How Will Obama Rank Among Presidents?

Monday, 21 Feb 2011 09:31 AM

By Doug Wead

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In 2010, the distinguished Sienna Institute determined that Barack Obama was the 15th greatest president of all time and George W. Bush the sixth worst.

The survey reveals much more about the school-girl crush academia has on liberal politicians than anything about our last two presidents.

Yes, the election of Barack Obama was a great historical event. It was a moment of such staggering import that no other event in presidential history can compare. One has to go outside of the American political box to an event such as the landing on the moon to find an equal.

Keep in mind that 8 of the first 12 presidents had slaves in the White House. And yet, even so, Barack Obama, who is currently presiding over the second worse economic recession in American history, and has brought us to the economic brink, is not the 15th greatest president.

No president who has allowed such bad numbers for such a long time has ever ranked very high.

This is not an attack on Mr. Obama. Consider the following: Of the last 10 presidents only four were re-elected. And of those four, one resigned in disgrace; one was impeached; and one left office with one of the lowest approval ratings for a president in his last month in office since such polling began, having led American into its second worst depression.

Only one, Ronald Reagan, left with any degree of dignity.

Well, as Obama says even now, "It took us a long time to get into this, it is going to take us some time to get out of it." Which is his way of saying, "George did it."

It is an intriguing notion but if one is going to use it to rank the presidents then one must be consistent. One must give Reagan credit for the Clinton economic years. After all, Reagan won the Cold War, and it was the peace dividend that set the economy on a record trajectory.

Clinton could have humbly deferred credit, saying in a paraphrase of Obama, "It took us a long time to get this thing going and I am just grateful that it is still happening on my watch."

And Carter should get credit for the release of the American hostages, which only happened the day of Reagan's inauguration. In fact, one could play this game all the way to Washington.

Historians allowing Obama slack on this lingering recession would especially owe an apology to John Tyler, whom they disparage. For it was Tyler who laid the groundwork for bringing Texas into the United States not James K. Polk who signed the deal.

The point is that you have to judge the presidents on how they play the cards that are dealt them. The historians of the Sienna Institute rank Obama high on "communication." But if Obama knew it was going to take more than two years to end the recession he should have "communicated" that earlier.

We are left with the impression that he is as surprised that his policies don't work as we are.

They rank him high on "imagination." But his plan to solve the mortgage crisis didn't even make a dent and even now he lingers, with no solution, although this was the major issue that helped elect him. Obama's deficit spending in relation to the GDP is perilously close to that of Greece. 

Yes, the banking crisis and the first months of the recession were George's fault. The latter might be partially laid at the feet of a $ 1 trillion — off the books — war in Iraq. But the fact that the recession continues month after month can only be laid at the feet of President Barak Obama.

At this writing food prices are spiking all over the world. It is what many writers, including yours truly, said would happen. It is the much anticipated consequence of the U. S. Federal Reserve flooding the market with new dollars. Ironically, it is a tax on the poor, including many inner city African Americans who are now suffering.

Will Barack Obama be re-elected in 2012?

Almost everyone in public life is rooting for Barak Obama. Do you remember that famous, jubilant Newsweek cover story of 2009, declaring that the recession was over? Woo Hoo! Little did we know at the time that the recession was just getting started. It was Newsweek that was over.

And there is no doubt that the economy will get a positive bump before 2012. That even happened during the George W. Bush recession. There are always positive bumps in bad times and negative dips in good times. There yet may be some solutions to the mortgage crisis.

It would not take much for this administration to improve on that. And unemployment will eventually change. It is unthinkable that it will hold two more years at this rate.

So yes, almost any good news at all might be enough to help Barack Obama get re-elected. But it will not move him into the top tier ranking of American presidents.

Too many have suffered too long for that to happen. And if he doesn't get that "lucky" positive bump, he will not only fail to be re-elected, he will likely fall to the bottom tier of any presidential rankings.

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