I saw you say on Twitter once that you thought...and I'm doing this from memory...that LBJ, Nixon, and Reagan were the most interesting post-war Presidents. What's your criteria for "interesting", and why do these guys stick out? From a psychological standpoint, I'd think Clinton should be in the Top 3, too...I do think that Clinton is interesting, too...I suppose I'd rank him #4.
Hmmm....criteria for interesting? I guess it's just personal. I do think that the era of the more personal presidency made personality stand out, and Johnson and Nixon are smack in the middle of that, so that's one factor, perhaps. I mean, Barack Obama has a fascinating life story, but it's not as clear how it affects his presidency.
What else? With Johnson and Nixon, you have elements of tragedy: great abilities and skills, great flaws. I guess I don't see Clinton has having great flaws in the same way. Oh, flaws all right. But difficulty controlling appetites just doesn't strike me as nearly as fascinating as what crippled LBJ and RMN. As for Reagan, I find his relationship with facts just incredible. Some of the Reagan stories about things that he believed were true, or at least stories he told as if they were true...people find them hard to believe. And yet Ronald Reagan was a very successful man, who came from nothing and wound up with three successful careers (radio, Hollywood, politics). How do those things fit together?
I guess I'm sort of answering the question...what I seem to find interesting are contradictions in personality, especially when they seem to be closely related to outcomes in the White House.