• tim wood
    5k
    This is for fun. On a scale of -5 to 5, I rate the 45 US Presidents. See if you agree or differ. I couldn't see how to make this a participatory poll.

    Revolution through Civil War
    5 Washington
    4 Adams
    4 Jefferson
    3 Madison
    3 Monroe
    2 J.Q. Adams
    2 Jackson
    1 Van Buren
    0 Harrison
    1 Tyler
    0 Polk
    0 Taylor
    -1 Fillmore
    0 Pierce
    -1 Buchanan
    5 Lincoln

    Revolution through Civil War
    Total 28 points, Average, 1.75

    Post Civil War through WWII
    0 Johnson
    2 Grant
    2 Hayes
    -1 Garfield
    -1 Arthur
    -1 Cleveland
    -1 Harrison
    -1 Cleveland
    0 McKinley
    2 Roosevelt
    1 Taft
    2 Wilson
    -1 Harding
    0 Coolidge
    1 Hoover
    4 Roosevelt

    Post Civil War through WWII
    Total 8 points, Average 0.5

    Post WWII through current
    3 Truman
    3 Eisenhower
    1 Kennedy
    3 Johnson
    -2 Nixon
    1 Ford
    1 Carter
    -1 Reagan
    0 Bush
    2 Clinton
    -1 Bush
    3 Obama
    -3 Trump

    Total Post WWII through current. Total 10, Average 0.77

    Overall total 46 points, Average, 1.022

    Eleven presidents @ 3 - 5
    Seven @ 2
    Fifteen @ 0 - 1
    One @ -2
    One @ -3

    It looks like we get very good presidents when we need them, the rest average, and a few stinkers thrown in. Garfield through McKinley are six presidents serving five terms, c. 1880 -1900, because of assassination; near as I can tell, not a distinguished bunch. Trump at -3 is the worst and counting. Depending on events, he could get a -5 or lower, but lower would make him (imho) an extreme outlier.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Trump IS something of an outlier; he is decidedly worse than Nixon. I didn't like Nixon at all, but in some ways he deserves to be in the plus column (albeit a low number). Johnson was more likable than Nixon, and if you hated Nixon's Vietnam's policies, they weren't worse than Johnson's. I would rate Reagan very low. He wasn't a crook (per Nixon), but his domestic policies were terrible. His Star Wars Initiative was ruinously expensive for us, as well as the soviets.

    I don't think the first few presidents were all that hot either. Had I been around back then, I would have been a Federalist. Jackson? Quite disagreeable. Lincoln deserves a 5.

    I can't remember enough about the presidents after Johnson (Lincoln's vice prez) but what I do remember was that they were not all that bad.

    Harding maybe deserves a -2 or -3. When Dorothy Parker heard that Calvin Coolidge had died, she asked, "How could they tell?"

    Hoover's reputation may be underrated. He was a very competent executive, so I have heard. True, his austerity program at the onset of the Great depression (which at the time wasn't yet called the Great Depression) failed, when a perhaps non-intuitive generous increase in spending was called for. Everyone wasn't a Keynesian yet.

    Kennedy probably deserves a 2 instead of a 1; he was at least inspiring, and the press back then had the decency not to tell us about his exceptionally active sex life. Eisenhower a 1 or 2 instead of a 3. Carter deserves more than a 1. Had the Iran embassy rescue not blow up in his face (and dragged into the very inauguration of Reagan) he'd have a much better reputation. In fact, he might have served 2 terms.

    The bushes both deserve a zero -0- at most.

    Franklin Roosevelt deserves a 5.

    In summary: Were we to rank congress as well as the president, we would find that many sessions of Congress were awful.
  • ssu
    3k
    I would give a 4 to Eisenhower and 1 to older Bush and improve Reagan to at least 0.
    Johnson would deserve a 2. (-5, if he was in the plot to kill JFK, but who knows.)
  • 180 Proof
    1.6k
    My assessments, I'm afraid, are fairly conventional. Wiki, etc has helped me to recall the devilish details (always mindful of historical contexts and the risks, constraints, & opportunities (missed & taken) for presidential leadership). Of course, in the end, just a game of charades (or ideological rorschach) ... :cool:

    5 Best U.S. Presiden(ts) - 2 or more of the following: leadership in war; statemanship (i.e. diplomacy to prevent armed conflict); strengthened 'the rule-of-law' (i.e. constitutional order & norms); promoted civil political or fiscal reforms in order to minimize domestic social conflicts; etc

    1. Lincoln
    2. FDR
    3. Jefferson
    4. TR
    5. Washington

    5 Worst U.S. Presiden(cies) - 2 or more of the following: mal-administration (i.e. conspicuous incompetence); flagrant corruption (further undermining public trust ...); demogoguery (i.e. inciting / pandering to "racists" "xenophobes" "misogynists" "nationalists" "religious bigots" "conspiracy" wingnut agitprop, etc); weakening 'the rule-of-law' (i.e anti-democratic abuses of one or more branches of government, etc); hawkish militarism (e.g. "wars of opportunity"); etc ...

    1. tRUMP (aka "Individual-1" "Putin's Bitch" "Agent Orange" "M.oscow A.sset G.overning A.merica" "SCROTUS" ...)
    2. Buchanan (+ Pierce + Tyler + Fillmore)
    3. Harding + Bush 43 (aka "Dubya" "Shrub")
    4. A. Johnson + Cleveland 2nd
    5. Cleveland 1st + B. Harrison
  • tim wood
    5k
    Overall total 46 points, Average, 1.022tim wood
    Taking into account the alternative views expressed above, 6 points are added. New total 52, new avg. 1.155
    Most of this as upgrading Garfield through Harrison for +5, from -1 to 0. Maybe too generous.

    Anyway, arbitrary as it is, two conclusions: pretty good agreement on assessments and apparently most folks's history isn't up to the question. A little disappointing but not a great surprise.
  • Maw
    2k
    1. tRUMP (aka "Individual-1" "Putin's Bitch" "Agent Orange" "M.oscow A.sset G.overning A.merica" "SCROTUS" ...)
    3. Bush 43 (aka "Dubya" "Shrub")
    180 Proof

    I would say, minimally, Bush's War in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has lead to the death of most likely around 400,000 people in addition to around 7,000 Americans (while also helping to birth and enable ISIS), is worse than Trump (although he's doing his best to surpass him!)
  • 180 Proof
    1.6k
    In that one regard I agree, but disagree considering all or most of what I stipulate as "worst":

    5 Worst U.S. Presiden(cies) - 2 or more of the following: mal-administration (i.e. conspicuous incompetence); flagrant corruption (further undermining public trust...); demogoguery (i.e. inciting / pandering to "racists" "xenophobes" "misogynists" "nationalists" "religious bigots" "conspiracy" wingnut agitprop, etc); weakening 'the rule-of-law' (i.e anti-democratic abuses of one or more branches of government, etc); hawkish militarism (e.g. "wars of opportunity"); etc ...180 Proof

    There's not one of these attributions (and likely several more yet to be enumerated) which does not belong to tRUMP or his presidency, whereas, in my estimation, at least two Dubya was not guilty of during his eight (tedious, shameful) years in office.
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