OPINION: A Ranking of the Presidents

In parallel with the first 100 days of the Trump Presidency, Richard Shao, a Conservative Nut Staff Writer, put together his opinion on a brief ranking of the US presidents. 

1)     Abraham Lincoln- A strong leader who led during a time of great duress, President Lincoln is the best US President historically. Lincoln’s leadership and determination to hold the country together shaped the future of American politics forever.

2)     George Washington- The man who started it all. The First US President, President Washington was faced with many tough choices and decisions for the young United States. His choices shaped the country and the world forever.

3)     Franklin D Roosevelt- His strong leadership through the great depression and most of World War II resulted in a victory over the fascists, and mitigated many impacts of the depression. He was the only president elected to four terms

4)     Thomas Jefferson- His instrumental purchase of Louisiana from France was a deal that would make Donald Trump proud.

5)     Theodore Roosevelt- Founder of the National Parks, President Roosevelt, whose toughness would make Secretary of Defense “Mad Dog” Mattis proud. He took power after the assassination of President McKinley. President Roosevelt is widely credited for being instrumental in the creation of US Naval Hegemony*.

6)     Ronald Reagan- Famous film actor, Reagan guided the country through the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, fueled an economic boom, and gave the most important meaning to the values of Patriotism, and the American Dream.

7)     Andrew Jackson- He was brash and tough, but it was under him the US had a national debt of $0.

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8)     James K Polk- Criminally underrated President, Polk was the last strong president until Abraham Lincoln. Polk reduced tariffs, reformed the National Banks, and secured Oregon, California, and much of the southwest.

9)     Dwight D Eisenhower- WWII hero who orchestrated the Normandy Invasion to end Hitler, Eisenhower’s most notable accomplishment was the creation of the Interstate Highway system.

10)    Woodrow Wilson- President Wilson was a strong leader who led the US through World War I, a war on the scale which was never seen before. His legacy is tarnished by the fact that he was not able to pass the League of Nations in the US, the collapse of which would lead to World War II.

Here we enter the Unranked Zone.

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There are many reasons for not ranking them. Many, simply because they aren’t notable enough, and ultimately, their legacy will be lost to history. Others presidents will not be ranked to avoid recent bias. It would not be fair to rank Presidents such as President Trump, Obama, and Bush because their legacy has not yet played out in full. Only until sufficient time has passed could one accurately reflect upon the full impact these leaders had on our country. Certain presidents are a special case. President Kennedy is one such example. While sufficient time has passed, and he is certainly not forgotten, I believe his impact is more social than it is political. His actions, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, while heroic, did not leave a historical impact on the scale that many top-ranked Presidents have. While I believe he will be looked upon favorably, President Kennedy was unfortunately assassinated too young for his legacy to play out. His presidency is looked upon as a glorious age, the “Age of Camelot” but ultimately, President Kennedy did not leave a politically meaningful legacy, and because of this, he will not be ranked.

And we get to the bottom...

40)    Richard Nixon. President Nixon, while he did much good for the American people, tarnished the image and the glory of the presidency with his shameful Watergate Scandal. People are much more distrustful of our elected leaders, and while I do not think that is a bad thing, ultimately, this is a ranking of Presidents, and President Nixon weakened the office and embarrassed the nation.

41)      Andrew Johnson. I consider him the Original Nixon. Succeeding President Lincoln is no easy task, but even I could have done a better job than him. All he really had to do was to sit back, relax, bask in the glory of the office, and not screw things up. Unfortunately, that is just what he did.

42)     Herbert Hoover. President during the outbreak of the Great Depression, Hoover failed to react to the economic crisis, fueled trade wars, and his actions exacerbated the depression.

43)     James Buchanan. A weak leader, while tensions between the South and the North were brewing, Buchanan did nothing. His inaction ultimately led to the American Civil War, while an effective president could have possibly led to a less violent outcome.

44)     Jimmy Carter. Iran-Contra. His foreign policy failures ultimately screwed up the Middle East, problems we are still trying to fix, almost forty years after his presidency.

45)      Warren Harding. Avid drinker, and avid gambler. Harding was corrupt, did nothing but play poker all day instead of governing the country, and allowed his buddies, who were not qualified to lead the country, by the way, make political decisions.

 

Photograph Source: The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division