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Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:36 PM

On this President's Day, let's rank the modern presidents.

It's easy to get lost in all the presidents prior to the 20th Century - even part of the 20th Century. The presidency has evolved a great deal over the years and the role is certainly different today than it was 100 years ago. The modern presidency, really, was shaped by FDR. He made the president more than just the commander-in-chief who relegated domestic responsibility solely to the Congress. Since then, in various ways, the presidents who've followed have taken an active role in shaping the agenda here at home - and in some instances, actively working to radically overhaul it.

Because of that, the fact it was FDR who paved the way for this, and did so successfully, it's hard to say any president since has been more influential or great. Add the additional war in Europe and Asia that he guided the nation through and you have a case that is difficult to defeat.

Of course, FDR was not perfect. He did some bad things as president - overstepped his constitutional grounds not only through the New Deal, but also the Court Packing and, even if it was proved legal at the time, the internment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor. Are those mistakes overwhelming enough to overshadow his entire presidency? Most historians don't believe so, and I'm inclined to go with them - FDR did way more good than bad.

And ultimately, isn't that how you define a good/great president? Every leader - from Lincoln to Obama - is going to do something that is perceived wrong by a good portion of the country. It might be a military action or a scandal, but it's all in the context of that person's presidency. Does it define his presidency - or does it prove to be a passing moment often forgotten by history?

So, let's try to rank the best presidents since Hoover - and if you want, you can throw Hoover for good measure.

I'll give my rankings and my explanations for why I put 'em where they are.

1. FDR

Roosevelt came to power during the worst economic depression in American history. No one quite knew what direction the nation would take and whether its economic status as a super power would continue. Over 20% of the country was unemployed and a good portion of the nation had absolutely nothing - no money, no assets ... it was all lost in the stock market crash and the economic collapse that followed. It's hard to put into words exactly what the nation faced during the Great Depression. When they say people didn't have money ... they really meant people didn't have money. It wasn't necessarily that they were struggling to make ends meet and living paycheck to paycheck - it was that they had no paycheck, no money, no ability to acquire money and it was a mood that really stayed with the country throughout the entire 1930s.

The ending of the depression was not fast. I think we've built it up in our minds that it just kind of ended overnight. It didn't. The unemployment rate stayed above 15% for much of the 30s and Roosevelt's second term, the U.S. plunged right back into recession, spiking the numbers closer to 20% again - though it was brief. It took a long time for the numbers to get anywhere near the level they were prior to the depression and much of that was also the direct result of World War II.

In the end, Roosevelt successfully guided the U.S. through the Great Depression and World War II - but he also adjusted the way we looked at the economy. Prior to his administration, there was an acceptance of the free market - let it run its course ... and accept its fate. Unfortunately, for millions of Americans, allowing the free market to collapse like it did, resulted in them losing pretty much everything. So, even though Roosevelt was called a socialist and a communist and a Marxist, he was also the person who saved free market capitalism. Had he not won, had the U.S. not climbed out of the depths of the Great Depression in the 1930s, it's very possible the country lurches to the extremes - either embracing socialism, as was the case in a few struggling world economies, or embracing fascism, which was happening in parts of Europe.

Roosevelt is perceived as a liberal, and he certainly was the most liberal president we've probably ever had, but he was also a moderate compared to where the nation could have gone. Extremism lives in economic despair - that's how Hitler came to power in Germany. When people are desperate ... they generally accept desperate measures.

That's the whole irony with FDR because he stepped in and kept the U.S. economy a free market economy when maybe someone else could have come along and shifted us more to a socialist or fascist state.

2. Barack Obama

This is probably going to be a controversial selection. Obama is barely into his second term and I'm already putting him second. My posting history indicates I am a very big Obama supporter, so, maybe this will be considered a homer selection - but it is my opinion and you're all free to have your own opinions. But I think Obama, outside FDR, has been the most successful and influential president in modern American history. It's not that he is just the first black president, which certainly will always be his legacy, but also because he, like FDR, has radically changed the view of government.

I guess both were able to do that because an economic downturn once again reminded the American people that Laissez-faire economics does not work - the free market is not going to just fix itself without hurting millions of people in the process. Yes, government can be the answer to the question ... even if Reagan Republicans have spent the last 40 years telling us it isn't.

What Obama has done, much like FDR, is adjust the narrative. He's not like Bill Clinton when he talked of the era of big government being over. But he's also not like FDR, who expanded the role of federal government beyond anything we had ever seen before. FDR built the foundation, and as hard as the Republicans tried to end it, it still existed in 2009 when Obama became president. He didn't necessarily need to build a new foundation, but fix the foundation that had been neglected by every president, really, since Johnson.

Like Roosevelt, Obama has struggled fixing a deep, deep recession (if not outright depression). Unlike Roosevelt, he won't have the benefit of war to officially put an end to those economic struggles. This is entirely a period growth that has to be cultivated domestically and that's always more difficult to establish than just going to war and watching the unemployment rate plummet. The reality is, in fact, at no time in American history have we faced such stark economic realities without an easy solution. I mentioned how FDR was able to calm the depression, but it was ultimately WWII that ended it - there is no WWII. Even if there was a WWIII, the dynamics of our military would not provide the economic expansion needed to fully come out of this recession.

And yet, the country endures. The recession didn't turn into a full blown depression and the bottom, while painful, wasn't as deep as it could have been. The climb back continues - but it is happening. More impressively, it's happening even with an obstructionist congress hell-bent on making the President fail at every turn. Still, like our country, he endures.



But it goes beyond just changing the public's perception of government. It's standing up for civil rights - whether they're women's rights or gay rights. No other modern president, outside maybe Lyndon Johnson, has had more positive impact in terms of advancing civil rights than Barack Obama.

He also became the first president in American history to overhaul our healthcare system. In 20 and 30 and 40 years, much like how we view Social Security and Medicare, we too will view Obamacare.

What will Obama's lasting legacy be? I don't know. But I think it'll be positive. I think he'll be proven as the man who, like FDR, saved our economy and then guided the U.S. to a new role on the international stage - not isolationist, but also not interventionist. He'll do controversial things ... but I do think, as it was with FDR, the good will far outweigh the bad.

3. LBJ

This is a tough selection to make because LBJ is dogged by the Vietnam War. But it's also hard to ignore his domestic programs and his fight to continue Roosevelt's New Deal. More so than any president since FDR died, Johnson had a bigger and more positive role domestically. He could have been #1 or #2 had it not been for Vietnam. But Vietnam is there and, truthfully, it might be enough 'there' to drop him a few spots. I don't know. I wrestled with this choice because I've been very negatively affected by the war because my father fought in it and suffered major medical complications because of it. But I also know my mom benefits from medicare and we've benefited from food stamps in the past.

Essentially, you have Johnson the President and Johnson the commander-in-chief. Johnson the President is great. Johnson the commander-in-chief is bad - historically, awfully bad.

So, maybe this ranking is too high and maybe he deserves to be at the bottom solely because of Vietnam. But his legacy is the body of his work and it isn't just Vietnam. It would be too easy to ignore his domestic agenda and what he did for civil rights - just as it would be to ignore what happened in Vietnam. That makes me inclined to double-rank LBJ. LBJ the President is third. LBJ the commander-in-chief is probably only better than George W. Bush.

4. Harry Truman

Harry Truman made the toughest decision maybe any president has ever made when he dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. We can debate whether it was needed or not - but that's the challenges of being president. It's why you want the best and the most qualified and the most humane man in that chair because at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, they're going to be making the final call on decisions that could devastate a country.

Truman continued Roosevelt's domestic agenda and even expanded it - especially when it came to civil rights. Here, he was actually more progressive than Roosevelt and actually didn't get bogged down in the politics of it ... he did what he believed was right. It also led to the beginning of the end of the Democrats' southern dominance. If FDR began the middle class, it was Truman who really advanced their cause.

5. JFK

I think Kennedy is often overrated because of how his presidency ended. But I also don't pretend to not understand the impact he had on the world. Kennedy brought an entirely different view to the White House, and, like FDR, allowed Americans to believe again. He was young, attractive, charismatic - but most importantly, he was smart. He wanted to do good and he did do good in the three short years he was president. Unfortunately, the greatness that could have been never was because he died. Much of what we attribute to Kennedy happened after he was assassinated - medicare, civil rights, the space program, man walking on the moon. He also is absolved of the sins of Vietnam because it's now widely believed he was readying to leave Vietnam prior to his death. We can speculate all we want - but really, no one knows ... even if they think they know. It's all conjecture. But it works, because Kennedy is viewed through the lens of 'what if' and not 'what actually happened'. He could have proven to be the greatest president - one who brought civil rights to America, bolstered the social safety net and guided the nation to the moon ... all without the trials of Vietnam. He also could have proven a constant struggle - either with Vietnam or, as we've seen with Pres. Obama, an obstructionist congress refusing to pass any key legislation.

Really, no one knows how his presidency could have played out. He most certainly would've won reelection - but is a Kennedy second term more successful than LBJ's initial presidency?

6. Bill Clinton

I like Bill Clinton. I think Bill Clinton was a good president. I think Bill Clinton could've been a great president. He certainly oversaw a great economic expansion - but outside his accomplishments in that regard, his legacy is generally going to be muddled. Domestically, outside the economy, which was only partially his actions, there isn't much for Clinton to hang his hat on. I think, sadly, he became snakebitten after the healthcare debacle and that was only reinforced in '94 when he lost control of the Senate and the House. From that point on, his presidency was almost universally tied to triangulation and I don't think, in the long run, it benefited the country.

Clinton also has a hand in the economic recession we saw in 2007 and 2008. I hate saying it, and I'm sure some will disagree, but his deregulating everything - which, to be fair, was something Bush, Bush, Reagan and Carter did during their presidencies - and embracing of bubble economics, helped lead the U.S. down the path of economic destruction.

Oddly, Clinton embraced laissez-faire economics in the 1990s - he got out of the way of economic expansion and it worked. But, as it was the case in the 1920s with Calvin Coolidge, getting out of the way meant no one was there to stop the inevitable slide.

Because of that, Clinton's ranking is complicated. He won't get a bulk of the blame for the 00s recession or the '08 recession, and he certainly doesn't deserve it. But he also had a hand in it - as did Ronald Reagan and Bush's father. It was an ideology that, unfortunately, dominated the U.S. since, really, the 1970s. And every president, from Nixon to W. Bush, played a role in this mess. It didn't happen overnight, but it sure did feel like it collapsed overnight.

Clinton, in my view, after the '93 healthcare fight, became the presidential caretaker. He wasn't the type of leader who used the office to change domestic policy. He was a compromiser and that's not necessarily bad - especially for the time. But Clinton will never be perceived a great president because he kind of just pulled back when he failed in passing healthcare reform. You can't blame him, really, because it was probably devastating - especially on top of his fight to get an economic stimulus in the early days of his presidency (which never happened).

He'll always be remembered for the economic expansion in the 90s and that certainly will bolster his historical claims. But much like Coolidge in the 20s, it might be all he's really remembered for.

7. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower was the last Republican president truly influenced by the New Deal. He was not a reformer, and therefore not a threat to FDR's policies. If there is a Republican you could tolerate to continue FDR-Truman's legacy, it was Eisenhower. Of course, that made him nearly unbeatable (Taft certainly would have lost that election to the Democrat). But in historical context, he was a good president - maybe even better than Bill Clinton. He really transitioned the U.S. economy from a war economy to a peacetime economy, which is never easy (see the two recessions under his leadership). But he wasn't perfect and his legacy murky because he was moderate in almost every sense of the word - he didn't do much to shake things up.

His civil rights policies were tepid and never really expressed a personal commitment to civil rights, which allowed the south to dissolve into near pure anarchy. He stood by and let Joe McCarthy wage his anti-communist campaign. A president, of the same party, rebuking the senator, could have meant so much to so many people - he sat quietly. Finally, as much as we idolize Eisenhower's words on the Military Industrial Complex, we also ignore the fact he couldn't defuse the Cold War and in fact, left it hotter than when he became president.

8. Jimmy Carter

If this was a ranking of human beings, Jimmy Carter would be #1. He is the most honest president we've ever had and had the character I think we all want in a president. Unfortunately, Carter's administration was often overwhelmed by the problems of the day - and he didn't necessarily combat them very well. He bungled healthcare reform, which turned Senate Democrats against him (namely Ted Kennedy) and struggled on foreign policy, specifically in Iran. The economy plunged into a recession during an election year, and, above all, he was too damn honest for the American people. His malaise speech was good and truthful and sobering and not what the American people wanted to hear. It's why, not too long after, Ronald Reagan won in a landslide - because Reagan was good at telling Americans what they wanted to hear.

Jimmy Carter wasn't, though, and because of that, his presidency is often seen as a failure. It wasn't. He did do some good things. He did bring environmental issues to the forefront and his economic policies helped ease the U.S. out of recession and into a period of growth in the early 80s. Of course, he also deregulated transportation, specifically airline deregulation, and that really began the U.S.'s push to deregulate every aspect of its economy.

Is Carter the worst president we've ever had? No. That is a hyperbole. But, on policy and success, he's probably not considered one of the best, either. Unfortunately, he was just too consumed at a time that probably would've doomed any candidate. He was just in the wrong place at the wrond time.

9. Gerald Ford

The accidental president was, like Carter, a good man and someone who I think tried his best to unify the nation after Watergate. Unfortunately, his presidency was too short to really have an impact - outside his pardoning of Nixon, which, today, still remains a contentious decision.

10. George H.W. Bush

Like Carter, Bush was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was the sacrificial lamb to Ronald Reagan's legacy. He had to fail so that Reagan could succeed. But Bush does get a bad rap. He reluctantly went forward with a budget deal with congressional Democrats that did raise taxes, but it also probably helped pull us out of the recession, something that, unfortunately for him, would happen after he left office. On foreign policy, he did handle the dissolving of the Soviet Union well and was far more perceptive to their leaders than Reagan - even before the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Of course, the first Iraq War, while an initial success, has brought up more questions than answers - as it led to the U.S. involvement in that country for essentially twenty-years.

But Bush was not in office long enough to do any real good or any real damage. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for his son.

11. Richard Nixon

Nixon could have been much higher on this list had he not been so paranoid. But he was and the rest is history. Nixon was not a good president because he did something presidents should never do - he abused his power and tarnished the office for a lifetime. It's hard to downplay just how bad Watergate was on the presidency and we're still feeling the ramifications of it today. Every scandal is seen through the lens of Watergate and it has allowed for a creeping paranoia that undermines the office itself. Nixon was also a terrible human being, though, as we saw with Carter, that doesn't necessarily mean much when you're looking at presidents, and someone who is directly responsible for the toxic political environment we see today. He wrote the original blueprint on how to use coded language to divide the country along racial lines and the Republicans have been using it ever since. If it wasn't for his presidency, the actual results of what he did, he'd probably be the worst president in American history. But, for some ungodly reason, Nixon was able to advance some good legislation and his travels to China really opened things up between the two countries.

Of course, much of that is negated by his handling of Vietnam. Like LBJ, his presidency was consumed enough by it to leave some dark marks. Nixon lied to the American people - shocker - and because of that, he's proven, across the board, to be the most untrustworthy president in American history. And yet, through all his lies and Watergate, he still managed one of the largest electoral landslides in American political history ... and had it not been for a bungled burglary, he probably would have gotten away with it all. Fortunately, he didn't.

12. Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was the bizarro FDR. He basically spent his entire presidency trying to undo everything FDR accomplished and because of that, we're still paying for his decisions today. But Reagan was an influential president - maybe the 2nd most influential president on this list behind Roosevelt. If you're a conservative, that's great news. If you're everyone else ... not so much. He gutted the unions, ruined the middle class and used class warfare to his benefit. He turned Americans against one another, painted an ugly image of minorities in this country that continues today and that doesn't even begin to touch on the turbulent, and often illegal, foreign policy.

Oh yeah - he also spent ... a lot. Reagan ran up the most debt of any president since World War II, saw the largest budget deficits and somehow, for god only knows what reason, he's been re-branded as a fiscal conservative.

Go figure.

13. George W. Bush

If I were to name everything wrong with Bush, I'd be here forever. I'll put it this way - take every negative thing about the above presidents, combine 'em, amplify 'em and you'll have the Bush presidency.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply On this President's Day, let's rank the modern presidents. (Original post)
Drunken Irishman Feb 2013 OP
Cane4Dems Feb 2013 #1
Onlooker Feb 2013 #2
russspeakeasy Feb 2013 #3
Lasher Feb 2013 #4
Laelth Feb 2013 #5
Lasher Feb 2013 #7
Blanks Feb 2013 #10
Laelth Feb 2013 #17
hay rick Feb 2013 #13
dsc Feb 2013 #6
blue neen Feb 2013 #8
ffr Feb 2013 #9
garthranzz Feb 2013 #11
mvd Feb 2013 #12
blkmusclmachine Feb 2013 #14
prouddem19665nvd Feb 2013 #15
Rowdyboy Feb 2013 #16
zipplewrath Feb 2013 #18
davleuv May 2014 #19

Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:01 PM

1. very thoughtful analysis!

great read!...even though I may not agree with it all I found your rankings really interesting!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:02 PM

2. I'd rank them like this

1. FDR (the birth of modern liberalism)
2. Kennedy/Johnson (civil rights, Medicare, NASA, creating a climate that led to women's rights and the birth of gay rights)
3. No one compared the accomplishments above
4. Obama (health care reform, gay rights)
5. No one compared to the accomplishments above
6. Clinton (family leave, starting the reversal of Reganism)
7. Carter (making human rights part of official American policy, but also destroying the Teamsters union)
8. Eisenhower (keeping much of liberalism in place, despite pressures from the right)
8. Ford (harmless)
9. Nixon (opening relations with China, but otherwise a corrupt bigot)
10. Reagan (supporting Gorbachev, but otherwise a bigoted pawn)
11. Bush II (a pathetic presidency)
12. Truman (for nuking Japan, he's the worst president in history; I hope he's burning in hell for the horror he unleashed that haunts us to this day)


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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:07 PM

3. Very well done. Thanks for the good read.

And, I happen to agree.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:12 PM

4. According to scholars:

FDR
Truman
Ike
JFK
LBJ
Obama
Reagan
Clinton
GHWB
Ford
Carter
Nixon
GWB

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States#Scholar_survey_results

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:13 PM

5. Nice post--very thoughtful and well-defended.

For what it's worth, here's my list:

1. FDR
2. LBJ
3. Harry Truman
4. Jimmy Carter
5. JFK
6. Eisenhower
7. Bill Clinton (i.e. the best Republican President since Eisenhower)
8. Barack Obama (i.e. the 2nd best Republican President since Eisenhower)
9. Gerald Ford
10. Nixon
11. GHWB
12. Ronald Reagan
13. GWB
14. Alexander Haig (LOL - for those who remember)

-Laelth


Edit:Laelth--I was trying too hard to forget Nixon. As such, I omitted him from my original list.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:49 PM

7. Hee hee

Without a doubt, the most ignorant Secretary of State ever. What a clown!

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Response to Laelth (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:31 PM

10. I think Haig was above Dubya.

Even for the 30 seconds that he thought he was in charge.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:40 AM

17. You make a good point. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 12:43 AM

13. You have my top two in order.

rest of my list- which could be slightly different tomorrow...
3. Eisenhower
4. Truman
5. JFK
6. Carter
7. Ford- he was merely mediocre, which puts him above the rest of my list:
8-11 (tie) Clinton, Obama, Nixon, GHWB
12. Reagan
13. GWB- worst by a wide margin.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:27 PM

6. Clinton opened up every single solitary government position save the uniformed military

to LGB Americans. He also passed family leave which was very important. He ended the worst crisis since Nazism in Europe.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:20 PM

8. Good analysis.

Food for thought!

Thanks!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:51 PM

9. If only Clinton would have accomplished these...

he'd have something more than a great economic expansion to "hang his hat on."

Deficits Replace By Surpluses: Keeping Us On Track to Be Debt Free by 2009 That's not annual budget debt free, that's public debt, the total U.S. deficit debt free. And all starting with the largest annual deficit handed to him by GHWB, $290B and forecast to continue to be over $455B annually by the end of 2000. But that didn't happen as we all know. He ended 2000 with a $124B surplus and forecast budget surpluses for as far as the eye could see.

Government Spending: Lowest in Over Three Decades
Taxes for Typical Families: Lowest in Over Two Decades
Jobs Are Up: Nearly 21 Million Created Since January 1993
Faster Economic Growth: 3.9 Percent Per Year. That easily clears Reagan's 2.8%. An era in which he had to support the economy with budget deficits to accomplish.
Homeownership Is Up: The Highest in American History
Inflation is Down: The Lowest Core Rate In 35 Years
Unemployment Is Down: The Lowest Rate in 30 Years
Unemployment for African Americans the Lowest on Record
Unemployment for Hispanics Recovered From Record Highs to Achieve Record Lows
Real Wages Rising Again: Fastest Growth in Two Decades
Poverty For African-Americans Dropped to Lowest On Record
Poverty For Hispanics Dropped to Lowest Since 1979
Poverty For Single Mothers is the Lowest On Record
Family Income Up More Than $5,000 Since 1993
Federal spending as a share of the economy is the lowest since 1966.
A SMALLER BUT MORE PROGRESSIVE GOVERNMENT - reversing twelve years when the Republicans exploded the deficit and more than quadrupled the debt. At the same time, the Clinton-Gore Administration has made investments in everything from education to science and technology to health care to tax relief for working families.

And the list goes on for days. I'll end up with writer's cramp trying to get it all in. I may end up breaking DU in the process and I'd rather not do that. But from all the accomplishments above to every field below, Clinton-Gore made America better. They invested in our future and the results speak for themselves.

Education and Training
Child Care
Health Care
Environment
Working Families
Community Empowerment
From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity
Research & Development
Safe Communities
United States Leadership in the World
America's Armed Forces
Restoring Fairness to Legal Immigrants
Tobacco Policy
Farm Safety Net
Building One America

It's all there in the open for all to see. It's all listed on the Web and at his presidential library. What turns people off most though is that it's as deep as a fractal zoom on a Mandelbrot Set. Program after program, investment after investment, one success story after another.

Clinton earned his right to be in the top ten of all time. When you factor in Newt and the opposition to everything Clinton attempted to accomplish, just like with Obama, I'd rank him higher still. And in no list should Reagan come ahead of Clinton.

But if only Clinton had something more than a simple economic expansion to hang his hat on.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:17 PM

11. A slightly different order

Good analysis. I wish I had time to explain my reasons more thoroughly.

1. FDR (Though you did leave out a major failure - not bombing the rail lines to Auschwitz)
2. JFK (Civil Rights, Space Program, Cuba)
3. Obama
4. Truman
5. LBJ (Vietnam - can't separate the domestic from the foreign)
6. Ike (I could see him moving up; #4-6 can easily be arranged, depending on what you're emphasizing)
7. Clinton

I'd draw a big line between those seven and the rest.
8. Ford (As the OP said; in some ways, he's more of an asterisk. I'd take him out of the list altogether if I could.)

And another line
9. Carter (I'll give him #9 because he was a Dem; imho, a disaster before and after)
10. Reagan
11. Bush I

Hell's not hot enough for the last two.
12. Nixon
13. Bush II (I never thought anyone could be worse than Nixon. After Katrina...)



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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:30 PM

12. Last for sure, George W. Bush!

He nearly wrecked this country beyond repair, making my life far worse than it was before he was selected. Second worst is Reagan for starting this anti-government nonsense. Government is our buffer from the excesses of capitalism. I am not sure about Obama yet (he has done some great things but doesn't fit my definition of transformative enough), but just the thought of Bush II in Romney made me vote for President Obama over the more liberal candidates like Stein. I would rate Obama over President Clinton. First would be FDR, even though his record on civil liberties wasn't stellar. No President is without fault.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 12:46 AM

14. Too soon for Obama, but it's not looking good so far.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 01:16 AM

15. I agree with your list for the most part

 

Although I'd rank Nixon above both Bushes, and Truman above LBJ

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 01:34 AM

16. Very well thoughtout...my only difference would be to place Clinton higher....

Overall you are spot on in your analysis,at least in my opinion.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 02:05 PM

18. A few changes

Ain't no way to put LBJ after Obama. Just no comparison at all. Yes, he ramped up Vietnam, but Obama ramped up Afhanistan, and started the drone wars. ACA pales in comparison with the Great Society Programs.

Obama is the third (and now4th) term of the Clinton Presidency, so he probably ought to go right after Clinton, with LBJ in the #2 slot. I'd move JFK down, possibly right around Carter. And I'd probably swap Ford and Bush senior.

Also interesting you didn't go back to Wilson (last 100 years basically). You might be surprised how low some folks would put Wilson. And I'd put Hoover above a few of the folks on this list.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Sat May 10, 2014, 02:19 AM

19. My ranking....

1. FDR
2. Truman
3. Ike
4. LBJ
5. JFK
6. Clinton
7. Obama
8. Bush 41
9. Nixon
10. Carter
11. Ford
12. Reagan
13. Bush 43

FDR is #1 for obvious reasons and 43 is last for obvious reasons. Truman came in at a very crucial time and in my opinion did great so he gets second. Ike is at third mainly because he didn't have as many faults as the Presidents that came since, but I think he to did great.

LBJ was great with Domestic Policy and would be second after FDR if not for the disaster that was the Vietnam War, and while Kennedy talked a good game, he really didn't deliver much outside of the Peace Corps. He's just average to me. Maybe slightly above average.

Obama had some good (Osama killed, Torture has ended, some parts of health care are good) and some bad (most of Bush 43's foreign policy has been continued and expanded, and despite some good things health care reform was a handout to the insurance companies). He may overtake Clinton and maybe Kennedy as time progresses and we have a better understanding of his presidency. Clinton as time progresses I think will be seen as an average President who mainly benefited from timing. It pains me to put Carter and Ford as low as I did, but both were largely ineffective Presidents. Nixon was a crook, but he opened China, passed the SALT treaty, and did (though arguably reluctantly) give us the EPA and OSHA. Bush 41 was kind of opposite of LBJ. 41 was good on foreign affairs, but pretty bad domestically (outside of passing the Americans with Disabilities Act). He lacked vision and was rightfully voted out after one term. The only thing that keeps Reagan from the bottom is that Dubya and Cheney were Reagan on steroids.

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