Reagan On Rushmore?

The Gipper in granite?

The Great Communicator reproduced in silent stone?

Ronald Reagan on Mount Rushmore?

If Rep. Matt Salmon, R.-Ariz., has his way, the former president will join the familiar stone faces in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He's introducing legislation to add President Reagan's likeness to Mount Rushmore.

Mr. Reagan turned 88 on Saturday.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum started drilling on Mount Rushmore in 1927, and he completed all four heads in 14 years. He had envisioned Mount Rushmore as a "commemoration of the foundation, preservation, and continental expansion of the United States." To communicate the concept, he chose four U.S. presidents as symbols:

  • George Washington, commander of the Revolutionary army and first U.S. president.
  • Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third president, and advocate of westward expansion.
  • Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, whose leadership restored the Union and ended slavery in the U.S.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president (and Borglum's personal hero), who promoted construction of the Panama Canal and backed reform efforts in conservation and business.
Salmon reasons that President Reagan's visage deserves to be added to the national monument because of his conservative principles. He calls Mr. Reagan "the 20th century's greatest president."

As for the current president, Salmon has another distinction in mind: He wants President Clinton to be the first president to be kicked out of office. Salmon voted with the Republican majority to impeach him.