The Atlantic has a pretty good article about the presidential Pez dispensers that have recently come onto the market. The article quotes my friend Kevin Gutzman, who gets it pretty much right. Here’s the context:
Not everyone in academia is smitten, however. “Although I’m a Madison biographer, I’m not a Madison idolator. I don’t have any Madison kitsch in my home,” says Kevin R. C. Gutzman, author of James Madison and the Making of America.
“I think it’s unrepublican to commemorate every president, as if they were deceased Roman politicians who had been divinized by the Senate,” he says. “A few of them deserve to be remembered, for one reason or another, as exemplary or as cautionary. Most don’t. President worship is not a positive development. It has led to serious distortions in our constitutional system.”