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Presidential Rankings

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    C-SPAN released its presidential rankings again this week (in honor of President's Day). This has become somewhat of a tradition for C-SPAN, and they re-rank the Presidents every time a new president is sworn in. So this is the first time Bush II is included in the list (he fairs a bit better than expected, ranking as the 36th best of 42 presidents). For the purpose of the rankings Grover Cleveland is only counted once even though he is both the 22nd and 24th president of the US (Cleveland holds the distinction of being the only president elected to two non-consecutive terms).

    There are no really big surprises in the list, with Lincoln still ranking as #1, with his predecessor Buchanan still firmly entrenched as #42.

    Link.
     
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  2. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Better than expected by who? I think historians already agree that his response to 9/11 was excellent -- even if the rest of his policies were substandard.

    I stated in an earlier thread that Bush, although clearly below average, would not break the "bottom five." In the (paraphrased) words of Truman, 'The worst leader is the one that does nothing.'

    I was surprised by the huge jumps by both Ulysses Grant and Bill Clinton.
     
  3. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    That's really fascinating. Being a Reagan fan, I'm surprised he didn't score higher, but he managed to slide his way into the top 10. I'm also extremely glad he beat Clinton. I loved Clinton's ranking on "moral authority" -- he scored at 37th place, and George W. Bush scored at 35! That's a little mind boggling, but it shows what happens when you think with your trouser titan!
     
  4. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Thanks for posting this thread, Aldeth. I thought the rankings were very interesting. GWB is ranked pretty much near the bottom. His supporters will point to Truman, who was unpopular and ranked pretty low after leaving office, and is now in the current top ten. But I suspect that GWB will remain in the bottom ten, especially since the economic downturn started during his watch. While it is not his fault, it seems that whoever is the president during a good chuck of the time leading up to an event like this one, still gets the blame anyway. And as Truman himself was fond of saying: "The buck stops here." The liability comes with the territory.

    Nevertheless, Carter, Nixon and Ford were all ranked higher than GWB.

    Clinton is now doing pretty well in these rankings, and has moved up to 15 - very respectable. I thought that was interesting.

    I really thought Jefferson should have been number three. My rankings would have been just a slight shuffle:

    1. Lincoln
    2. FDR
    3. Jefferson
    4. Washington
    5. Teddy Roosevelt

    At least that's how I see it. Jefferson usually gets a hit for the embargo of his second term (terrible idea). I also would have ranked John Adams a little higher, somewhere in the top 15. I would not have ranked George Bush I higher than Madison. Madison usually gets a hit for the War of 1812, but really he stayed true to his principles, which for his time were pretty much what they should have been (as a son of the Revolution). Monroe - Madison and Jefferson's compatriolt - and last of the revolutionary presidents to hold office, is ranked pretty high, although technically, Madison was the last of them, since he survived the longest.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I would have given a little more importance to the Revolutionary generation, rather than the latest generation of presidents.
     
  5. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    It was my opinion - he ranked better than expected compared to the other 41 presidents of course. That's what a ranking system is afterall.

    If you look at who finished lower than him we have: Fillmore, Harding, Harrison, Pierce, Johnson (Andrew) and Buchanan. I'm not going to argue that Bush deserves to be ranked higher than Harding, Johnson, and Buchanan. Harrison almost seems unrankable given how short he served, and the fact that he was quite ill for most of that time. I consider Fillmore and Pierce to be largely "do nothing" presidents (well I guess you can say that Pierce did quite a bit of drinking). While they certainly did nothing to enhance the office of the Presidency, or the standing of the US, I feel that Bush was detrimental on both points. So I would have ranked him 39th - and thus 36th was higher than I expected.

    How was his response to 9/11 "exceptional" anyway? He gave a speech and started the war in Afghanistan, which I think is largely what any other president would have done. About the biggest positive thing I have heard any of his supporters say about Bush is "He kept us safe", which is only true if you don't count 9/11.
     
  6. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I thought there might have been an "I" missing in the statement. ;)

    I think if you look at all the events immediately following 9/11, Bush was pretty much flawless -- halting air flight until there were reasonable assurances of safety; revamping the way the FBI and CIA communicated on issues of terrorism (they were diametric opposites); establishing the Department of Homeland Security; presented a public face to show confidence in our security; redefining responsibilities for terrorism among the various departments; etc.. Some of his changes were almost revolutionary in scope, completely changing the way government business was done.

    Granted, he fell from grace shortly after the initial responses. He responded very well to the initial crisis, but then went off on his own tangent. Had he done nothing after 9/11 I would rank him at the bottom as many of his following policies have been questionable.
     
  7. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    OK, I know a fair bit about American politics, given that my cable feeds are all American and my Mom was an expat, but my American history is not up to snuff. So tell me, what made Buchanan everyone's whipping boy for both polls. Did he get caught humping a sheep in the Oval office or something?
     
  8. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Hell, I barely recognice half of those dudes and I am quite up to date compared to most non-Americans and I probably recognice them better than old Swedish primes. Poor dead old guys. ;)
     
  9. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    @LKD: Buchanan was the president just before Lincoln and often blamed for not preventing the Civil War.

    @joacqin: There is a list of U.S. presidents here.
     
  10. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    I thought I just read a list of US presidents?
     
  11. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Pure silliness. Hopefully Fox will come out with a similar list so we can compare and contrast the two biases.
     
  12. khazadman Gems: 6/31
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    I'm sorry, but any poll that places Carter anywhere other than the bottom 5 is bogus. I would have placed Washington at the top, though. Here was a man who, when offered the chance to be king, turned it down.
     
  13. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    IMHO, i would have ranked them thusly for the top ten
    1) George Washington
    2) Thomas Jefferson
    3) Harry Truman
    4) John Adams
    5) Ronald Reagan
    6) Franklin D Roosevelt
    7) Abraham Lincoln
    8) Theodore Roosevelt
    9) Dwight D Eisenhower
    10) John Kennedy
     
  14. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    I thought C-span was part of PBS which I was under the impression was the public non commercial American media outlet controlled by the state Snook? They if anyone should be unbiased shouldn't they?
     
  15. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I don't get all the hate on Carter. Ok, he wasn't able to solve the Iranian hostage crisis quickly enough, and the economy was in a downturn... but putting him in the bottom five seems way too much.
     
  16. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Mea Culpa. I read it too fast and thought it said "CNN"
     
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    One would think - it's not like I posted a list from MSNBC or Fox News.

    I agree. Carter was definitely a below average President and deserves to be ranked in the bottom half of the list (which he is), but the problems that caused the runaway inflation and the gas crisis started before he entered office, and were beyond his ability to control. I could not justify ranking anyone in the bottom 6 or 7 ahead of him.

    However, I think the reason Carter is often put down is because he was followed by Reagan, who is easily the most popular president we've had since Kennedy. When you have one of the better presidents in history (and Reagan certainly qualifies as such at least among Republicans) either immediately before or after you, it makes your performance look worse because of the inevitible comparisons people will draw. A case in point is with Lincoln - he is ranked first overall in the list, and the guys immediately before and after him are the bottom two members of the list. There is no doubt that Buchanan and Johnson were lousy presidents, but I think they look that much worse when compared to Lincoln.

    No where the heck did this emminently reasonable list come from? I don't agree with the order necessarily (for example I think you have Adams way too high), but that is a very defensible list. I fully expected to see a list that was overwhelmingly Repubican, and yet there are three honest-to-goodness Democrats there, and a fourth guy who absolutley would have been a Democrat had such a party existed at that time (Jefferson).

    EDIT:

    Do you realize how much of a partizan hack you sound like right now? You initially called the poll "pure silliness" because you thought it was from CNN, and then retracted the comment after you realized it was C-SPAN instead. It just shows that you weren't commenting on the list but what you thought of the source that compiled it. (And CNN isn't even that liberal!)
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
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  18. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Well I think we will have to disagree on how liberal CNN is, but isn't it a little bit of bad form to jump down the throat of someone who apoligized? I don't think anyone can or should look at a list without looking at who prepared it.
     
  19. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Of course it's wise when examining a list to look at who prepared it... But that wasn't what I was criticizing you for. (Also, I wasn't jumping down your throat for apologizing, as you seem to have implied. Maybe I wasn't clear in my post, if so, then sorry - my bad.) You know that I am liberal leaning, so you seem to have assumed I posted a list biased in favor of Democrats that gave short shrift to Republicans. The only way you could make a mistake like that is by not doing the very thing you claim to have done i.e., looking at who prepared it. A cursory glance at the list shows that Democrats and Republicans are represented in fairly equal proportions regardless of whether you are looking at the top 10 or bottom 10.
     
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  20. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    I think a lot of people seriously underestimate Adams. Think about it, he had the unenviable burden of following Washington, who was admired & respected by friend & foe alike. Even those that hated him respected him.
    Being able to just get through four years without the country collapsing was a HUGE accomplishment.
     
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