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Historians rank Reagan #8 among presidents
Wall Street Journal ^ | November 16, 2000

Posted on 06/10/2004 8:55:07 AM PDT by Cableguy

More than 3 years old, but still valid. Clinton should go down next time, given his failures on Al Qaeda and North Korea. Reagan will probably move up.

------------------ The Wall Street Journal Survey on Presidents

RANK NAME MEAN GREAT 1 George Washington 4.92 2 Abraham Lincoln 4.87 3 Franklin Roosevelt 4.67 NEAR GREAT 4 Thomas Jefferson 4.25 5 Theodore Roosevelt 4.22 6 Andrew Jackson 3.99 7 Harry Truman 3.95 8 Ronald Reagan 3.81 9 Dwight Eisenhower 3.71 10 James Polk 3.70 11 Woodrow Wilson 3.68 ABOVE AVERAGE 12 Grover Cleveland 3.36 13 John Adams 3.36 14 William McKinley 3.33 15 James Madison 3.29 16 James Monroe 3.27 17 Lyndon Johnson 3.21 18 John Kennedy 3.17 AVERAGE 19 William Taft 3.00 20 John Quincy Adams 2.93 21 George Bush 2.92 22 Rutherford Hayes 2.79 23 Martin Van Buren 2.77 24 William Clinton 2.77 25 Calvin Coolidge 2.71 26 Chester Arthur 2.71 BELOW AVERAGE 27 Benjamin Harrison 2.62 28 Gerald Ford 2.59 29 Herbert Hoover 2.53 30 Jimmy Carter 2.47 31 Zachary Taylor 2.40 32 Ulysses Grant 2.28 33 Richard Nixon 2.22 34 John Tyler 2.03 35 Millard Fillmore 1.91 FAILURE 36 Andrew Johnson 1.65 37 Franklin Pierce 1.58 38 Warren Harding 1.58 39 James Buchanan 1.33

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: reagan; ronaldreagan; topten; turass
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1 posted on 06/10/2004 8:55:08 AM PDT by Cableguy
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To: Cableguy

This seems about right. Reagan may belong above Truman.


2 posted on 06/10/2004 8:57:31 AM PDT by Bonaventure
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To: Cableguy

Reagan needs to be in the Great category at Number 3.

Clinton and Carter need to be bumped down.


3 posted on 06/10/2004 8:57:39 AM PDT by nuffsenuff
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To: Cableguy
RANK NAME MEAN
GREAT
1 George Washington 4.92
2 Abraham Lincoln 4.87
3 Franklin Roosevelt 4.67
NEAR GREAT
4 Thomas Jefferson 4.25
5 Theodore Roosevelt 4.22
6 Andrew Jackson 3.99
7 Harry Truman 3.95
8 Ronald Reagan 3.81
9 Dwight Eisenhower 3.71
10 James Polk 3.70
11 Woodrow Wilson 3.68
ABOVE AVERAGE
12 Grover Cleveland 3.36
13 John Adams 3.36
14 William McKinley 3.33
15 James Madison 3.29
16 James Monroe 3.27
17 Lyndon Johnson 3.21
18 John Kennedy 3.17
AVERAGE
19 William Taft 3.00
20 John Quincy Adams 2.93
21 George Bush 2.92
22 Rutherford Hayes 2.79
23 Martin Van Buren 2.77
24 William Clinton 2.77
25 Calvin Coolidge 2.71
26 Chester Arthur 2.71
BELOW AVERAGE
27 Benjamin Harrison 2.62
28 Gerald Ford 2.59
29 Herbert Hoover 2.53
30 Jimmy Carter 2.47
31 Zachary Taylor 2.40
32 Ulysses Grant 2.28
33 Richard Nixon 2.22
34 John Tyler 2.03
35 Millard Fillmore 1.91
FAILURE
36 Andrew Johnson 1.65
37 Franklin Pierce 1.58
38 Warren Harding 1.58
39 James Buchanan 1.33

The number listed above is the mean score of all the scholars' rating of each president. On this scale, five is the highest possible score.


4 posted on 06/10/2004 8:58:01 AM PDT by Servant of the 9 (We are the Hegemon. We can do anything we damned well please.)
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To: Cableguy

William Clinton = average? The average president gets impeached?


5 posted on 06/10/2004 8:59:11 AM PDT by 2banana (They want to die for Islam and we want to kill them)
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To: Cableguy
The fact that there isn't a separate category called Abject Failure and Total Disgrace with the name of William Jefferson Clinton means this list is without merit.

Reagan should be in the top three, IMHO.

And what the hell is Woodrow Wilson doing so high?

6 posted on 06/10/2004 8:59:30 AM PDT by bigeasy_70118
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To: Cableguy

How did klintoon stay out of the FAILURE column ?


7 posted on 06/10/2004 9:01:05 AM PDT by sawmill trash (NADER !!! NADER !!! NADER !!! NADER !!! NADER !!! NADER !!! NADER !!! NADER !!!)
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To: bigeasy_70118

Remember, this is a survey of historians, many of whom are liberal.


8 posted on 06/10/2004 9:01:20 AM PDT by Cableguy
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To: Cableguy

I think Silent Cal Coolidge deserves to be ranked as near great. If he were running today, I think most Freepers would wildly support him.


9 posted on 06/10/2004 9:01:24 AM PDT by Maceman (Too nuanced for a bumper sticker)
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To: Servant of the 9

Seems about right...though I might make him trade places with Teddy R.


10 posted on 06/10/2004 9:01:31 AM PDT by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: Servant of the 9
Bill Clinton at average. Jimmy Carter at below average. Both should be well-embedded in FAILURE.

Calvin Coolidge at average. Reagan at near great.

Yep, this must be the same bunch of historians who signed that letter that Clinton shouldn't be impeached.

11 posted on 06/10/2004 9:02:06 AM PDT by dirtboy (John Kerry - Hillary without the fat ankles and the FBI files...)
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To: 2banana

and also disbarred from his home state during his presidency, which is also a total failure.


12 posted on 06/10/2004 9:02:21 AM PDT by wrathof59 (semper ubi sub ubi)
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To: Cableguy

Now, I'm just being objective here so don't flame me, but the full article cites Clinton's 'wearing of short shorts' as one of his major failings.

By that rationale, Bush Jnr's Sedgeway/Mountian Bike/ Pretzel Choking/Dropping the Dog on his head antics could put him in the bottom 3.

Wouldn't this be a better survey if they ignored trivia and just concentrated on the policy?

Very interesting table though, thanks for this. Guided me nicely to the end of another working day!


13 posted on 06/10/2004 9:02:27 AM PDT by Slipperduke (Respecting almost every point of view. Almost.)
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To: Cableguy
OKAY...Let's RE-TITLE This LIST.....

Intellectual SNOBS opine about how THEY THINK President's rank.....

14 posted on 06/10/2004 9:03:12 AM PDT by goodnesswins (Pres. Reagan "Republicans think every day is the 4th of July; Dems think every day is April 15th.")
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To: Cableguy
Thanks. I would take Truman out of the top 8, but the remaining 7 are the top 7 (without regard to order) in my book. The greatness of a president can often be measured about the era (good or bad) that he ushered in -- how he influenced presidencies to come. On that scale, Washington is always #1, FDR should rank high as well as Jackson, Reagan and TR. Lincoln and Jefferson were influential but they didn't have their own "era". Washington was the model until Jackson, Jackson was the model until the Civil War, it was really a mish-mash (there wasn't a Lincolnite president after Lincoln) until TR, who influenced until FDR, who reigned until Reagan, who changed the world.

And it should be noted that FDR's, Lincoln's and Truman's presidencies were driven by war. Reagan could have very easily passed the buck on the USSR to the next generation, but he was proactive. That's key and what makes him comparable to Jefferson and TR only. And he comes out much better compared to them.

15 posted on 06/10/2004 9:03:41 AM PDT by AmishDude
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To: Servant of the 9

Any survey that doesn't have Calvin Coolidge in the top three is suspect, imho.


16 posted on 06/10/2004 9:04:05 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (Uday and Qusay are ead-day)
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To: Cableguy
James Polk was a good president.

And Chester Alan Arthur ought to be ranked higher than "average". At least higher than Clinton. Arthur came in on a fluke: Garfield's assassination. Everyone thought he was going to be a corrupt administrator, and he wasn't. He rose to the occasion.

Impeached42, otoh, came in promising, "the most ethical administration ever", and he was rotten to the core.

17 posted on 06/10/2004 9:04:08 AM PDT by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: Servant of the 9

Eisenhower should be lower - they are including his military service as part of his presidency. Had it not been for the decision to drop the bomb on Japan, Truman would have been lowered.


18 posted on 06/10/2004 9:04:22 AM PDT by oceanview
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To: Cableguy

Only a lefty would think of FDR as "near great". He'll come down dramatically as time goes by.


19 posted on 06/10/2004 9:04:45 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Cableguy

I would drop Truman, Kennedy and Johnson and raise Polk, Reagan and Ford, who did the best with what he had at the time. We can see now that Carter was worse than below average.


20 posted on 06/10/2004 9:04:47 AM PDT by mak5
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To: bigeasy_70118

"And what the hell is Woodrow Wilson doing so high?"

Years ago either the American Specator or National Review had their own ranking of the Presidents. They had Wilson as a failure.


21 posted on 06/10/2004 9:05:01 AM PDT by KJacob (No military in the history of the world has fought so hard and so often for the freedom of others.)
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To: Bonaventure
Reagan needs to be ahead of Truman, but Truman was still a good president.

What exactly makes Jackson so great? Why do liberals like him?

Why is LBJ ranked so high? He needs to be dropped lower because despite the civil rights legislation he signed, he screwed the country up in everything else he did.

Why is Cal Coolidge ranked so low? By all accounts he had a quiet, but successful presidency.

Jimmy Carter needs to be ranked at the bottom.

22 posted on 06/10/2004 9:05:19 AM PDT by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: Recovering_Democrat

Nixon, above average.
Clinton Failure.

These historian guys and girls are qualified by their own acclamation. We should make our own list up and get it published.


23 posted on 06/10/2004 9:06:02 AM PDT by Thebaddog (Half staff for President Reagan. Rest in peace, old friend.)
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To: Cableguy

They should put him above FDR .... he defeated the Soviets who actually had a MUCH better chance of destroying this country than the Nazis


24 posted on 06/10/2004 9:06:05 AM PDT by Centurion2000 (Resolve to perform what you must; perform without fail that what you resolve.)
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To: bigeasy_70118
And what the hell is Woodrow Wilson doing so high?

With liberal historians intentions are what counts.

25 posted on 06/10/2004 9:06:52 AM PDT by Semper Paratus
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To: nuffsenuff

Clinton and Carter need to be bumped off.............Off the list of Presidents I mean..off the list of Presidents.

We need a special list for them:

Presidential wannabe's who were elected to the office, sit in the Oval office for one or two terms and left office
still just Presidential wannabes.


26 posted on 06/10/2004 9:07:24 AM PDT by F.J. Mitchell (So the Dems actually loved Reagan, huh? et tu, Bru-te ?)
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To: Thebaddog

And put Woodrow lower. I feel the pain of all rational Wilson's to wonder what got into him for the League of Nations. Perhaps the wife wrote that one while he was incapacitated.


27 posted on 06/10/2004 9:07:34 AM PDT by Thebaddog (Half staff for President Reagan. Rest in peace, old friend.)
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To: Cableguy

FDR great? Not in my book. His socialist policies really did little to end the Great Depression and WWII was won on the strength of great commanders, fighting men, industry and grit, not the briliance of FDR. All he accomplished was to set this country on a path to Johnson's Great Society.


28 posted on 06/10/2004 9:07:41 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: Cableguy

Who/how do we FReep? How about a boycott?


29 posted on 06/10/2004 9:07:53 AM PDT by familyofman (laying in the dark, where the shadows run from themselves)
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To: Cableguy

They are wrong about Harding. But, time runs out too soon for some.


30 posted on 06/10/2004 9:08:10 AM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: Cableguy

One can always quibble about rankings but this is actually an intelligent list. I was going to make some remark about there being some hope for the historians, but then I noticed the Federalist Society put the panel together.


31 posted on 06/10/2004 9:08:13 AM PDT by sphinx
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To: oceanview
Eisenhower should be lower - they are including his military service as part of his presidency.

Frankly, I wouldn't rate Washington as a great President for precisely the same reason.

32 posted on 06/10/2004 9:08:32 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Servant of the 9

Kennedy is too high.

Wilson is too high.

Teddy Roosevelt? Johnson?

John Adams is a bit low, IMHO. Nixon, despite Watergate, has a more positive legacy that he should receive more credit for. Hey, he met Elvis.

Clinton's where he belongs...in the forgotten middle.

Carter is WAY high. Buchanan still probably did more positive things while in office than he did.

33 posted on 06/10/2004 9:08:44 AM PDT by atomicpossum (I give up! Entropy, you win!)
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To: Cableguy

Theodore Roosevelt gave us our Panama Canal, a tremendous building feat and coup at that time in history, which brain dead Carter gave away. I would rank this president much higher and Carter much, much lower, not only because of the Panama Canal but because of everything else he mucked up. I would rank Carter and Clinton at the same level of zero.


34 posted on 06/10/2004 9:10:18 AM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: AmishDude

I think Truman belongs in the 2nd tier. Anyone with enough guts to use the a-bomb to save American lives deserve great respect. He was also tough against the Soviets. Truman is respected by most politicans, and even Bush quotes him sometimes.


35 posted on 06/10/2004 9:10:33 AM PDT by Cableguy
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To: dirtboy
Bill Clinton at average. Jimmy Carter at below average. Both should be well-embedded in FAILURE.

Actually they both should have another category: DISMAL FAILURE

36 posted on 06/10/2004 9:10:45 AM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: 2banana
William Clinton = average? The average president gets impeached?

It's far too soon to give an objective answer on Clinton: in essence, the historians are having to predict into the future in order to assess his actions. My sense is that his ratings will go way down after there's been some time for the hype to shake out, and the true consequences of his presidency to become clear.

I think in terms of 9-11, and foreign matters in general, Clinton's legacy is already becoming clear, and he's headed to the failure column. In terms of domestic policy he was at best "average," and (because he was largely ineffective) probably closer to failure.

It's even somewhat early to judge Bush 41, but he will probably remain basically where he is.

37 posted on 06/10/2004 9:10:47 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: Cableguy

I think Nixon is way underrated. If the the truth be known, there probably would be a lot of watergate type scandals. Nixon's record places him above average.


38 posted on 06/10/2004 9:10:53 AM PDT by ampat
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To: Cableguy

Truman and Wilson sucked, big time.


39 posted on 06/10/2004 9:12:09 AM PDT by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: sawmill trash

"How did Klintoon stay out of the FAILURE column?"

It was already filled up before he got there.


40 posted on 06/10/2004 9:12:48 AM PDT by F.J. Mitchell (So the Dems actually loved Reagan, huh? et tu, Bru-te ?)
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To: Cableguy

It goes Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, then Reagan.


41 posted on 06/10/2004 9:13:32 AM PDT by Porterville (oOOOo USA against the World in this summer Olympics oOOOo)
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To: Servant of the 9

What's VERY surprising is Polk as "near great"..I concur, but I'd wager that 7 out of 10 HS seniors today wouldn't know who Polk was..


42 posted on 06/10/2004 9:14:05 AM PDT by ken5050
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To: Bonaventure

I don't know if I'd put FDR in 3rd place, and I don't think Truman was of nearly same stature as Reagan.. but other than that, in general the list seems pretty good.


43 posted on 06/10/2004 9:14:44 AM PDT by HamiltonJay ("You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.")
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To: Thebaddog
We should make our own list up and get it published.

Here are my thoughts:

TEN BEST

1) Washington

2) Lincoln

3) Reagan

4) Teddy Roosvelt

5) Andrew Jackson

6) FDR

7) Thomas Jefferson

8) George W. Bush

9) Calvin Coolidge

10) Harry Truman

FIVE WORST:

1) Buchanan

2) Andrew Johnson

3) Jimmy Carter

4) Grant

5) Wilson

6) Harding

AND A SPECIAL CATEGORY FOR THE DEVIL INCARNATE:

WILLIAM JEFFERSON KLINTOON

44 posted on 06/10/2004 9:14:54 AM PDT by bigeasy_70118
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To: Bonaventure

I don't know if I'd put FDR in 3rd place, and I don't think Truman was of nearly same stature as Reagan.. but other than that, in general the list seems pretty good.


45 posted on 06/10/2004 9:14:55 AM PDT by HamiltonJay ("You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.")
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To: ampat

The one is badly underrated is Harding in my view. He brought economic prosperity, lower taxes, released Woodrow Wilson's political prisoners, and had a good civil rights record. As to corruption, Harding was a amateur compared to Nixon, LBJ, for Kennedy.


46 posted on 06/10/2004 9:15:12 AM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Cableguy

My top 5:
1) George Washington
2) Theodore Roosevelt
3) Abraham Lincoln
4) Ronald Reagan
5) Thomas Jefferson
honorable mention: Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson

My bottom 5:
38) Ulysees Grant
39) Lyndon Johnson
40) Jimmy Carter
41) Warren Harding
42) James Buchanan
* only 42 different men have been President

Most overrated:
1) Franklin D Roosevelt
2) John F Kennedy
3) Harry S Truman

Most under appreciated
1) Calvin Coolidge
2) James Knox Polk
3) James Monroe


47 posted on 06/10/2004 9:15:33 AM PDT by bobjam
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Comment #48 Removed by Moderator

To: nuffsenuff
Clinton and Carter need to be bumped down.

Agreed.

49 posted on 06/10/2004 9:15:38 AM PDT by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: Cableguy

Reagan should be above Truman and possibly even Jackson. I am trying to remember exactly what Jackson accomplished. I know he was very effective but my memory does not serve me well right now.


50 posted on 06/10/2004 9:16:10 AM PDT by Tennessean4Bush (An optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds, a pessimist fears this is true.)
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