It is time once again to for me to rank a president finishing a term. While this is the 3rd time I am doing it it’s the first time I do it in the face of a term that should not be ending with a President that could potentially return to office in four years. It’s an odd situation but odd or not lets go back to the tiers that I have been using since 2009 and figure out where things stand.
The Bottom Tier of Presidents are:
Carter, Nixon, Hoover, Harding, Wilson, B. Harrison, Garfield, Grant, Buchanan, WH. Harrison, Van Buren, JQ Adams and Obama
Obama’s record was so bad that I had to make tiers within tiers to rank him just above Buchanan as the 2nd worst president of all time, but that was before we knew of his involvement in spying on a candidate running for President. As of this moment Obama ranks the worst of the worst because for all of Buchanan’s failures, I have concluded Obama was and is and remains the 1st American president in history whose goal was the downfall of the United States of America who was not named Jefferson Davis.
The tier of President’s just above the Obama tier (which is what the failure tier from this date on will be called) is:
Clinton, GHW Bush, Ford, LB Johnson, Taft, Andrew Johnson, Pierce, Fillmore, Taylor.
I’ve been reading some history from the era from the 19th century and none of it temps me to move any of those fellows in either direction but I have found myself thinking that Clinton while belonging in this group is likely near the top of it for the simple reason that he was able to adapt to the public to achieve a few things. However while not a one of these guys can hold a candle to Trump all are much better then the people in the Obama tier at least in terms of their times in the White House.
The next tier of President’s on my list is:
Kennedy, Ike, Coolidge, Hayes, Jackson, Tyler, Jefferson, John Adams and now George W Bush
I was really expecting Donald Trump to either just barely squeeze into this group or to be at the top of the last one when he entered office but his accomplishments without new wars put him above each and every one of these men. As for GWB my placement of him in this group looks pretty good in retrospect although like Clinton I find him with the clear vision of history rising within it. I think a lot of Trump voters would disagree but Bush 2 was a much better president than anyone gave him credit for and really was the right man at the right time.
The “Near Great” president’s group consists of:
Reagan, Truman, FDR, McKinley, Monroe, Madison
I was sorely tempted to put Trump in here but FDR’s socialism and fawning over the USSR costs him, McKinley’s and Madison’s willingness to put us into wars we didn’t need hurt them vs Trump. Truman was helped in his accomplishments by the WW 2 victory from FDR but failed to follow up in Korea. Reagan for all his great communication skills accomplished what he did with a party behind him and Monroe, I’m almost thinking he might deserve a better ranking due to both peace and prosperity of his era and perhaps in four or eight years I might decide to put him there, but he had an advantage that Trump didn’t and that’s the love of the elites.
That leaves only the top tier which consists of
TR, Cleveland, Lincoln, Polk, Washington and now Trump
Trump has a lot in common with all the men here. He is like Teddy Roosevelt in that he is a plain speaker who accomplished a lot while being hated by elites. Lincoln was also hated by elites and considered an idiot and both he and Trump acted to serve the black community, although Trump did so even though the vast majority of said community voted against him. Cleveland believed a public office was a Public Trust and made choices and appointments more on merit than party which is another Trump trait. Polk is the President that I’ve most compared Trump to in that no other president in the history of the country kept more of his promises to the public than he did. Finally Washington and Trump had extreme wealth in common yet both abandoned the comfort they enjoyed for public service although Trump did it much later in life.
At the time he was sworn in I said:
I think for Trump success or failure will come down to three things
1. The Economy. If growth returns then that is what people will remember
2. 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
3. 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.
What really cements Trump into this level is that list doesn’t begin to touch on his incredible list of accomplishments to wit
- The Tax cuts
- The Crushing of ISIS
- Regulation cuts
- Moving our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
- The Wall and reduction in illegal immigration
- The space force (which has already foiled a terror plot
- The China Ban, Covid Relief and the record setting vaccine
- Dropping the Iran deal and the Paris deal
- New Stock Market records
- New records of black, hispanic and female employment
- Criminal Justice reforms
- Trade deals in our favor
- Energy independence for the Country
- Reform of the VA and right to try laws
- Funding black education
- Remaking of the judiciary (although in fairness Mitch McConnell deserves a lot of the credit there)
- And finally multiple Arab Israel Peace deals that everyone else said was impossible and the attempt to make peace with North Korea which while unsuccessful was worth the shot
All accomplished in the teeth of the media and tech giants who did all they could to destroy him and a congress than ran with false charges against him from the moment he got into office.
You literally have to go to Lincoln and Washington to find a president who did as much in the face of adversity Lincoln’s adversity being the civil war and the hatred of his own party and Washington having to do it all from scratch with a new country and constitution and nothing to back him up.
Trump in my opinion is below both Washington & Lincoln but right now with passions where they are while I’m not solid where in this group he goes. If you forced me to name a spot my gut says above Cleveland and Polk by a hair and sparing with TR for that 3rd spot as both had a personality that rubbed many the wrong way but I’ll have a better perspective in four year unless he wins in 2024 then I’ll have to completely reevaluate his position based on a 2nd non-consecutive term. A bad enough job in a 2nd terms and he could drop to the 3rd tier easy. A good enough one and he could solidify the bronze but I would doubt he could take the silver or Gold from Lincoln or Washington, but with what is likely coming from the Biden and Harris administration coming (or what is actually Obama’s 3rd term) I suspect Trump’s stock will only rise in comparison.
Which brings us to Joe Biden. He comes into office with one advantage that Trump had namely the lowest expectations of any incoming president for years.
He has one disadvantage that Trump never had but Obama did, a press that will by so fawning (till Jan 21st 2023) that he will never be challenged (till Jan 21st 2023) which will make his mistakes more glaring and likely more destructive as they’ll not be challenged.
Finally he has one trait that you have to go back to Rutherford Hays to even consider. Biden will be legally president but he’ll never be legitimately president. He will be the 1st president in history to violate his oath of office by the act of taking it. Sixty years after the fact now that nobody involved can be punished for it, historians talk about the theft of Illinois for Kennedy in 1960 for the win as just one of those interesting facts of history. I’m wondering if it will take that long here since it was a much larger operation with so many more people involved?
Where will he finish when he leaves? I honestly don’t know. There are two huge issues in guessing this:
- Biden’s core set of beliefs are as flexible as a contortionist turned prostitute I have no idea what he actually believes other than in getting rich off his office but perhaps power will cause him to advance what actual beliefs he has but there’s a catch there which is also problem two
- I suspect he isn’t actually holding power both due to his own infirmities and the crowd that owns him. They have enough on him and his own to put his entire family away and if he chooses to stray from anything beyond useful idiot status his owners from China to Obama will destroy him before Jan of 2023 rather than afterwards. Of course he is old and sick enough that he might not even live to be pushed out for Harris at that date but with the best health care available who knows?
Bottom line given his age, infirmity, corruption and the nature of his gaining power by theft I can’t imagine that he can max out to make even level three with Hayes and company and what we’ve seen already suggests it will take real effort to avoid the bottom tier.
I would be absolutely delighted to be proved wrong here, but I doubt that will be the case.
But hey Trump completely surprised me for the better and while I think it’s practically impossible that Biden can do the same, it isn’t completely impossible in a world with God by whom all things are possible.
Pray for the country we’re going to need it.