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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    So Benjamin Harrison gets 20 for Supreme Court, 20 for cabinet, 10 for wars (Hawaii problem), 20 for economy and 10 for laws. The Sherman antitrust act was great. The McKinley Tariff was a disaster, but he can't lose points both for the law and the economy. I think he could have navigated the panic better than Cleveland did. However we can't take or give points on speculation. So he gets 10 for laws and 80 points.
     
  2. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Obviously every system of judgment is flawed, especially soon after a President has left office and his legacy is not fully developed.
    However each method used in this thread makes Obama a dud, though not quite in the impenetrable bottom.
    What combination of judgments can you possibly devise that makes him a success?
    I think it was in 2011 when Newsweek did an article of the 10 best Presidents since 1900. I assume they did not consider McKinley.
    Obama came in tenth, so that was obviously an endorsement for voting him to a second term. Of course the article was aimed at those not well-informed, because anyone who knows Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th and Obama the 44th could do a little math and realize he was also on the list of 10 worst Presidents since 1900.
     
  3. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Of course that was 2011. Obama had 5 more years to work his way up, but I fail to see any events of those 5 years that he was responsible for. He struggled with a hostile Congress and couldn't get his judges through, especially the big one. That was good in a Coolidge sort of way, but getting past Coolidge by doing a lot in 2 years and coasting for 6 is not a ticket towards the top.
    The Presidents they put ahead of him (including LBJ who should have been behind him) at least were working hard until the end.
     
  4. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Almost everyone would agree that there were at least 8 Presidents before 1901 who were better than Obama, even better than Obama after 30 months. Those who disagree would say there were 6 or 7.
    Of course the job got more complicated in the 20th century, so degree of difficulty knocks some people down and raises a few up, but nothing is harder than navigating a civil war and setting up the government is not too easy either.
    So Obama was average after 2 years and could only go down from there.
    Good intentions do not equal good leadership and I covered that with intangibles.
     
  5. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Trump gets 0 for intangibles no matter how you slice it. He had good intentions, however they were hard to justify.
     
  6. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Trump's intentions were to deregulate businesses, slow the flow of illegal immigrants and interrupt the tyranny of liberal activist judges.
    Obviously there are some who think those are evil things and some who think they are good things.
    It breaks even.
     
  7. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Obama's intentions were to make more people poor (by definition) so the government can give so much money and benefits to so many people they will vote Democratic for life in gratitude. It got him a second term. Fixing the economy was no problem, especially since the downward spiral was ready to bounce without further government interference. You can't say it's a bad intention to give away more money but you can't do that without draining people who were once comfortable.
     
  8. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    How many points can you take from a President just for being a bad man, and which Presidents lose how many points for degrees of badness? If racism gets negative points the earliest President with a clean record might be Grant but definitely Chester A. Arthur. Did you know his legal career was highlighted by winning rights for blacks in New York, even before the war? He didn't take a knee or lead riots, he just helped them win legal cases one by one.
     
  9. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    In terms of virtue Arthur, Coolidge, Hoover, Ford and Carter rank at the top, but none are terribly impressive Presidents. Can it be that nice guys don't lobby too hard to get a platform through?
     
  10. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    If Obama gets points for degree of difficulty, so he can move up past President from before 1900, maybe a few points against Presidents before 1945, so does the other guy.
    Trump had more difficulty than Obama because of the complaints he won a rigged election, dodged taxes and abused women. Obama never had that problem.
    So degree of difficulty, no matter how you define it, is a rising tide that lifts all recent Presidents.
    For example, dealing with a Congress controlled by an opposing party makes Nixon a huge success.
     
  11. Dazed and Confused

    Dazed and Confused Newly Registered

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    What does a comparison between Buchanan and Trump achieve except to elevate Trump? Anything which elevates Trump is anathema. So, I suggest John Tyler. He was a real bute. He was reportedly an alcoholic, like Buchanan, but aside from that, he began an imperialist war against Mexico. A Virginian, (a slave state), he wanted to make possible the expansion of slavery in the new territories acquired. Let us not forget, that just prior to the aggression against Mexico, Texas slave holders, (slavery was against Mexican law), mounted a rebellion which the President of Mexico was unable to suppress. Tyler was hated in the northern states for this aggression. It was as immoral as the two Bush's attack on Iraq, a country which Americans perhaps forgot, was receiving aid from the USA during its war with Iran, (which the USA now counts as an enemy government.) Bush was labeled a war criminal by the EU court, but of course Tyler, and if you really want to talk disgusting, Jackson, were not. We have had a lot of bad men as Presidents. Pick one or any, it matters not, because we, the people, have no control over the politicians we elect while holding our noses.
     
  12. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Dazed and Confused fro adding to the thread.
    I think you may be confusing Tyler and Polk. Tyler was unable to do much but he got Texas in because most people wanted it. Polk won the 1844 election almost promising war against Britain to get the northwest. Then he picked the war with Mexico and won.
    Did you read all my posts agonizing over how to rank a President who starts an unnecessary war and wins?
     
  13. Dazed and Confused

    Dazed and Confused Newly Registered

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    Well, in my defense, I must say that I have never been thorough and detailed, and I am often quick to speak and act. I didn't read all your posts, not because I dismiss them in any way, but because I have always been rash. Occasionally it gives me grief. (But, not to be snide, did Polk "win?" Certainly neither demographically nor morally, did he?)

    For example, forgive me for mentioning that the Alamo legend fed to the American public is so much horse pucky. Santa Ana was doing his duty as President of Mexico, and the rebels in the Alamo legend were being treasonous as residents of a Mexican territory. I only use take this tangent to make a point--we discuss history according to formulas which we read and hear, but those formulas are not always as honest, nor are they as complete, as we might hope for more objective analysis. Beard's view of American history dominated my generation's study. Now I realize I should have been provided Howard Zinn's view. You know, at 74 years old, and having acquired an M. A. in the subject, just enough to be not ignorant of the main theories, I feel I had been lied to for 50 of those years. Looking at this "nation," (I would argue it isn't a nation), now, I cannot agree that Robert Morris was a noteworthy hero of the Revolution but rather bought up discharged soldiers' chits for pennies on the dollar, nor was Washington, nor Hancock, nor Jefferson. Lee should never have been canonized as a likable noble great general (a "formulaic" sold to the American public), but rather a traitor. What "story" do we present to the masses in a thimble, knowing their attention spans and interest is maximum 20 minutes? Grant was a great general? Or did he simply defeat the main rebel army by attrition, a tactic which American generals have almost always use? We could go on and on.

    I think that you are probably an intelligent, well-educated and insightful person, so you will probably agree that all the simplistic and sometimes polarized, (e.g., who was "good" and who was "worse"), we use to discuss issues are erroneous approaches. There are a myriad of reasons things have occurred, (an uncountable number of previous occurrences and omissions have conseqeunces); yet we consistently make assertions and judgments which ignore the enormous number of things we don't know, or may even mis-interpret.

    We learn what others tell us and we often don't know how solid the stuff is. If you think about it, the annoying thing about less educated people criticizing or challenging "credible" information, is that they have no idea how wide and deep the subject must be plumbed, measured and analyzed, and even when judgments are made, they are theories, and fallible; and the people who make them do so know they are walking a split rail fence. I remember once teaching secondary juvenile offenders how Narragansett Bay was sounded so the maritime map showed thousands of depths. One student said, "Oh, come on, who could have taken the time and risk to go out there and measure all those places?" So, what does one do? Well, one writes and lectures by formulas, simplistic assertions and didacticism, which is not honestly warranted.

    Yes, I confused Polk, but I remember Tyler was disliked. I realize that Buchanan was ranked the worst by a group of historians, but I disagree.I doubt there is a "worst" simply because it depends upon the evaluation criteria, and is futile anyway because of presentism. We are now evaluating, say, Andrew Johnson, an East Tennessee power broker whom Lincoln picked to influence the northern sympathizers in that state, (a drunk and most importantly, the man who played a major role in making a mockery of Reconstruction?) My points are these: 1) I am parroting what historians I have read have postulated, 2) I am now, over a century later, making judgments without knowing all the facts, puts and takes. Sure, Jackson practiced genocide, but when did I, and the mass of the population come to be told that? Based upon the assertions of some historians recently? So why was I not told that most of my life? It was unpopular, and historians and editors employed presentism, that's why. I remember initial discussions about that in graduate school in the 1990's, not that long ago.

    There is a tendency to focus on the earlier Presidents during discussions of quality, but I suggest that the American public has voiced extreme dislike of the performance of modern Presidents, not in media or organizational polls, (curiously), but in actual behavior. Not all of this discontent is grounded in extremist propaganda and decades of brain washing, but I think it is a profound distrust based upon generations of conflict between cultures. The "American" one of self-reliance, stoicism, individualism, machismo, (i. e. John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood actually began to think of themselves as "American" icons, stereotypes if you will.) They are not "America" to the majority of Americans, who do not share that culture, because that culture is Anglo-Saxon. Americans have been for some time no longer a "Frontier" people, (reference Frederick Jackson Turner's Thesis.) We are a polygolt, heterogenous people who have never, until say a decade ago, lived in a "melting pot." No, we lived, (and some of the West, all the South, and the Midwest aside from some major cities, still does), in cultural enclaves. Thus, there are at least two nations here, and we are at best living in a federation of disparate states with disparate regional (and irreconcilable) cultures.

    Sorry, my thoughts run together. Maybe too much coffee, or maybe I am some kind of genius. No, probably not that.
     
  14. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the reply.
    You can see what I think of Tyler, Andrew Johnson and others.
    The question remains: how many points can you take away from a man just because everyone hates him.
    Please note my ranking of the war Presidents.
     
  15. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    We now have 2 long threads based on the CSPAN ranking of Presidents. Maybe this will soon be merged with one or both of them.
     
  16. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    CSPAN will not ask historians to rate Biden until the end of the term, maybe 2025 even if he doesn't finish, but I think we can all agree he is in position to give Buchanan a run for his money for worst.
     
  17. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    Using my criteria we can say that his cabinet is below average. The worst part is that people were chosen by categories not talent.
     
  18. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    He has not yet made a Supreme Court appointment but his first batch of lower judges were chosen to fill ethnic quotas.
     
  19. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    he disaster with Afghanistan and his problems with France represent total disaster.
     
  20. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    The economy is stagnant, mostly because people are waiting for the government to give them money and have little ambition to earn any.
     
  21. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    The mess at the border keeps getting worse and he has presented nothing that looks like a solution.
     
  22. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    The intangibles are all against him. He was never that popular to begin with and his support is fading fast.
     

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