Starting tomorrow the rubber hits the road we will now see if he can
cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a Herringgovern.
If he can win the war on terror and turn the economy around he’ll be a winner in my book.
8 Years ago I wrote a post titled President Bush rank: Obama where I ranked the Bush presidency vs others presidents. After ranking Bush I said this about the incoming Obama administration:
President Elect Obama has the potential to end up anywhere on his list. The trick is not to under rate him due to unreal expectations or overrate him due to his unique place in history. Lets hope he earns high ratings due to high performance. As of today it will come down to the economy and the war on terror but who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Well it’s eight years later and now we know so let’s again look at my grouping from the past.
I grouped them into 5 sections the top teir one being
TR, Cleveland, Lincoln, Polk, Washington
As I said at the time both Cleveland and Polk are great presidents who don’t get enough credit these days.
The 2nd group was
Reagan, Truman, FDR, McKinley, Monroe, Madison
As the years go by Reagan continues to knock at the door of that top level but in my mind still doesn’t get in, and while many of my fellow conservatives would disagree I say victory in WW 2 when the world was at Stake trumps FDR’s socialist New Deal
The 3rd Group was
Kennedy, Ike, Coolidge, Hayes, Jackson, Tyler, Jefferson, John Adams and now George W Bush
The Obama years particularly the comparison concerning the war on give the temptation to move Bush 2 into the higher level but I’m not quite there yet, plus his foolish response to the financial crisis at the end of his term enabled a lot of the trouble that Obama made during his years.
Put simply Barack Obama has no business being mentioned in the same league with with any of those first three tiers
The 4th group was
Clinton,GHW Bush, Ford, LB Johnson, Taft, Andrew Johnson, Pierce, Fillmore, Taylor.
And Obama doesn’t rank with any of the. Ford did yeoman’s work restoring the country, Clinton while a walking scandal was able to work with a GOP congress, Johnson for all the disaster of the great society has the civil rights act and was actually winning in Vietnam before the left undercut him, Taft while no TR continued man of his policies and while Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore and Zach Taylor either failed to stop a coming civil war or failed to unite a nation after one, all respected the rule of law or the Constitution. And the First Bush not only won the 1st Iraq war but managed to build a international group to support it.
The bottom tier of US presidents is
Carter, Nixon, Hoover, Harding, Wilson, B. Harrison, Garfield, Grant, Buchanan, WH. Harrison, Van Buren, JQ Adams.
Barack Obama owns this bottom tier and the question really is where within it does he lie? It’s a measure of how bad the Obama years were that it forces us to make levels in the bottom tier of presidents in order to find his true ranking.
The best of that bottom tier are: Wilson, Nixon and WH Harrison and Ben Harrison his grandson and Obama can’t compete with any of them
He easily ranks below Wilson because Wilson’s win in the 1st World War Trumps Obama’s failures, He also ranks below Nixon because not only did Tricky Dick have many actual accomplishments he only talked about weaponizing the IRS to use against his foes the Obama administration actually did it. In many ways the Obama years where an image of what the Nixon might have been if the press was solidly republican and saw their duty as defending him. Ben Harrison managed to blow the country’s surplus by giving it out to civil war vets and creating a giant deficit that still haunts us today and his tariff policies were awful which is the reason why his successful foreign policy agenda doesn’t get him out of this level He ranks below WH Harrison because Harrison died within a month of being sworn in and doing nothing would have been better than the Obama years.
How sad is it that a literal “Do nothing” president is far superior to Obama
The next level of that bottom tier are Garfield and JQ Adams Obama is not as good as either
Adams is the best of this batch, he came in under a cloud and accomplished little despite his incredible skills, but he also didn’t have any big failures, Garfield didn’t get much of a chance getting shot very early in his terms but his fight over patronage in NY puts him over obama.
That leaves Carter, Hoover, Harding, Grant, Buchanan, Van Buren and can Obama beat any of them?
There are two distinct groups here, Buchanan, Van Buren and Hoover served at a time of Crisis and failed
Grant, Carter and Harding all came in after a crisis and either didn’t succeed or made things worse.
of the six Harding is the easiest to rank above the others simply because of the economic state of the country. His scandals were unable to make things worse.
Hoover and Van Buren both served in times of crisis and despite good records proved unequal to the task but both of them rank above Obama as neither was able to make a bad situation worse and made honest efforts to solve problems.
That leaves Grant, Carter and Buchanan vs Obama This is tough.
Grant likely has to make the top of the list here, His presidency was scandal ridden but had at least four years of prosperity and his foreign policy was mixed rather than a failure.
Carter has to come in next, his policies harmed the economy tremendously, his foreign policy was for the most part disastrous from giving away the panama canal to the Iran Hostage crisis and only his hijack of the talks between Israel and Egypt save him from dead bottom. The line that Jimmy Carter was a best case scenario for Obama which started to be said around 2012 turned out to be very true.
So that puts it down to Obama vs Buchanan as to who is the worst president of all time.
The Failures of the Obama years from the massive corruption, the use of government as a weapon against political enemies, the enabling of our foes and the subjugation of our friends combined with a dismal economy and the war on Christianity both overseas and at home makes Barack Obama unique among president in that you have to go back to Jefferson Davis to find an American president more dedicated to harming the United States of America than him.
However while Obama’s failures might have lead to civil war Buchanan’s actually did. While one could argue that the crisis was building for years so you can’t blame Buchanan one might also argue that he saw it coming and did not act to prevent it.
In both cases Obama’s actions and Buchanan’s inaction were consistent with their worldviews. Buchanan’s sympathy to both Slavery and the south and Obama’s dislike of America and embrace of our enemies made any other result unlikely. Obama suffers because in comparison because of the high expectations the people had of him but Buchanan suffers because unlike Obama he actually had years of experience in both the House and Senate as well as being Secretary of state to an ambassador to both Russia and England.
Frankly in my mind you could choose either as the worst of the lot and not have a bad pick but if I’m pressed to choose I’d have to put Obama above old Buck simply because Obama was an inexperienced and incompetent Chicago machine pol who had no business being president thus his failures, while deliberate, are not entirely unexpected. Buchanan was an experienced and seasoned pol and diplomat so in my mind his culpability for the failures which led to incredible bloodshed are considerably worse.
So as of right now I rank Barack Obama as 43rd out of 44 presidents of the United States edging out James Buchanan. I’m sure others can make a case to reverse this order but that’s how I see it.
Meanwhile we have Donald Trump coming in. He has two intrinsic advantages:
The media and those who write history absolutely hate him so not failing will be seen as a success.
He follows the worst administration in 156 years so he can’t help but do better.
I think for Trump success or failure will come down to three things:
- The Economy. If growth returns then that is what people will remember
- War on Terror. Trump has a tough call here, he wants to both fight the war while keeping the US out of nation building. That’s a tough combo to pull off but if he can stop ISIS while securing the US he’ll be a success
- The Southern border. Normally this would not be as important but because he made it an intrinsic part of his campaign if a wall is not up or at least substantially built that will hurt him
Again like Obama he could end up anywhere on this list but if he manages these three things he will likely make at least tier 2. If he manages at least 2 of them tier 3.
Eight Years ago I said it would be fun to find out where Barack Obama would end up on my list. I was wrong, so rather than say the same about Trump let me just say it won’t be boring.
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