Let's compare Obama and Trump to Buchanan

Discussion in 'History & Past Politicians' started by Greenleft, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Then I was interrupted. I know that because the rest are in a different color of ink. I was still trying to go by my order from 2018, so Rutherford Hayes and Madison were the next 2.
    Hayes ended up at 82. That makes him the 6th best President, between McKinley and Eisenhower.
    In tough cases like this I previously dropped the one term President below a two term rival, so Hayes could sink. That will take some thinking. I've never pitted Hayes versus Polk before.
     
  2. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Those are the Presidents that ended up ahead of Obama. He can rise yet, depending on what they do to the Affordable Care Act and the legacy of Sotomayor and Kagan. As of now and the points scale in place for this review, he gets 68 points.
    Wars 10
    Recessions 7
    Laws 12
    Scandal 12
    Cabinet 10
    Supreme Court Picks 10
    Intangibles 7
     
  3. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Coolidge did well with this points system: 89. I think I need another ranking scale, but the economy was fine, he cleared up the scandals and had a good cabinet, his only Supreme Court pick was promoted to Chief, there was no war, intangibles were as good as you can get and the only thing he did badly was not helping with the Mississippi flooding.
     
  4. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    The next few I thought about all lost to Obama 3 years ago after lengthy consideration.
    Arthur got 86. I was still avoiding ties, so Benjamin Harrison ended up at 87.
    Cleveland, considered as one President, ended up at 80, tied with Reagan and Madison.
    Choosing between the 3 it has to be Reagan, Madison, Cleveland.
     
  5. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Desperate for someone to do badly I looked to John Quincy Adams. Even he ended up with 75 points, tied with Polk though obviously a heartbeat behind.
    Then I went to his dad John Adams. He ended about right 70.
     
  6. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    For the rest I went in chronological order and Van Buren is still bad 66.
    Tyler ended up at 55 points.
    Filmore has one big law going for him and that was enough to get him to 78, tied with Wilson.
    Pierce ended up at 69, tied with Obama.
    Andrew Johnson ended up at 50, staying ahead of Buchanan.
    Grant, with scandal, recession, no good laws, poor management of reconstruction, ends up at 47, but ahead of Buchanan.
    Taft ended up at 72.
    Harding is still bad 59.
     
  7. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Then come the ones that are still tough to talk about.
    Kennedy tied with McKinley at 83. Intangibles might be worth too much, but look who it helps if they're valued at less than 14%.
    LBJ ends up with 65 points.
    Nixon ended up at 62.
    Ford gets 74.
    Carter gets 56 and
    Clinton 63.
     
  8. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    I tried reducing the number of points for intangibles from 14 to 8, but not much changes.
    Good Presidents with great intangibles lose 6 points then get them back except for their weak categories, so Monroe loses 2 points, 95 to 93. TR loses one point 94 to 93. Coolidge also gets back 5 points so 88 instead of 89. Lincoln gets 4 points, rising to 92.
    Grant suffers the most because he had great intangibles despite a disastrous administration.
     
  9. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    So let's reconsider the people who historians ranked at the top and what special characteristics they had.
    Washington gets there because he had to organize the position, create the cabinet and be an inspiration to the young country when it could have literally broken up. He didn't have to actually do much, and he didn't.
    Kennedy has that same appeal for getting the country excited about the young President. The intangibles are enough to put Washington near the top and Kennedy higher than he can get on the merits of his administration.
    Clinton is perhaps the third who benefits most from that sense of inspiration.
    Reagan benefits some from that, but he didn't need it. While Clinton can boast a good economy for 8 years, Reagan created the good economy in his era.
     
  10. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Lincoln gets to the top because he faced the biggest crisis ever and somehow won the war. While some object to the measures he took against civilians a President who does drastic things and gets them done is worthy. That's why I grudgingly put Polk and Jackson high on my list and others do as well.
    With Lincoln however most agree the outcome was positive.
    FDR gains many votes for the same reasons, even from those who criticize the details.
     
  11. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    The reason my choice for number one: Monroe, fails to win top consideration is that he had less difficult situations to deal with and limited opposition. Still the negotiations that led to the Missouri Compromise and his bold stance in favor of the new countries to our south was brave. Being willing to fight and not having to fight seems less impressive than fighting and winning, but is it?
     
  12. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Jefferson is best ranked on difficulty of avoiding war with France or England, especially in comparison with Madison who-faced with the same situation-went to war with England and gained nothing. No one drops Madison too far, but those who put both of them ahead of Monroe are just so infatuated with our earliest leaders that they lost objectivity,
     
  13. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Then comes that bad stretch of Presidents 8 through 15. There are a couple bright spots along the way, but someone might easily lump them all together near the bottom except for the disasters no one can touch.
    Polk stands out in that crowd of course, but perhaps grows because of the company he was in. Polk picked a fight and won. So did W., but no one puts W. near the top for destroying Afghanistan and removing Hussein.
    Should you get near the top for that? Maybe you have to, but not at the expense of Monroe or others who maintained strength and peace.
     
  14. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Most readers of history rush through the Presidents from Hayes to McKinley. Most writers focus on the social and business events of that era, so we lose sight of Hayes and his efforts to reconcile the north-south situation and finding a great Supreme Court Justice at a time when the Chiefs were weak. McKinley was effective in the same way Polk was and restored the economy. He has much in common with W. and the last guy.
     
  15. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    The big issue with Obama is his legacy. Democrats are saying his Affordable Care Act was insufficient. If they increase the number of Supreme Court Justices his girls will be lost in the crowd. His years of weakness at the end are no longer unusual and harmless overall, but does anyone think he wanted the quietest second therm since Coolidge?
     
  16. Starcastle

    Starcastle Well-Known Member

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    Bush was probably a worse president than Obama because of Iraq.

    Trump was actually a very effective president on many things.

    Eisenhower was probably the best president post WW2.
     
  17. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad someone joined the conversation and gladder he agrees with me about Eisenhower.
    For my further evaluation of the rankings that appeared earlier in this thread the second step would be to reduce the intangibles from 8 points to 2.
    It would be better instead to reduce it to 4. That gives the other 6 categories 16 points each. With 14 points each they hit 98 not 100 so I assigned or detracted the 15th point for categories that were exceptional.
    This doesn't change things much, but it makes it easier to compare Trump and Obama.
     
  18. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    The OP was an effort to assess whether either of our last 2 Presidents is a candidate for worst ever. Passionate people hate one or the other and have tried to justify their hate by calling the hated man the worst.
    While some of them have reasons that make sense, especially in selected company, mostly it is the emotion that comes out. I don't think anyone who considers Trump a contender for worst ever considers Obama a candidate for worst ever and vice versa.
    Using 16 points for the 6 categories and 4 points for intangibles I shall now risk health and enemies to try to objectively pit these 2 against each other.
    I have no idea what the final score may be.
     
  19. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    start with the easy one: Supreme Court.
    Trump got 3 people through, the third under heavy criticism. You can give him no fewer than the limit: 16 points.
    Obama failed to get his third pick through despite 11 months of time, tradition and the Constitution and justice on his side. The other 2 are faithfully following orders. He can get no more than 11 of 16.
     
  20. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    he second category is cabinet, with some consideration of lower officials.
    Trump assembled the oldest cabinet ever. Most were qualified, some over-qualified. His problem was keeping them. Though some were accused of bad things few have been convicted and even they did their jobs well despite incredible pressure from both the boss and the public. He gets 12 points.
    Obama had some solid people, but it is notable one of his best was held over from the previous administration. They left often and few stayed the whole 8 years. His choices for ambassador were pathetic and he needed additional positions for the State Department, especially the first 4 years. The best we can do is 10 points.
     
  21. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    In the category of laws on page one I gave Obama 3 of 14. That can become 5 of 16.
    Trump did much be executive order. Now that most of those orders have been reversed they fail as policy and his legacy will soon end. The tax cut failed to have the desired impact for reasons that would take a long time to explain, but it was a success that matches Obama's economic acts and prosperity followed until covid. His wall was not completed and we are starting to regret that. For now though he too stands at 5 points.
     
  22. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    I suppose you can say Obama gets 16 points for lack of scandal and Trump 0 because there was rarely a day he was not being accused of something. Maybe someday we will learn more and change those numbers, but I might die of old age first.
     
  23. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    In the category of wars they both avoided a new armed conflict but failed to end our situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama had twice as long but sometimes had to increase the number of troops. Trump had things easier to start but fewer deaths of our peace keepers.
    Foreign policy overall is part of the category and Trump got 3 countries to recognize Israel. Good relations with Russia help no matter how you get them. North Korea got quiet. China didn't even attack us when we blamed them for covid.
    For Obama we have the sad fact that drone strikes are not a proud policy, but Jackson and Polk get a lot of points for their actions and he has to get points too.
    Give them both a 10 of 16.
     
  24. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    That leaves the economy.
    Obama started with a mess and fixed it, but it was the slowest recovery ever. Did he want the slowest recovery ever? If he did he's a genius, but it's hard to give him 16 points since the normal cycle would have gone faster.
    Trump had a flawless record through 3 years, then covid made everything stop. That could have been a disaster, but the essential services kept going. The generous stimuli kept everyone fed, fat in fact, and things are shaping up now that restrictions are lifting. He'll have much to brag about soon.
    Can we give them both 12 pending further developments?
     
  25. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Intangibles are easy. Obama gets 2 of 4, Trump 0.
    So Obama ends up with 66 points, Trump 55.
     

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