Boling Springs, SC (PressExposure) May 30, 2009 -- Hillary Clinton is the Greatest First Lady in American history declares Doug Wead, a conservative historian and former advisor to two Republican presidents. The Siena Research Institute ranks her number five.
Citing her near loss in the recent presidential race, her success in the U. S. Senate and now her pivotal role in world affairs as the Secretary of State, Wead says the delays of historians and institutions to state the obvious reveals much about the cumbersome and pompous process of historical rankings. "History rewards doers," says Wead "And it ranks First Ladies that way too. There is no way that she ranks anywhere but number one."
The list, entitled "Doug Wead's ranking of the top ten first ladies in American history," surprised many coming from a Republican activist with more than a quarter of a century involvement in conservative politics. "None of this has anything to do with politics," says Wead, "Nor is this about popularity." Wead points out that if it were the latter Laura Bush would steal the show. A January, 2005 poll gave Laura Bush the highest approval rating of any first lady since such surveys were taken.
Ranking of the top ten First Ladies
1. Hillary Rodham Clinton 2. Eleanor Roosevelt 3. Abigail Adams 4. Edith Bolling Wilson 5. Rosalynn Carter 6. Dolley Madison 7. Sarah Childress Polk 8. Barbara Bush 9. Betty Ford 10. Nancy Reagan
Wead said he travailed over where to place Jacqueline Kennedy and Nancy Reagan. He cited Kennedy as our modern first lady, a transition to a new age, saying that in many ways she "owned" the White House and still does. But Wead said that Nancy Reagan, in taking on the most critical issue of her time, drugs, and in playing an influential role in the staffing of the White House, and in her close relationship with her husband, influencing policy and doing all of this for eight years, allowed her to barely squeeze out Jacqueline, the trend setting, first lady curator and historian.