Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Rankings Of Presidents

I shot off an email to Matthew Yglesias arguing that his rankings of presidents was pretty awful.  So, I thought I'd follow some of his format and rather than rank them, group them.

The Pantheon

Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.  True greatness comes from adversity.  No one faced more than these three and none found more success.

The Game Changers

Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Reagan . These presidents fundamentally changed the direction of America and the presidency.  Roosevelt and Wilson invented the activist presidency of the 20th century, Truman truly ended America's detachment from global politics, Johnson ended Jim Crow and created the modern welfare state, while Reagan attacked it and Obama resurrected it.

The Caretakers

John Adams, Monroe, Quincy Adams, Hayes, Arthur, Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Taft, Eisenhower, Ford, Clinton.  They didn't screw up, some had true accomplishments, some didn't.  But they left the country more or less as they found it.  Which ain't nothing.

The Expansionists

Jefferson, Polk, McKinley. These men were most responsible for enlarging America, for better and worse.

The Heralds of Disunion

Tyler, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan.  Taylor might have destroyed the Compromise of 1850 had he lived.  The rest were men of indecision or poor principles.

The Tyrants

Jackson, Nixon.  Neither men felt particularly bound by the Constitution.

The Incompletes

William Harrison, Garfield, Obama.  Two died early on.  One is because of perspective.

The Harbingers of Doom

Harding, Coolidge . These men directly pursued policies that led to the greatest economic collapse in world history.

Paid The Piper

Van Buren, Hoover.  Impressive men who were saddled with the failures of their partisan predecessors.

The Internationalists

HW, Bush, Kennedy.  Changed America's role in the world, not much of significance done at home.

Just Fucking Awful

Andrew Johnson, W Bush.

Better Off Not Being President

Madison, Grant, Carter.  Madison and Grant were better before becoming president, Carter after.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Could you give specifics about the Just Fucking Awful category?