Skip to comments.Ten "Best" and "Worst" Presidents
Posted on 02/14/2009 10:56:52 PM PST by Eleutheria5
(Feb. 14) - It's no surprise to see Abraham Lincoln, the man who held the nation together when it was on the brink of collapse, atop the list of greatest American presidents. But many other presidents are judged far differently by experts than by the general public. Bill Clinton left office with a high approval rating, but a panel of writers who focus on US politics and foreign affairs at the Times, a British publication, considered him mediocre. The president who passed progressive legislation but who saddled himself with the Monica Lewinsky scandal landed at number 23. As panelist Ben Macintyre put it, Clinton "promised so much, delivered so little and embarrassed everyone." The panel of 8 judges ranked some modern day presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush at far ends of the spectrum. And others were close: John F. Kennedy missed the top 10 by one spot and Jimmy Carter barely managed to escape the bottom 10. Click through the galleries below to see how these experts ranked American leaders and the reasons why. Further down the page you can tell us if you agree and test your knowledge with our presidential quiz. The full list is here.
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Then let's look at Dubya, ranked 37th worse in a tie with Richard M. Nixon. Yes, he did mishandle the occupation of Iraq for a time. But in the end, he prevailed, just like Lincoln did. Yes, homeland security is still not what it should be, but at the same time, he kept us safe from terrorist attacks by keeping the terrorists busy going down to defeat in Iraq, which is now emerging as a new democracy, the first positive change in the Middle East since 1967 (heh). And what's up with those quotes around the "war on terror"? Would they work to downplay "World War II," which their number 3 best president used to justify the massive internment of US citizens of Japanese descent? Finally, they bizzarely mention Dubya's approval rating at the end of his term. But their number 8 best president, Ronald Reagan, also left office with low approval ratings over Iran-Contra! Since when are approval ratings even a factor in determining the historical worth of a president?
These "experts," I suspect, are a bunch of left-leaning, ivory tower-skulking academics without an ounce of integrity between the lot of them. Dubya is in the spot more appropriate for Jimmy Carter. As for his ultimate place in history, let's wait ten years or more to find out. Such judgments are best made posthumously.
Definitely left wing, ivory tower types.
W’s main problem was his inability to communicate forcefully, and effectively. However, even then, these types wouldn’t have liked him. Perhaps they might have hated him a little less.
It’s ridiculous to judge so early, but O’Bama is certainly looking good for worst right now. What a horrible first month.
Let’s not forget Carter’s record high unemployment rate, interest rates, inflation rates, and disgraceful behavior since leaving office. While we’re at it, let’s talk about LBJ’s “war on poverty”. In brief, poverty’s alive and well. LBJ isn’t.
Worst 10: 1. Buchanan
3. Van Buren
4. William Henry Harrison
5. (tie) Nixon
5. (tie) George W. Bush
9. (tie) Garfield
10. (tie) Filmore
Of interesting note: Wilson established the Federal Reserve in his first term and led America into World War I in his second term. I would have put him in the worse 10 for those very same reasons.
W deserves his ranking. Sorry he has made a mess of everything. His bills are still arriving. For example, he signed the bill that won’t allow kids under eleven to have anything with any lead in it at all. This is a thread on FR if you would like to read.
Gee whiz. What would we have done if all those antiquated monarchist regimes had continued to beat each other bloody ‘til 1920? That War To End All Wars thing sure worked out great.
No, they would have hated him just the same ...
(To paraphrase your screename, Period. End. Of. Story.)
Lincoln would be nothing had not Thomas Jefferson come before him. Just sayin.
Why don't you read it for me , and maybe I'll learn something.
These lefty “experts” write the history books. Dubya will stay in the toilet on these lists.
Then all the European combatants in the Great War would have collapsed in bloody exhaustion, and worked out some sort of Agreement to Cease Hostilities.
No Treaty of Versailles, no economic collapse of Germany, no rise of Adolph Hitler.
I trust you can take it from there.
"The Great War" would still be known as "The Great War".
We’re still picking up leftovers from that war. Balkans? Post WWI division of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Iraq? Post WWI division of the Ottoman Empire. Israel and everyone else in the empire? Also the breakup of the Ottoman Empire with the addition of the British Balfour declaration.
Its even worse. The U.S. military was poorly funded and poorly equipped due to Wilsons policies, prior to asking for a Declaration of war. The solders didnt even have helmets!
W infuriated me with his plans for immigration amnesty, his 11th-hour bailouts of financial institutions that should have gotten a mercy bullet, his failure to pardon Libby, and his inability to control spending. I don’t doubt that he’s outlawed lead pencils.
But he accomplished great things at the same time, things that O’Bama cannot even Hope! to match, and will probably Change!, i.e, sabotage. I don’t know if he deserved to be in the top 10, but he certainly didn’t deserve to be in the bottom 10, either.
lol. Here you go.
That's all one needs to see to know whoever ranked the presidents were idiots. Carter was the worst US president of the modern era and quite possibly of all time.
“These lefty experts write the history books. Dubya will stay in the toilet on these lists.”
If that were true, Ronald Reagan would be a dirty word. Their hatred is a sure sign that Dubya will be treated better down the line.
Wasn't Harrison only in office 30 days? And for those 30 days, wasn't he in bed with pneumonia because he gave a 2 hour inaugural speech in the freezing rain and then finally croaked? I mean... not particularly brilliant, but how can they even gauge that he is the 4th worst president? He didn't do anything! Jeez, going by those standards, O-Drama should also be in the Top 5 all time worst.
But give him time. I'm sure he'll move to the number 1 spot before 6 months are up.
That woiyks too :)
“Jeez, going by those standards, O-Drama should also be in the Top 5 all time worst.
But give him time. I’m sure he’ll move to the number 1 spot before 6 months are up.”
Those world-class diamond thieves who reform for love do tend to make poor presidents. What did they finally do to the Hope Diamond, anyway?
Half of their Top Ten should be in the Bottom Ten.
He is my "favorite" WORST prez.
I know its been repeated time and time again ad-infinitum, but the only reason why Jimmah Carter ever even got near the White House is because of the Watergate scandal, a third rate political scandal which was discovered and exploited by a third rate media monopoly. Meanwhile, more second and first rate political scandals have flourished since then, but the third rate media monopoly turns a blind eye to them as they have become complicit and favorable to their party of favor - Democrats.
Consider the Top 10. FDR is our most overrated president. He was flailing about trying to fix the Depression but managed only to extend it and make it worse. It took Hitler and Tojo to rescue his reputation.
Then there's Woody Wilson, the Professor, allegedly our highest IQ president. What did he do? He gave us the income tax and screwed up the aftermath of WW I, leading to Hitler. I agree, he belongs in the ten worst.
Now consider the Bottom 10. Both Johnsons are missing, not to mention the peanut farmin' nuclear physicist with big teeth! Be serious!
Milhous probably belongs on that list, but I predict GWB is going to end up ranking about where HST is.
I’d say W.H. Harrison and Garfield do not deserve to be ranked among the worst, because neither of them served long enough to do any damage.
These ‘expert’ lists. Silly. Any list that doesn’t put Washington in the No. 1 spot is unrealistic in my opinion, but it’s downhill from there FDR at #3? Woodrow Wilson in the top 10???????
No way George Washington wasn't #1. There wouldn't have been anymore if he hadn't held it together.
The last time I saw it it was in the Smithsonian.
I don’t buy that. Reagan has enough popularity to be a token
on the list.
In my list, FDR was by far the worst President.
Agreed. It’s quite frustrating to read all the lib infected internet sites such as aol, yahoo, etc. Although I will say one thing- Carter is 1st worst as of now. I have the utmost confidence that the BIG O will claim the prize from Jimbo very soon. AOL news = MORON DRONES
It’s not about popularity. Reagan’s achievement was undeniable. So will Dubya’s be in Iraq, unless Obama manages to deliberately sabotage it; send Joe foot-in-mouth Biden over there, or something.
No doubt, a clever forgery. Don’t you watch South Park?
That is true. I think that Bush will raise in the rankings some. Clinton will continue to slide down the list...he won’t get as low as Carter (nor should he) but he will fall. I am surprised at how quick Clinton has become “out of flavor” with the American people.
Nope. For all intents and purposes, I don’t watch TV at all.
Yawn another trite ranking of presidents. You did a good job criticizing it. There are really too many inconsistencies to even list them all.
Neither do I, but Comedy Central.com has all the back episodes available at the click of your mouse.
My rankings (for them all!):
5. T. Roosevelt
12. J.Q. Adams
15. J. Adams
16. Bush II
20. Bush I
21. Van Buren
26. W.H. Harrison
32. B. Harrison
33. A. Johnson
I did once find the “Manbearpig” episode and watch it.
Yup. Wilson belongs in the bottom 10. I would put LBJ there as the only US President ever to abdicate during time of war. Then there’s Carter the fool who has done more than any living person to undermine peace in the ME. I think it could be argued that Reagan was the last truly ‘American’ President. We’ve had nothing but plutocratic internationalists since.
As a general question, did George Washington really do anything spectacular as President, other than setting a precedent for serving only two terms?
I’d certainly agree that in fighting and winning the Revolutionary War, he deserves the title “Greatest American”.
In my opinion:
1. Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865
2. George Washington, 1789-1797
3. Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909
4. Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
5. Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989
6. Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837
7. James Madison, 1809-1817
8. James Knox Polk, 1845-1849
9. Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953
10. Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889
1 James Buchanan, 1857-1861
2. Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
3 Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981
4. Warren G Harding, 1921-1923
5. Ulysses S Grant, 1869-1877
6 Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869
7. Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1963-1969
8. Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921
9. Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1885
10. John Tyler, 1841-1845
RATINGS PENDING, BUT AT LEAST BELOW AVERAGE:
William Jefferson Clinton, 1993-2001
Barack Hussein Obama, 2009-
Thus far, I would rank GWB as average, but we’ll have to see what effects his policies have after a decade or so has passed. Clinton is below average but not failure because he got a clue the 1994 Gingrinch revolution and took credit for some things the Republicans wanted like welfare reform. The jury is out on Obama, but if the rest of his term is like his first month in office, he’ll be a dismal failure.
After campaigning specifically that he would keep us out of WWI. And it was stupid to W.H. Harrison in the worst ten. We have no idea how he would have done because he didn't get to do anything except get sick and die. He should be unranked with asterisk next to his name.