Peeved by the fact that the only modern presidents honored on our currency are both Democrats (JFK and FDR), a North Carolina congressman is renewing efforts to get Ronald Reagan a place in our wallets. Rep. Patrick McHenry wants to kick Ulysses S. Grant off the $50 bill and replace his image with Reagan's. Only problem: Many consider Grant, a Republican who led America from 1869 to 1877, a hero in African American history. Is McHenry's initiative too controversial to gain traction? (Watch an MSNBC report about the Reagan $50 bill proposal)
This is just partisan grandstanding: Let me get this straight, says Ezra Klein in The Washington Post. Patrick McHenry wants to send Obama, our nation's first black president, legislation that would erase President Grant — "the guy who won the Civil War" — and replace him with Reagan — "the guy who cut a lot of taxes"? What an "awesomely tone-deaf" way to win one for the Gipper.
"What Reagan deserves"
Reagan deserves the recognition: Grant may have won the Civil War, says Mark Whittington in Associated Content, but Ronald Reagan's Cold War hard line brought down the Soviet Union. As for Reagan's tax cuts, they helped the country break through the 1970s' stagflation rut and arguably made life better for all Americans. Putting his face on the $50 bill is the least we can do to show our gratitude.
"Reagan to be on the $50 bill?"
Why would Republicans want to diss Grant? GOP stalwarts like McHenry should "be standing up for Grant as one of the leading figures of their party’s founding," says Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress. Grant "did more for African-Americans than any president between Lincoln and Johnson." Why strip him of one of the "scant ways in which this country honors him"?
"Rep Patrick McHenry takes aim at America's most underrated president"
Why not sub Reagan in for Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, instead? Ronald Reagan already has an airport named after him in Washington, D.C., says Johanna Neuman in the Los Angeles Times. If Rep. McHenry doesn't think that's enough, there are ways to honor the 40th president without kicking Grant, the 18th, into "the dustbin of history." McHenry might "get more traction" trying to bump Andrew Jackson — who, after all, opposed paper money — off the $20 bill.
"The $50 question: Grant or Reagan?"