About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

President's Day Perplexities

Just in time for President’s Day south of the border, a new poll came out ranking the Best and Worst post-war Presidents, and the Best Presidents of All Time. A Harris poll taken between January 16 and 23, 2012, asked 2,016 adults what they think of previous U.S. presidents. The results and my commentary are posted below.
1) "Looking at the list of presidents since World War II, which one do you think is the best president?"
  • Ronald Reagan (25)
  • Franklin Roosevelt (19)
  • John F. Kennedy (15)
  • Bill Clinton (12)
  • Dwight Eisenhower (4)
  • Harry Truman (4)
  • Barack Obama (4)
  • George W. Bush (2)
  • Jimmy Carter (2)
  • Lyndon Johnson (1)
  • George H.W. Bush (1)
  • Richard Nixon (1)
  • Gerald Ford (1)
  • Not Sure (10)
Considering that a lot of the economic and foreign policy trends that stifle the United States were introduced by Ronald Reagan, it's a wonder why one in four think of him so fondly, but there it is. And I’d love to know which two per cent thinks that George W. Bush was a good president, or at least the two per cent who think he was better than his dad and Nixon, probably the two last sane Republicans to hold the White House.
2) "Looking at the list of presidents since World War II, which one do you think is the worst president?"
  • George W. Bush (27)
  • Barack Obama (22)
  • Richard Nixon (12)
  • Bill Clinton (5)
  • Jimmy Carter (5)
  • Ronald Reagan (4)
  • George H.W. Bush (4)
  • Lyndon Johnson (2)
  • John F. Kennedy (2)
  • Harry Truman (2)
  • Franklin Roosevelt (1)
  • Gerald Ford (1)
  • Dwight Eisenhower (1)
  • Not Sure (12)
Bold. Ranking W. as the worst, followed immediately by Obama. Is this another indication of the partisan divide in the U.S., or do people down there just have a really short memory? You'll notice that Bill Clinton is in the fourth spot, meaning that the last three presidents chronologically are three of the worst. The only reason that Clinton didn't make the Top 3 was because 12 per cent remembered that they still hate Nixon.
3) "Which one of the following presidents do you think was the best overall president in our history?"
  • Abraham Lincoln (27)
  • Ronald Reagan (22)
  • George Washington (12)
  • John F. Kennedy (5)
  • Bill Clinton (5)
  • Franklin Roosevelt (4)
  • Barack Obama (4)
  • Thomas Jefferson (2)
  • George W. Bush (2)
  • Harry Truman (2)
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1)
  • Dwight Eisenhower (1)
  • Jimmy Carter (1)
  • George H.W. Bush, John Adams, Richard Nixon, Andrew Jackson, Lyndon Johnson, Calvin Coolidge, Woodrow Wilson and Gerald Ford all received less than 0.5 percent. Eight percent of respondents were not sure.
Lincoln I think we all get, but Reagan? Reagan is number two out of 43? He beats Washington, Kennedy, both Roosevelts, Jefferson, Truman, Eisenhower, Adams, and Wilson?

Let's rephrase that. Reagan, the man behind Iran-Contra, playing politics with the EPA, grant-rigging at HUD, scandals with Savings & Loans, blurring the lines between government and lobbies - not to mention being known as the god who walks by the American right despite his having raised taxes several times while increasing government spending ans still being known as a small government guy - beats all the following accomplishments amongst the previously mentioned men: 
  • First US President
  • Negotiated the avoidance of Nuclear war, and dared America to go to the moon
  • Ended the Great Depression by establishing the social safety net, lead American military to Victory in Europe in World War II
  • Created the Food and Drug Administration, helped mine workers get better pay and conditions, and made Oklahoma a state
  • Doubled the size of the country by buying the Louisiana Purchase, launched Lewis and Clark, served as one of his country's first diplomats and co-created the foundation for states' rights
  • Victory in Japan, the UN, NATO, Marshall Plan, Truman Doctrine and Berlin blockade, pretty much the foundation for all post-war American foreign policy
  • Desegregating the armed forces, creating the interstate highway system, and we was the American general that beat the Nazis
  • Second President of the United States
  • Eight hour work day, women's suffrage, Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations, creating the Federal Reserve, income tax, and fighting child labour
Yes, Reagan deserves to be known as the Best President in U.S. history, doesn't he? Him and that stove pipe hat guy. But what did he ever do?

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