Speaker of the House.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Why am I not surprised that jaked wants to add Stalin to the hall of fame, before FDR, but presumably right after Nixon.

Posted by: nodebris | July 21, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Gallenrod wrote: "nodebris, FDR failed at several things, just not elections."

What is the measure of a successful politician, if not winning elections? And yet you argue Nixon was a better "politician."

Please stop. You republicans keep talking yourselves into dark dead-end allies trying to prove how Nixon was somehow "better" than FDR.

Nixon was quite a politician, no one denies it. But better than FDR? Absurd.

Posted by: nodebris | July 21, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Stalin, the politician, kicked FDR's ass, starting the entire Cold War. We should have taken Gen. Patton's advice in hindsight. I am only talking about political skills (or lack thereof), but that is obviously not what most people are voting based on.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Just to set the historical record straight, hardly any reputable historians believe Roosevelt made unnecessary concessions to the Soviet Union at the Yalta conference. The reality was each of the allied governments whose countries "liberated" German occupied lands, established governments to their ideological liking. The Soviets had no say in the governments the Americans and British established in Italy. The British installed a right wing monarchy in Greece. The Soviets installed pro-Soviet governments in eastern European countries their armies "liberated."

Soviet control of eastern Europe was not as repressive by the Yalta conference as it would become, partly in reaction to Truman's simplistic, belligerent policies. There was nothing Roosevelt or any other American could have done to have prevented Soviet domination of eastern Europe.

The Soviets agreed at Yalta to a United Nations essentially as envisioned by the United States and to join in the war against Japan. These were victories by Roosevelt and the United States.

Churchill was hypocritical at Yalta in demanding self-determination in Poland, while opposing self-determination in any of Britain's colonies, including India. He supported political liberties for white Europeans, not Asians or Africans.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 21, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse


Read about FDR at Yalta sometime.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse


Give me a break, Jake. Supporting FDR has nothing to do with the Cold War. Supporting greater knowledge of history has nothing to do with the Cold War. I was speaking pure politics: Who was the better politician?

Posted by: maris9 | July 21, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse


Do you live in a world where our enemies are still China and the Soviet Union?

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"I vote for Nixon, very narrowly, over FDR."

LOL. jeez, what clowns we have on here. Anyone who remembers that time-- when nixon became a national joke and embarassment even to republicans, back when they had a sense of shame -- has to be laughing at this.

Posted by: drindl | July 21, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I vote FDR, although I'm disappointed that you haven't nominated Alexander Hamilton, or even that most political of generals, Washington.

The trouble with polls like this is that given American's ignorance about history, polls tend to be biased with the recent. That's why polls about the most effective presidents tend to promote the Kennedys and Reagans disproportionately.

For a generation, FDR was the consummate politician. Sometimes he lost his battles, but on the important things he won: Court-packing may have been a lost battle, but FDR won the war, and his appointees turned the court. Single-handedly, he helped keep Britain afloat during the dark days of the war. He nurtured an entire generation (or more) of politicians, including Lyndon Johnson.

Nixon might have had a couple of stunning turn-arounds---his Checkers speech and his 1968 election---but in the 1950s, it was easy to red-bait your way into office, and, unlike Roosevelt, he never had lasting influence, except in the worst ways.

Posted by: maris9 | July 21, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Gallenod.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

nodebris, FDR failed at several things, just not elections.

He failed to expand and pack the Supreme Court, he and his advisors seriously underestimated Japan's ability prior to WWII, and (partly due to failing health) his concessions to Stalin led to Eastern Europe being sealed off behind the Iron Curtain. FDR was in inspirational figure, but we won WWII largely due to George Marshall, Chester Nimitz, and Dwight Eisenhower, not FDR.

FDR was a better president than Nixon, but I don't think he was a better politician.

Posted by: Gallenod | July 21, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Okay, my first post was apparently too long. I'll keep this one short.

I vote for Nixon, very narrowly, over FDR.

Posted by: Gallenod | July 21, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The measure of any great politician is how far he (or she) comes, especially after set backs or challenges -- just like Bill Clinton is not a great President because nothing momentous happened -- next to Bill, however, Tricky Dick is the best politician America has ever seen. He even managed to rehabilitate himself after his resignation. Mr. Cillizza has already admitted he would vote for Nixon regarding who played the game of politics better.

If anyone else wants to debate that, let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"FDR was never an underdog like Nixon"

So, Nixon's great because he was able to come back from his previous failures? And that makes him so much more admirable than someone with no record of failure?

Interesting criteria. Failures excel by definition under that measure, don't they?

Posted by: nodebris | July 21, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Tight vote

Posted by: WW160 | July 21, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Same here, I only knew RMN's birthday because it's the same day (not year though) as my mother's. It is funny how the human mind remembers.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

That quirk of remembering who was older or younger than my Dad and Mom among public persons [I think I could tell you the birth years of Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, and Bob Feller, for instance, as well as JFK] - I wonder if anyone else has that particular oddity about them.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 21, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I did not know the birthdays, Jake. My dad was born in 1911 and I knew RMN was born in 1913 by some quirk of memory. I googled Tip.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 21, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Ok (now who is being an autistic literalist?) by one month. Honestly, did you have to look that up too? If not, I am duly impressed. At least I knew that Nixon was born on January 9th -- I lived through the FDR and Nixon Administrations -- my point was that Nixon was the better politician regardless. Hands down, there is no question about it. Ask any political scientist. It's telling that the Fix's readership thinks otherwise.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

O'Neill and RMN were contemporaries and Tip was older.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 21, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

LOL! For the record, FDR and Nixon were older than O'Neill.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 2:13 AM | Report abuse

That would be because you'er tĘ” young to remember Tip O'Neill.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 21, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse


The call is much closer between FDR and Nixon. I still don't see how anyone who follows politics can vote O'Neill over them.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

As a matter of fact, Jake D.,

MY original 3 nominees were: Richard Nixon, Al Gore, and FDR (not in that order).

And I've thoroughly read CC's excellently written pros & cons about ALL the three selections.

I do feel that FDR was a transformative and successful President, so I've given my final vote to him today, but I could easily have voted for Nixon--flawed though he was--if FDR had (unthinkably, in my opinion) been dropped from the final cull.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 21, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Lisa421, you had to deal with that. Keep up the good fight.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Log back on as Lisa421, Jake, not everyone knows you under that moniker yet.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 21, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Nobody is interested in "debating" with you, Jake, everyone who reads this blog knows you're an idiot.

Have no fear, there'll be another Palin thread in a day or so. CC dotes on her as much as you do.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 21, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Palin did exactly what Richard Nixon did to the press and will come back again, but this thread is not about her. If anyone else wants to debate who the better politician among these three nominees was, I would love to start with those who really think Tip O'Neill was. He couldn't even beat Ronald Reagan as a politician.

Posted by: JakeD | July 21, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Nixon's disgruntled concession wasn't the end of his political career. He didn't resign his job in midstream. I'm an admirer of Nixon, despite his party and his many personal failings. For me he's a great man, probably the last great Republican there ever was or will be.

But he was no FDR.

Jake/Lisa, you just don't like FDR because he was a Democrat. But as your many posts on this and many other topics have shown conclusively, your opinion is of no value.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 20, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

For the record, FDR was never an underdog like Nixon. He went from "you won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore" to being elected President of the United States. Except for maybe Bill Clinton, I can't think of a better politician. As Lisa421 noted, this poll is not about who the best President was. Did everyone else who voted for FDR even read Mr. Cillizza's thread "for" Nixon?

Posted by: JakeD | July 20, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

This is a no-brainer. There is no standard for political greatness that you can propose proving why Nixon was a great president that FDR doesn't actually surpass Nixon on -- unless getting impeached or being Republican is your top criteria.

Posted by: nodebris | July 20, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

What about Roscoe Conkling?

Posted by: mikedow1 | July 20, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade or mark:

Who did you vote for?

Posted by: JakeD | July 20, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Fairlington or mark_in will bite, nobody else wants to talk with you

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 20, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I want to talk to the people who think that Tip O'Neill was a better politician than both FDR and Nixon.

Posted by: JakeD | July 20, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | July 20, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Not a surprise that Tricky Dick is the underdog one last time -- FDR is off to a fast start, given all of the registered Democrats here -- well, he has until Thursday.


Not everyone here is as doctrinaire or as stupid as you are, Jake.

Plenty of Democrats admire Nixon. It's only stupid creeps like you who base everything on the D or the R

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 20, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Chris has never, to my knowledge, clearly identified his specific criteria for this "beauty" contest. There is a big difference between choosing individuals who were largely responsible for great achievements and merely being successful politicians, as defined by winning elections, staying in office. There is also the issue of ethical behavior and being obedient to the rule of law, especially the Constitution. The first three persons chosen seem to indicate ethical behavior and adhering to the rule of law are not deemed important. Perhaps Machiavelli, Boss Tweed and Joseph Stalin should have been the first inductees in a political hall of "fame," where amoral dedication to political power is the primary criteria.

Were this a true "democracy," people would be able to write in another individual. I would have voted for Franklin D Roosevelt, but recently read, shades of Watergate, he authorized the FBI to wiretap, to obstain advance knowledge of their strategy, anti-interventionists, opposed to his, often deceptive, assistance to Great Britain in 1940, much of 1941, before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Unlike Nixon, Roosevelt got away with such an illegal action. Although he feared he might be impeached for this and other unconstitutional actions, such as not submitting the destroyers for bases deal to Congress for their approval.

Franklin, Washington, Bob LaFollette, George Norris and George Marshall would be better choices, using the criteria of being honest, having integrity, and attaining modest to great achievements.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 20, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Not a surprise that Tricky Dick is the underdog one last time -- FDR is off to a fast start, given all of the registered Democrats here -- well, he has until Thursday.

Posted by: JakeD | July 20, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

This is "FiX"ed. Where's Audra Shay?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 20, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Point of Inquiry: Where's the "All of the Above" button?

(Or perhaps, Nixon should be atop your "Hall of Shame" -- which you are sure to create within the next few days! I mean, think of the possibilities...)


Anti- 'GPS-Enabled Stalking' Journo Seeks Lawyer to Fight 'Stalking' Charge

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 20, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised. Nixon't villainy tends to overshadow his greatness. But great he was.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 20, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I guess the big contest is for second place. I'm surprised how close it is. I'd go with Nixon.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 20, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

You have 5 Presidents nominated and one Speaker. How about a poll with Speaker Rayburn, Oneill, Hastert, Gingrich,and Foley. <All creatures of the Legislative branch.

Posted by: jacko5 | July 20, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I had a chance to speak with a 96-yo woman this weekend. Inspired by this contest, I asked her about FDR. Asked her what they played on the radio when he died. The Chopin funeral dirge, of course.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 20, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

This is not a contest, it's a landslide.

One candidate is a product of the House of Representatives.

Another is a product of his own flawed ambition.

The third emerged at the most perilous time in U.S. history and sustained the country through four terms.

I add the personal recollection of my Mother who always sat by her radio to listen and take heed from FDR's fireside chats. Tell me of anyone, before or since, who had that kind of hold on the public.

Posted by: ARicker | July 20, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Completely off-topic, but I just noticed the "Primaries" tab in widget for The Line.

Thanks, CC!

Posted by: mnteng | July 20, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The outcome is preordained

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 20, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Richard Nixon was better at playing the GAME of Politics than either FDR or O'Neill, but not a better President or Representative. I'm torn, but I vote for Nixon. Hopefully, FDR is nominated again soon.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 20, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

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