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The “Fab 4” Conservative Presidents

by Bradley Matthews

President's Flag

It’s President’s Day this weekend, so we’ve decided to honor our nation’s history by picking which four Presidents were the best conservative leaders! Because our Founders are, as the creators of our country and government, obvious choices, we narrowed down our field to the 1860-present range.










The Reagan Diaries

1. Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan brought the conservative movement into the halls of American power, shrunk our government and fought the Soviets. For conservatives, he’s an idol and an icon, a hero whose name and impact are still invoked by today’s conservatives.





Abraham Lincoln

2. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln saved the Union and freed the slaves. For that alone, he should be celebrated by conservatives. But Lincoln also tied together the principles of the Constitution and the Declaration into a shared group of principles — the antecedent of today’s conservative ideology.






3. Calvin Coolidge

Sandwiched between the Progressive excesses of Teddy Roosevelt and FDR’s New Deal, Calvin Coolidge was restrained not only in speech but in government. His careful, laissez-faire attitude to economics provides a model for a more free market-friendly way to run our government today.






4. Grover Cleveland

In an age of governmental excess, Grover Cleveland proved himself to be the last good Democrat. His commitment to the Constitution led him to use more vetoes than anyone before, stopping Congressional excesses in the name of constitutional governance.



  1. mark dobzyn

    Tom. That’s about right! About 50% right!

    May 10, 2016,12:24 am

  2. Tom Stark

    50% right anyway. The list appears to be that of a RINO’s conflicted sense of what conservatism is about. Reagan and Coolidge are great examples, but Lincoln was a failure in the area of constitutional fidelity and conservative principles. Cleveland was likewise a failure and to call him conservative when most of his vetoes were against Republicans, it is hard to imagine why he even made the list.

    The WORST President’s list might be instructive. Obama, Carter, Coolidge, FDR is my nightmare. Obama needs no explanation, Carter either, FDR tried ever way he could think of to circumvent the constitution and did little for our society other than begin the process of pushing more and more people into government dependency. WILSON, however, was the worst of the worst. He is responsible for pushing through the Amendment 16 (income tax – clearly unconstitutional; Amendment 17, the destruction of states rights not already worn down by Lincoln; and spending that ran us into the depression worse than the Great One which had to be reversed by someone as brilliant and low-key as Coolidge who cut the federal budget by half and shut some things down completely…reversed the depression in 18 months. Progressive are not interested in doing what is best for the people, they are bent on destroying America. We need a new conservative icon to lead us out of this morass of progressive tyranny.

    February 15, 2016,11:53 am

  3. John Beam

    I disagree with the notion that Lincoln was “conservative,” because he practically trashed the US Constitution the moment he took office. As far as I’m concerned, Coolidge should top this list, followed by Cleveland.

    February 13, 2016,1:08 am

  4. Jeff Miller

    There was no Constitutional prohibition preventing the Confederate state to legally secede. Lincoln’s provocation (sending a tax collector to Fort Sumpter) led to the death of 900,000 Americans, one for every four freed slaves.

    But those slaves weren’t freed by the Emancipation Proclamation because the South no longer considered itself within his jurisdiction, and it didn’t apply to the North. The slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment’s ratification, nearly 8 months after Lincoln’s assassination.

    Lincoln violated the Constitution a number of ways in his prosecution of the war, jailed a federal judge and political opponents, and shutting down newspapers that criticized him. He virtually put an end to states’ rights, and gave the federal government far more power than was intended by the founders. The man was not a Conservative.

    February 13, 2016,12:52 am

  5. Jerry Masters

    Wow, it sure would be nice to have a conservative in the White House again, BUT, I don’t think there’s one out there running. As Ronald Reagan said, “It’s not that the liberals are ignorant, it’s just that what they believe isn’t so.” So now the liberals are going to want a woman president. That scares the hell out of me, because the voting public is ignorant in general. They don’t vote for the most qualified, they vote for “political correctness” which is the biggest scam in the history of modern America. “Political correctness” is straight out of the pits of hell. The one thing that sticks out about the Republicans is the simple fact that politics is about MONEY, and Donald Trump cannot be bought. He does the buying. Think about it. Obamanation is on a mission to destroy this country. He was raised from birth for the VERY reason. But all the idiots that voted for him thought he really would make them rich. Guess what????? Come on Jesus, and get us OUT OF HERE.

    February 12, 2016,8:28 pm

  6. rosie6600

    One may greatly admire Abraham Lincoln, but that should not blind one to reality.

    Putting aside the facts that the Republican Party of 1860 was the Democratic Party of 2016, that Lincoln did not “save” the Union, and that Lincoln did not “free” the slaves, Lincoln is arguably still the LEAST CONSERVATIVE of all our presidents.

    The one, and the only, real obstacle to a leviathan federal government was states’ rights…the power of the states to resist federal dominance. Lincoln, it can be said, singlehandedly destroyed states rights and paved the way for today’s all-powerful, out-of-control federal government…hardly a manifestation of conservatism.

    Lincoln violated the Bill of Rights by closing down NORTHERN newspapers that criticized his policies (an estimated 300 newspapers), and Lincoln violated the body of the Constitution by personally suspending habeas corpus and jailing the editors of those newspapers without charging them with a crime.

    There is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting state secession, and there is nothing in the Constitution empowering the federal government to wage war against a state. Lincoln unconstitutionally arrogated to himself the power to do both.

    There is not room to elaborate on Lincoln’s disregard of the Constitution and his key role in fomenting the bloodiest war in American history, but just those few acts mentioned above should be sufficient to establish Lincoln as the least conservative of all presidents.

    February 12, 2016,8:12 pm

  7. Roderick

    Lincoln! Are you kidding. Read The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked by Thomas DiLorenzo. Lincoln tore the Constitution up and prosecuted his unconstitutional war like a dictator. His disdain for the Constitution and his unilateral “executive” actions paved the way for the current tyrant occupying the White House.

    February 12, 2016,7:59 pm

  8. Thomas Mann

    Sorry, but Grover Cleveland was a Progressive before they were called Progressives. His vetoes were largely to thwart the Republicans in Congress. Not that some of them weren’t justified, but “conservative”?

    February 12, 2016,6:56 pm

  9. G C Folke

    It’s weird to realize that Reagan would be excoriated by today’s Tea Party for a number of his actions including granting full and unilateral amnesty to over three million undocumented aliens, signing a huge tax increase into law as a part of a deal with democrats, and consulting with witches/astrologers on daily decisions!

    February 12, 2016,6:09 pm

  10. Stephanie

    sad that george w bush wasn’t included. he was the best next to reagan.

    February 12, 2016,5:36 pm

  11. noBS3

    As much as I admire Lincoln both for freeing the slaves and for preserving the Union, I do NOT consider him a conservative. Yes, what he did was necessary to achieve those ends, but some of his methods trampled all over the Constitution — AND furthered the precedent of Executive Actions that are so popular with Presidents today.

    February 12, 2016,5:35 pm

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