Moderate Hall of Fame
The New Moderate’s Hall of Fame
Honoring those exemplary individuals who have used their power and prestige to rise above partisanship, promote consensus or steer a middle course. Note the common fate shared by several of our inductees; after all, being a moderate approximately doubles your chance of making enemies.
- Abraham Lincoln – A backwoods American saint. Criticized for moving too fast (or not fast enough) on slavery, he walked straight down the middle, saved the Union and liberated a people from bondage. Assassinated.
- Anwar al Sadat – First Egyptian leader to establish cordial relations with Israel. Assassinated.
- Aristotle – He embraced the ancient Greek philosophical concept of “the Golden Mean,” an ideal midpoint between excess and deficiency.
- Augustus Caesar – The noble, even-handed first emperor of Rome… if only his successors had followed his example.
- Benjamin Franklin – A wise and great man who proved that moderates could also be revolutionaries, and that revolutionaries could also be moderates.
- Bill Cosby – Risked his prestige in the black community to say important things that not everybody wanted to hear.
- Booker T. Washington – Unfairly maligned today for his gradualist approach to improving the lot of African Americans, which was the only viable strategy back in 1900.
- Boris Yeltsin – Dismiss him as a drunken buffoon if you like, but this plucky moderate gave Russia a human (and humane) face after 75 years of Communist oppression.
- Camille Paglia – Not exactly a moderate, but worthy of a nod for her fearless confrontations with radical feminists.
- Colin Powell – One of those too-rare public men who placed principles above high office.
- Daniel Webster – Eloquent spokesman for reason during the slow buildup to the Civil War.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower – Underrated president whose character and leadership kept the U.S. on a moderate course despite the McCarthy hysteria and the ever-present threat of nuclear war.
- George Washington – Godlike American leader who had the wisdom to stay above politics while his brilliant cronies fought like cats and dogs.
- Henry Clay – The Great Compromiser — not always a good thing, but in his case it was a great thing.
- Hrant Dink – Activist who attempted to end 90 years of open hostility between Armenians and Turks. Assassinated by a Turk.
- James Madison – Father of the U.S. Constitution, still a masterpiece of checks and balances.
- James Monroe – Presided over the “Era of Good Feelings,” a rare 8-year vacation from partisan politics.
- John F. Kennedy – Liberals claim him as one of their own, but he moved wisely and judiciously on most issues. Assassinated.
- Marcus Aurelius – The ultimate “philosopher-king” and a model of moderation.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. – A great liberal activist, yes, but with the nuanced instincts of a moderate. (The radicals grew impatient with his insistence on peaceful demonstrations.) Assassinated, of course.
- Mikhail Gorbachev – Intelligent Soviet leader whose receptivity to public opinion helped thaw the ice and end the Cold War.
- Mohandas K. Gandhi – Spiritually gifted leader who dedicated his life to establishing a free India. Apparently that wasn’t enough for some of his fellow Hindus. Assassinated.
- Richard Nixon – If we could forget about Watergate for a moment, we’d find much to admire in his thoughtful and often progressive leadership.
- Terence – “Moderation in all things.” Yep, this Roman author said it first.
- Theodore Roosevelt – A brilliant bundle of contradictions, TR stood up for the average American against big business interests. Survived an assassination attempt.
- Tsar Alexander II – One of the most open-minded of the Romanovs, he freed the serfs to bring Russia into the modern era. Assassinated.
- Vaclav Havel – Venerated man of letters was instrumental in the success of Czechoslovakia’s bloodless “Velvet Revolution.”
- Will Rogers – Beloved cowboy humorist told the truth in the form of gentle barbs aimed at America’s leaders, without bias or malice.
- Woodrow Wilson – His dogged, ultimately futile attempt to bring America out of isolation broke him in body and spirit.
- Yitzhak Rabin – Thoughtful Israeli leader showed a willingness to negotiate with the Palestinians. Assassinated.
Copyright 2009 by Rick Bayan.