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Best and Worst Presidents

Two years ago on US Election 2004, I posted a list of best and worst presidents. Having recently received comments on that old post, I am re-posting it here.Â

Robert Tracinski at TIA Daily had a great question that could be used to evaluate presidential candidates based upon the qualities of past presidents. Who are the five best and the three worst presidents in US history, and briefly with a focus on essentials why?

Below is my judgment on the question:

Â

    ** The Worst List **Â

    3)Â John F. Kennedy ! His failed administration became a false ideal that subsequent Presidents (Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton) followed toÂweaken America through collectivist politics.

    2)Â Woodrow Wilson ! He championed two concepts that continue to kill around the world: the racist idea of self-determination, and the elevation of majority rule over individual rights through the concept of democracy.

    1)Â James Buchanan ! His failure in his role as head of state to unify the nation resulted in the Civil War.

    ** The Best List **

    5)Â Ronald Reagan ! He strengthened America by restoring the position of President within our system of checks and balances after the failed presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Carter.

    4)Â James Madison ! At a time of international crisis, he held firm to American principles and defended the country within the context of the then young Constitution.

    3)Â James Monroe ! Through his Monroe doctrine, he asserted America’s role and American ideas in the world.

    2)Â Thomas Jefferson ! Through the Louisiana Purchase, he established the precedent of America as expansionist, which is true not only physically but also intellectually.

    1)Â George Washington ! As the first President and a man of integrity, he established the precedents and standards by which all presidents are judged, including the critical role of the president as a unifying power for the country.

There are some interesting parallels between these two lists:

1) Washington v. Buchanan demonstrates that the most important role of the president is not partisan but unifying the country through his role as head of state.

2) Jefferson-Monroe-Madison v. Wilson contrasts American values and the values of collectivism.

3) Reagan v. Kennedy is a corollary to the second point: the impact of a flawed individual’s use of powerful ideas. In Reagan’s case, an individual horribly flawed by his belief in mysticism could by focusing upon a few key and valid ideas still achieve significant beneficial results even if limited.

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6 Comments

  1. I have a friend who really likes Alexander Hamilton and therefore can not say enough bad things about Jefferson. What is your opinion of the two of them, as it seems that the original debate over the future of the country came down to their two opposing views. From what I see Jefferson wanted a week central govt and felt Hamilton’s views would lead to tyranny(central banking?), where as Hamilton(and that friend of mine)seem to think of jefferson as a utopian dreamer.(my friend actually called him a hippie)

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  2. You’re one of the few people I ever heard say anything bad about Kennedy. He was, at best, overrated. My main opinion about Kennedy is not that he was a great president, but that he was killed and it was poorly covered up. It put the entire US government under suspician.
    I won’t let it rest until the truth comes out.

    Jeff

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  3. I have a BA in history. My favorite subject matter is the United States president. I found the list to be far from accurate and ideology biased. Here is a more fair-minded list.

    5 worst

    5.) Harrison
    4.) Pierce
    3.) Harding
    2.) Buchanon
    1.) George W. Bush

    5 best

    5) George Washington
    4) Theodore Roosevelt
    3.) Harry Truman
    2.) Franklin Roosevelt
    1.) Abraham Lincoln

    How do you put Reagon ahead of Lincoln, Roosevelts, and Truman. Please, do some research before making a best and worst list.
    -Dan

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  4. I agree with Dan. How these pin heads put Reagan constantly so high, just shows their easily confused chimp like brains. Reagan essentially spent this country into a spiral which will eventually destroy us, and also managed to shift all taxation onto the middle class (social security anyone). He was an inferior manager and intellectual. But the right idealizes him because he valued smaller government (which he didn’t) and outspent the USSR. Here is news folks, his legacy will be the collapse of our government, essentially finished by GW Bush and his spending habits. Right wing religious zealot ass holes.

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  5. Like your recognition of Monroe but Madison was terriible and almost had the whole of the US under Britich occupation again.

    Truman is grossly overrated. What did he actually achienve apart from a reckless war effort in Korea that almost saw US troops run off the peninsula.? Some give him credit for the MArshall plan but I dont think the US had much choice.

    Ronald Reagan??? Nice man with a better second term than first but accomplished near to nothing and his disastporous first term fpolicy alientated countries in Central and South America.

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  6. Sounds crazy. Are you attempting to play with my yummy sergeant Fresh joke! Did you hear that Miss Muffet and Saddam Hussein got together for a meeting last week to discuss their common problem? They both have Kurds in their whey.

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