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Davian93
07-25-2016, 01:32 PM
Since Kimon made that off the cuff comment in the other thread...anyone want to have some fun ranking US Presidents since say the turn of the 19th century (excluding McKinley since he was killed in 1901 so he doesnt really count)? There's been 19 in that period (soon to be a 20th).

For me, it would be as follows:

1. Franklin Roosevelt
2. Theodore Roosevelt
3. Woodrow Wilson
4. Harry Truman
5. Dwight Eisenhower
5. Bill Clinton
7. Lyndon Johnson
8. Barack Obama
9. John Kennedy
10. Ronald Reagan
11. George HW Bush
12. Gerald Ford
13. Calvin Coolidge
14. Jimmy Carter
15. William Taft
16. Herbert Hoover
17. Warren G. Harding
18. George W. Bush
19. Richard Nixon

Debatable of course and heavily tinged by my own political views as well (but then our opinions are always heavily tinged towards our own ideology).

I would say that there is a huge, huge gap between Taft/Carter (who I'd put about the same) and those final 4 on the list...all of whom were probably at the very bottom of an overall list too. Though Hoover does get a pretty bum rap for being incompetent while the other 3 were outright criminals.

Rand al'Fain
07-25-2016, 01:44 PM
In some circles, 1 and 2 would be interchangeable. Teddy introduced standards for food (before, there was none), brought in the idea of National Parks (like Yellowstone), had no problem being on the front line of war, and thus far, has been the closest a 3rd party candidate has come to being elected President since the GOP replaced the Wigs (the Bull Moose Party).

Kimon
07-25-2016, 01:57 PM
1)FDR
2)Teddy
3)Ike
4)LBJ
5)Clinton
6)Truman
7)Obama
8)Kennedy
9)Wilson
10)Ford
11)Elder Bush
12)Carter
13)Reagan
14)Taft
15)Hoover
16)Nixon
17)Younger Bush
18)Harding
19)Coolidge

Pretty similar to yours, though you seem to have a far more favorable view of Wilson than do I.

Davian93
07-25-2016, 02:01 PM
Wilson did a lot of good things and very wisely kept us out of WWI until it was almost over so we got to massively build up our economy while not having to pay much of the cost of the most destructive war in history (up to that point). Because of that decision, if nothing else, we essentially took the UK and France's position in the world economy and both of those nations became massive debtors...as well as Germany for that matter. His biggest failures were his southern views on racism and his ego (leading to his humiliation at Versailles and his failure to get the League of Nations ratified by the Senate).

Nixon almost destroyed the presidency...so he has to be the bottom for me.

Kimon
07-25-2016, 02:07 PM
Wilson did a lot of good things and very wisely kept us out of WWI until it was almost over so we got to massively build up our economy while not having to pay much of the cost of the most destructive war in history (up to that point). Because of that decision, if nothing else, we essentially took the UK and France's position in the world economy and both of those nations became massive debtors...as well as Germany for that matter. His biggest failures were his southern views on racism and his ego (leading to his humiliation at Versailles and his failure to get the League of Nations ratified by the Senate).

Nixon almost destroyed the presidency...so he has to be the bottom for me.

He also was largely to blame for causing WWII due to his inept handling of Versailles. He should have listened to Keynes. He also showed his incompetence in his inability to sell the League of Nations. He also resisted the shift to allowing women the vote, needing to be shamed before he capitulated, and he was a quack who regularly listened to a psychic's advice.

Davian93
07-25-2016, 02:12 PM
He also was largely to blame for causing WWII due to his inept handling of Versailles. He should have listened to Keynes. He also showed his incompetence in his inability to sell the League of Nations. He also resisted the shift to allowing women the vote, needing to be shamed before he capitulated, and he was a quack who regularly listened to a psychic's advice.

I would disagree there. He literally had almost zero influence on Clemenceau or Lloyd George. They were the driving force behind "punishing Germany". If you'll recall, he was against those retaliatory proposals. Clemenceau particularly was essentially the #1 person responsible for guaranteeing that Versailles was nothing more than a 20 year ceasefire rather than a lasting peace.

He was a massive failure at Versailles but honestly he wasn't the cause of the issues there. He just failed to stop the others. The Brits & French at Versailles are also the overriding reason we have the issues in the Middle East that we have to this day with their idiocy there.

To be fair on his failures with the League...his massive stroke and resulting incapacity had more to do with it than anything. Hard to campaign for something when you're bedridden and your wife is running things.

Davian93
07-25-2016, 02:15 PM
Other positives for him:

1. Transformed the US tax code with income taxes allowing for the development of a modern government.
2. He was against Prohibition and correctly predicted its total failure and collapse.
3. Creation of the Federal Reserve...again modernizing our economy from the vicious boom/bust cycle from before.

Kimon
07-25-2016, 02:26 PM
Other positives for him:

1. Transformed the US tax code with income taxes allowing for the development of a modern government.
2. He was against Prohibition and correctly predicted its total failure and collapse.
3. Creation of the Federal Reserve...again modernizing our economy from the vicious boom/bust cycle from before.

I can't overlook Versailles, Edgar Cayce, or his stonewalling of the suffrage movement. That puts him in the middle - presidents with potential, who at least had mostly good intentions, but fuc*ed things up.

So we have the great (1-2), the good (3-8), the meh (9-12), the bad (13-15), the awful (16-19)

Davian93
07-25-2016, 02:33 PM
I can't overlook Versailles, Edgar Cayce, or his stonewalling of the suffrage movement. That puts him in the middle - presidents with potential, who at least had mostly good intentions, but fuc*ed things up.

Wilson was hardly alone in his support of Cayce. Its hard to condemn him completely for that given the views of the time period. People believed alot of crazy crap back then...Cayce was far from the only "new age psychic" of that time period.

As for Versailles, I think you are vastly overestimating his influence or even potential influence in the peace talks. The other powers were adamant in their desire to punish Germany regardless of what he said/did.

GonzoTheGreat
07-26-2016, 04:44 AM
In defence of Wilson: the suffragettes gave you Prohibition (now known as the War on Drugs), so there was at least some reason to be unsure about the wisdom of that movement.

Ozymandias
07-28-2016, 04:07 PM
Personally, I think FDR stands head and shoulders above the rest. 2-5 are solid-to-great and are pretty interchangeable. They all had something of which to be proud. Truman/Kennedy/Ford get credit for not being stains on humanity, and Wilson, for all that he was a terrible person, also got us through WWI and at least had the right idea as far as international cooperation and leniency towards Germany.

The rest of them down the list are interchangeable as far as I'm concerned until Reagan. Reagan, Nixon, and Harding were criminals and belong on a tier of their own. Hoover/Coolidge/Younger Bush were just inept people doomed by the Peter Principle, and Clinton... well, lets just say I'm not sure why he's getting so much love. Leaving aside his personal conduct, what did he do that was so monumental or worth remembering? His only real claim to fame is that he wasn't part of the unbelievably criminal Reagan Administration (Bush Sr gets lumped in there) and the unbelievably inept GWB Administration.

1)FDR
2)Teddy
3)Ike
4)LBJ
5)Obama
6)Truman
7)Kennedy
8)Wilson
9)Ford
10)Elder Bush
11)Clinton
12)Taft
13)Carter
14)Hoover
15)Coolidge
16)Younger Bush
17)Reagan
18)Nixon
19)Harding

Kimon
07-28-2016, 05:42 PM
and Clinton... well, lets just say I'm not sure why he's getting so much love. Leaving aside his personal conduct, what did he do that was so monumental or worth remembering? His only real claim to fame is that he wasn't part of the unbelievably criminal Reagan Administration (Bush Sr gets lumped in there) and the unbelievably inept GWB Administration.


How much credit he should get for the strong economy during his tenure is open to debate, but he was pragmatic enough to realize that unpopular or not, that trying to repeal NAFTA, as it was already negotiated when he entered office, would do more harm than good. As for other accomplishments - he also signed the Brady Bill (I would prefer even something stronger in terms of gun control, but even just a return to this now seems impossible); he tried to get universal health care passed, it failed, but he did get parts of it through - mostly extensions of medicaid for poor children; he only got us embroiled in one war, Kosovo, which was justified, limited, and successful; he gave us two excellent supreme court justices - Breyer and Ginsburg. He also was a truly gifted and brilliant politician. Point to another man who could get caught getting a blowjob in the oval office, lie about it, and not only survive impeachment, but emerge as a hero that made the Republicans look like a bunch of hypocritical, incompetent, witch-hunting buffoons.

At the very least he deserves to be placed before Ford. Ford was a good man, and more pragmatic than Carter, who was a fool who was incapable of working with Congress, but he suffered from an awful economy, and all his attempts to right the ship backfired. And he pardoned Nixon. Ford did, to his credit, also grant amnesty to draft dodgers. He also continued setting the groundwork for detente with the Soviets, and he tried to finally get us to take a tougher, less blindly friendly, stance with Israel. He also, perhaps unsurprisingly, gave us a pretty decent supreme court justice - John Paul Stevens. Ford mostly just had bad luck, but he was one of the last of the old Rockefeller crowd, a memory of a time when there were actually reasonable Republicans.

Rand al'Fain
07-28-2016, 08:01 PM
How would all of you rank Eisenhower?

Kimon
07-28-2016, 09:06 PM
How would all of you rank Eisenhower?

Seems like we all liked Ike. I had him third. The highways alone earn him that ranking, but he also, even if it preceded his presidency, deserves quite a bit of recognition for how he handled the allied command in wwii. He also handled the Korean War quite well, and he understood the value that all of the New Deal programs had for the country. Some will likely take issue with his use of the CIA, and certainly, he was responsible for the coup that toppled Mossadegh, and sowed quite a few problematic seeds for us in the Middle East, but, on the other hand, he began the desegregation of the armed forces and famously warned of the dangers of the growing military industrial complex. And, he appointed arguably the greatest supreme court justice, Earl Warren.

Southpaw2012
08-04-2016, 01:57 PM
1. Reagan

2. Jefferson

3. Lincoln

4. Washington

5. JFK

6. Truman

7. Clinton

8. FDR

9. Nixon

10. Teddy

41. George W.

42. Wilson

43. Obama

44. Carter

More comfortable with the bottom four. Wilson, Obama, and Carter shouldn't even make a list of the worst because they go beyond.

Rand al'Fain
08-04-2016, 05:52 PM
Nixon? George W.?

The others I can see, to one degree or another, but those two? Even the most positive views on Bush are that he was "okay".

Nixon? I just don't get that one.

Terez
08-05-2016, 06:45 AM
1. Reagan
lol

PS: I decided that was a shitpost, so here's a more substantial comment: your top 5 are basically cult of personality types. JFK? I mean, he wasn't terrible; he did some good things and some bad things. But he was more of a charismatic and he's mostly remembered for being assassinated. And this was supposed to be a list of 20th and 21st century presidents precisely because it's difficult to compare them with 18th and 19th century presidents.

GonzoTheGreat
08-05-2016, 06:59 AM
In Southpaw's defence: technically, Dav did not specify which turn of the 19th century one should use. So picking the starting turn instead of the ending turn could be legitimate. Of course, that'd still exclude George Washington, but then, even for me it's difficult to properly defend right wing dogma.

Terez
08-05-2016, 07:41 AM
In Southpaw's defence: technically, Dav did not specify which turn of the 19th century one should use.
Yeah he did...if you read the rest of his post. :p

(Though I do take your point. Typically "turn of the 19th" would mean the beginning.)

Davian93
08-05-2016, 12:21 PM
Yeah, that was a typo on my part, I meant 20th. It was explained in the context afterward obviously but I did make that initial mistake when creating the thread.

Daekyras
08-13-2016, 05:58 PM
1. Chester A Arthur.
.
.
.
Every other dude.

This is based solely on the fact he's the only president referenced as a plot point in a Die Hard movie.

so what if he is outside of your parameters Dav, he's still the greatest. ;)

Davian93
08-14-2016, 10:24 PM
Its all good...he was a Vermonter so he gets honorary status anyway.

He was born in Fairfield, VT (about 20 min from where I used to live in St. Albans (we had a really awesome loft apartment there...just an awesome apartment really) and he lived in a house in Hinesburg (where I live now for the next 2 weeks till we move to Denver). He was only there for a little bit but there's still a historic marker there nonetheless and the house is protected by being on the historic registry.

GonzoTheGreat
08-15-2016, 04:57 AM
1. Chester A Arthur.
Why wasn't he named Chester B Arthur?

Nazbaque
08-15-2016, 06:45 AM
Why wasn't he named Chester B Arthur?

I think Chester I Arthur would have been better.

Ozymandias
09-09-2016, 06:07 PM
Seems like we all liked Ike. I had him third. The highways alone earn him that ranking, but he also, even if it preceded his presidency, deserves quite a bit of recognition for how he handled the allied command in wwii.


Having had this exact argument at a dinner a couple days ago, I was interested in revisiting this.

First off, should Eisenhower get credit for things that occurred before his Presidency? Some of the all-time worst Presidents had excellent records as generals or politicians; all the things LBJ is credited for, for example, were exactly the opposite of his policies as a Senator/Congressman. And Zachary Taylor was a successful general despite being a total nonentity in the Presidency.

But more to the point, Eisenhower was an enormously popular President who was almost totally unwilling to use that popularity to drive through meaningful Civil Rights legislation (Truman issued to the executive order to desegregate the armed forces, not Eisenhower). I don't know if that should knock him way down or not... but his near total refusal to take leadership on the most important political question of the day has to be acknowledged. That he managed to shift the blame to the Senate doesn't mean he should get a free pass (even if he was right)

Kimon
09-09-2016, 08:06 PM
First off, should Eisenhower get credit for things that occurred before his Presidency? Some of the all-time worst Presidents had excellent records as generals or politicians; all the things LBJ is credited for, for example, were exactly the opposite of his policies as a Senator/Congressman. And Zachary Taylor was a successful general despite being a total nonentity in the Presidency.


It definitely should apply to his overall legacy, though shouldn't cloud one's assessment of his presidency.

But more to the point, Eisenhower was an enormously popular President who was almost totally unwilling to use that popularity to drive through meaningful Civil Rights legislation (Truman issued to the executive order to desegregate the armed forces, not Eisenhower). I don't know if that should knock him way down or not... but his near total refusal to take leadership on the most important political question of the day has to be acknowledged. That he managed to shift the blame to the Senate doesn't mean he should get a free pass (even if he was right)

This is unfair. Truman's ordered desegregation the armed forces had almost gone completely ignored and unenforced until Eisenhower took over and pushed for its enforcement. Likewise he made clear efforts to enforce integration in DC, and fought for the enforcement of the Brown decision, both through his standoff with the segregationist governor of Arkansas, and his promotion of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He didn't do as much as LBJ did, but he did help chip away at the obstruction, and begin the spadework that JFK and LBJ would take up and continue in the next decade.