True, most Americans give lip service to the proposition that even the most exalted among us have their flaws, but we are eager to believe that presidents manage to rise above the limitations that beset the rest of us.
Richard Nixon had a kind of Walter Mitty fantasy life. He was a man with a grandiose thoughts: dreams of not simply being president but maybe becoming one of the truly great presidents of American history.
As someone who has more than a passing acquaintance with most of the 20th century presidents, I have often thought that their accomplishments have little staying power in shaping popular views of their leadership.
At the start of first terms, presidents invariably have a measure of goodwill.