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Presidents Ranked Over Time


vcczar
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There have been 21 major rankings since the first one in 1948. Here's how the presidents have done. Naturally, some presidents have been in more rankings than others:

Times as the Best President:

Lincoln - 12
FDR - 6
Washington - 3
 
Times in the top 5:
Lincoln - 21 (100%)
FDR - 21 (100%)
Washington - 21 (100%)
T Roosevelt - 18
Jefferson - 17
Truman - 2
Eisenhower - 2
Wilson - 2
Jackson - 1
 
Times in the top 10:
Lincoln - 21 (100%)
FDR - 21 (100%)
Washington - 21 (100%)
T Roosevelt - 21 (100%)
Jefferson - 21 (100%)
Truman - 21 (100%)
Eisenhower - 16
Wilson - 15
Jackson - 11
JFK - 8
Reagan - 7
Madison - 7
Polk - 6
LBJ - 4
J Adams - 4
Monroe - 3
Obama - 2
Cleveland - 1
Clinton - 1
 
Times in the bottom 10:
Tyler - 21
Fillmore - 21
Pierce - 21
Harding - 21
Buchanan - 21
A Johnson - 20
Hoover - 14
Grant - 12
Taylor - 11
WH Harrison - 11
Coolidge - 9
Nixon - 7
B Harrison - 5
GW Bush - 4
Arthur - 3
Carter - 3
Hayes - 1
Garfield - 1
Ford - 1
 
Times in the bottom 5:
Pierce - 20
Harding - 20
A Johnson - 18
Grant - 8
WH Harrison - 5
Buchanan - 3
Nixon - 3
Trump - 2
Coolidge - 1
Tyler - 1
GW Bush - 1
Taylor - 1
 
Times as the Worst President: 
Harding - 9
Buchanan - 8
A Johnson - 3
Trump - 1
 
Thoughts:
  • If Trump has any hope its that GW Bush, Grant, and Harding are all presidents that have been top 5 worst presidents and then moved up. Of these, Grant is recently considered above average, a huge reversal as he had been the 2nd worst in a few polls. 
  • Clinton's infidelities and Trump's infidelities and corruption are definitely contributing to Harding's rise in the rankings. He's no longer in the dog house as much.
  • Strangely, Andrew Johnson wasn't considered a failure until the 1960s, however he still had a bad ranking.
  • Eisenhower was almost a top 10 worst president in 1962, which isn't surprising considering the 1957 recession, U-2 fiasco, Russians beating us in Space, Korean War stalemate, and failure to get his VP Nixon elected as president.
  • Jackson and Wilson collapsed as social issues--especially in regards to minorities--became more and more of an election issue. If they rebound, it won't be for a hundred years. 
  • I think its time to reevaluate B Harrison, Taylor, JFK, LBJ, Truman, and Wilson. I think Harrison's is a proto-activist president in a way that influences later presidents. I think Taylor's unfulfilled goals are worth considering, especially as for influence Lincoln. I think JFK--as amazing of a speaker as he is--was seriously overrated. LBJ's domestic policy should carry more weight than Vietnam, making him a top 10 or top 5 president. I think Truman should get docked huge points for transitioning us from "the only thing we have to fear" to a national security state built on fear. I think Wilson's active racism and the fact that he hid his stroke should cost him more points than they do. 

 

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54 minutes ago, pilight said:

Vietnam will matter less as it recedes in time and LBJ's rankings will improve accordingly.  Once it has the same emotional gradient as the Spanish-American war, LBJ will be threatening the top five.

Unfortunate considering the massive harm he has done to the nations most vulnerable and poorest communities. If Vietnam fades it should decrease his rating, not catapult him to a sorely undeserved top spot.

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3 hours ago, pilight said:

Vietnam will matter less as it recedes in time and LBJ's rankings will improve accordingly.  Once it has the same emotional gradient as the Spanish-American war, LBJ will be threatening the top five.

Vietnam is Kennedy's and LBJ's fault. (That's right he started the d--n thing - Nixon)

Also, I'm someone who believes LBJ murdered Kennedy, along with 7 other people (including his own sister), so he ranks close to the bottom in my opinion.

Edited by Timur
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4 hours ago, vcczar said:

Thoughts:

  • If Trump has any hope its that GW Bush, Grant, and Harding are all presidents that have been top 5 worst presidents and then moved up. Of these, Grant is recently considered above average, a huge reversal as he had been the 2nd worst in a few polls. 
  • Clinton's infidelities and Trump's infidelities and corruption are definitely contributing to Harding's rise in the rankings. He's no longer in the dog house as much.
  • Strangely, Andrew Johnson wasn't considered a failure until the 1960s, however he still had a bad ranking.
  • Eisenhower was almost a top 10 worst president in 1962, which isn't surprising considering the 1957 recession, U-2 fiasco, Russians beating us in Space, Korean War stalemate, and failure to get his VP Nixon elected as president.
  • Jackson and Wilson collapsed as social issues--especially in regards to minorities--became more and more of an election issue. If they rebound, it won't be for a hundred years. 
  • I think its time to reevaluate B Harrison, Taylor, JFK, LBJ, Truman, and Wilson. I think Harrison's is a proto-activist president in a way that influences later presidents. I think Taylor's unfulfilled goals are worth considering, especially as for influence Lincoln. I think JFK--as amazing of a speaker as he is--was seriously overrated. LBJ's domestic policy should carry more weight than Vietnam, making him a top 10 or top 5 president. I think Truman should get docked huge points for transitioning us from "the only thing we have to fear" to a national security state built on fear. I think Wilson's active racism and the fact that he hid his stroke should cost him more points than they do. 

 

1.The only hope Trump has is that the next Presidents are more chaotic and controversial: America elects an open felon, a Communist, a Fascist, etc.

2.Harrison may be underrated, but I don't have much knowledge about him. He voted against the Chinese Exclusion Act, but that was pre-Presidency.

3.JFK is overrated. He won because he looked good on TV and because of voter fraud.

4.I have a different opinion on Truman and LBJ. BTW, the Communists were a threat. Also, I personally wish LBJ was in the bottom 5.

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7 minutes ago, Patine said:

Were these communities doing better, or heading in a better direction, under the contemporary Southern Governors who were among the biggest vocal critics at the time of the Great Society, Civil Rights' Act, and the Voting Rights Act (the last just basically enforcing the over 75-years underenforced 15th Amendment)? Or did you see some other path to empowerment and achievement there that wouldn't immensely increase the anguish, socio-political frustration, and reign of hard, undisguised injustice by quite a few more years? This is a serious question.

I think you fail to understand my qualm is not with the civil rights acts but rather with the monstrous Great Society that represents the modern variety of economic Jim Crow. 
 

And to answer your question yes, Great Society actually did reverse positive economic and social trends that black families were experiencing in the 1950s. If we’d left it at civil rights those trends would have accelerated. But that was of course never Johnson’s goal- continued oppression was always his goal. And that’s exactly what he did. He succeeded and millions suffer under the modern variety of systemic racism which he constructed to systematically dismantle social and economic mobility for communities of color.

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1 minute ago, Dobs said:

I think you fail to understand my qualm is not with the civil rights acts but rather with the monstrous Great Society that represents the modern variety of economic Jim Crow. 
 

And to answer your question yes, Great Society actually did reverse positive economic and social trends that black families were experiencing in the 1950s. If we’d left it at civil rights those trends would have accelerated. But that was of course never Johnson’s goal- continued oppression was always his goal. And that’s exactly what he did. He succeeded and millions suffer under the modern variety of systemic racism which he constructed to systematically dismantle social and economic mobility for communities of color.

I think it is valid to question parts for do the great society but to question all of it is shortsighted 

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Just now, vcczar said:

I think it is valid to question parts for do the great society but to question all of it is shortsighted 

Everything government does is worth questioning at least initially. Due diligence scrutiny is never short-sighted. 

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12 hours ago, Dobs said:

Everything government does is worth questioning at least initially. Due diligence scrutiny is never short-sighted. 

I’m not talking about questioning. I’m talking about analysis and results. Parts of LBJs great society did a lot for all poor people, black and white. The quality of life increase for poor whites is covered in detail in a book I read recently called White Trash. Quality of life increase for blacks is well covered. There’s a reason historians tend to rank LBJ so high, almost unanimously. That said. Parts of his war on poverty failed. Some results weren’t as great as he hoped. But their was a lot of overall improvement for the poor. They weren’t just waiting to die in many cases. 

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