And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

An interesting lesson on Presidents from THE PROFESSORS of course.

Posted on: July 2, 2010

There are two articles here.  The first   is from Cato Institute and is more along the line of what I think of the  polling of a group of Professors on who was the Best president so I can be forgiven please for putting it first even tho it is kinds like the cart before the horse.

The second story is Politico’s report on where the Proffs  placed each President and their reasons.    My readers understand my lack of respect for the intelligentsia.  I am 99% of the time especially contemptuous of the so called “scholars”.. This poll of ranking the Presidents was among so-called Presidential Scholars”.  Wow!  ain’t we impressed?  I am sure you will be when you read their list.

After reading this post I would be interested in knowing your pick of the first 15 top Presidents.  I’ll give you my first three:1) George Washington, 2) Abraham Lincoln, 3) Harry Truman   and my last   four:  41) Jimmy Carter,  42) Woodrow Wilson, 43) Franklin Roosevelt,  44) Barack Obama.  BB

Who Were the Best Presidents?

Posted by David Boaz

At Politico Arena, the question of the day is:

A new Siena College poll ranks Barack Obama as the 15th best U.S. president (landing him below Bill Clinton, ahead of Ronald Reagan). Franklin Delano Roosevelt earned top honors, while Andrew Johnson was last. Pollsters say Obama is high on imagination, communication and intelligence, but weak on background. On your list of best presidents, where would President Obama land? Who was the best president, and who was the worst?

I responded:

Of course Obama ought to be given an incomplete. But he got a Nobel Peace Prize purely on spec. He does now have 18 months of presidential action, and he has already done many things that establishment political scientists like. Presidential scholars love presidents who expand the size, scope and power of government. Thus they put the Roosevelts at the top of the list. And they rate Woodrow Wilson — the anti-Madisonian president who gave us the entirely unnecessary World War I, which led to communism, National Socialism, World War II, and the Cold War – 8th. Now there’s a record for President Obama to aspire to! Create a century of war and terrorism, and you can move up from 15th to 8th.

George Washington, who made real the Founders’ dreams of a free republic, should surely be rated first. That he is not speaks volumes about the interests and values underlying this survey.

In his book Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, Ivan Eland gives high grades to presidents who left the American people alone to enjoy peace and prosperity, such as Grover Cleveland, Martin Van Buren, and Rutherford B. Hayes. The fact that you can’t remember what any of those presidents did is a plus. At the bottom he places Wilson, Truman, McKinley, Polk, and George W. Bush. Bush is also rated near the bottom by the Siena poll. But when current passions have faded, and the next generation’s establishment presidential scholars reflect on Bush’s expansion of federal power and executive power, Bush will start rising in the rankings.

I’m also amused by the presidential scholars’ ranking of Lyndon Johnson 1st in the category of relations with Congress. LBJ was known for his vulgar, arm-twisting, threatening, corrupt manipulation of a huge congressional majority. One would hope that congressional scholars might rate higher a president who recognized the constitutional limitations of the executive branch.

Professors rank President Obama 15th best president

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by EMILY SCHULTHEIS | 7/1/10 1:29 PM EDT

President Obama smiles during a town hall meeting.
President Barack Obama’s ranking is slightly higher than those of other presidents who have taken office since the poll started nearly 30 years ago. AP

POLITICO 44

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A new poll of leading presidential scholars ranks Barack Obama as the 15th best president of the United States, just below Bill Clinton but ahead of Ronald Reagan.

The Siena College poll, which surveyed 238 presidential scholars at U.S. colleges and universities, asked scholars to rate the nation’s 43 chief executives on 20 attributes ranging from legislative accomplishments to integrity and imagination.

In the overall ranking, Obama rated two places below Clinton, who was 13th best, and three better than Reagan, who is ranked as the 18th best.

Franklin D. Roosevelt again earned the top spot, as he has every time since the poll was first conducted in 1982. He and the Mount Rushmore presidents — Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — have consistently been the top five presidents in the poll’s findings.

Obama’s 15th ranking is slightly higher than other presidents who have taken office since the poll started nearly 30 years ago. Most start out at about number 20, said Siena statistics professor and poll director Douglas Lonnstrom.

“[Obama’s] doing a little better, but he’s generally in the same ballpark,” he said.

While he ranked high on traits like imagination (6th), communication ability (7th) and intelligence (8th), Obama rated poorly ratings on background (32nd), which was composed of traits like family, education and experience.

Lonnstrom said the main factor that gives a president a top-five or top-10 ranking is his accomplishments — and an all-around high ranking in most categories.

FDR, for example, ranks in the top 10 for every category except integrity, he said.

“The experts really are looking for consistency, a president who is looking good across most of these categories,” he said.

Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, was ranked at number 23 in 2002 — the last time Siena’s presidential expert poll was conducted — but has since dropped to number 39, qualifying him as one of the five worst presidents. Bush came in at number 42 — second to last — on issues such as handling the U.S. economy, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence. (Warren G. Harding was rated the least intelligent president).

Bush joins Harding, Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce, all of whom have consistently ranked as the worst presidents since the poll started, in the bottom five.

Several other presidents also saw movement in their ratings this year. Bill Clinton moved up five places, from No. 18 in 2002 to No. 13 today; John F. Kennedy also moved up, from No. 14 to No. 11.

Carter, Reagan and Nixon all dropped in the rankings this year — Carter dropped seven spots, from No. 25 in 2002 to No. 32 now; Reagan dropped two spots, from No. 16 to No. 18; and Nixon fell four spots, from No. 26 to No. 30.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39283.html#ixzz0sY9vBxJs

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