# Who was the best US president since IIWW?

• News

## Who was the best US president since IIWW?

• ### George W. Bush

• Total voters
24
Mentor
In the who won first debate thread Turbo and Tribdog exchanged thoughts:

he ended up looking more thoughtful and honest, and we certainly need both of those qualities in a President after the past 8 years of having neither.
20 years. It's been AT LEAST 20 years.

And it made me thinking - how do you (Americans, PFers, whatever) value your presidents? I had a problem where to start, I was grown enough to recognize names since Nixon, but at least some of PFers will have their own opinions on earlier presidents, so I decided to start with Truman, just after IIWW ended.

So, which one was the best?

turbo
Gold Member
Probably Eisenhower. He was president during some tumultuous times, when servicemen were starting families and booming the economy, AND he was smart enough about the relationships between the Pentagon and their suppliers to know that they would bleed this country dry if possible, at the expense of schools, hospitals, infrastructure, etc.

Evo
Mentor
It depends on how you judge them, popularity, achievements. Most popular in my lifetime has to be Reagan. He also had a number of achievements.

Then you have Lyndon B Johnson that took over at a very bad time and did a lot ending segregation, promoting civil rights, education, health care, fighting poverty, conservation, the right for blacks to vote, his backing the spcae program, but in the end, his escalation of the Vietnam War did him in.

LowlyPion
Homework Helper
I think none of the presidents since World War II really enjoys the mantle of greatness like Lincoln or FDR or even Teddy or several of the first Presidents like Washington or Jefferson. These were men that shaped their times as well as the times shaping them.

I'd say Rushmore is in no immediate need of a makeover.

OmCheeto
Gold Member
Kennedy.

Inspired us to go to the moon.

The best should have the rest of the occupants of the planet saying, "Gosh, I wish he were our president".

I don't think that could be said of any of the other presidents.

The worst of course, are the ones who make us want to move to Canada.

turbo
Gold Member
It depends on how you judge them, popularity, achievements. Most popular in my lifetime has to be Reagan. He also had a number of achievements.
I voted for Reagan the first time because he said that he would shrink our government and cut waste. His first term, he increased the size of government by 25% and gave tax cuts to the wealthy. No more support from me. Later, he would go on to commit treason (stealing weapons from our amories, and selling them to a state that was an avowed enemy of the US) so he could finance a private war in Nicaragua. What a swell guy!

Have sex with an aide = get impeached. Commit treason = have a national airport named after you.

Last edited:
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Reagan has a carrier named after him. Reagan and Bush have airports named for them.

I couldn't handle Reagan's dishonesty. That was the beginning of the flawed Reaganomics, the culmination of which is the financial situation the country is now facing. The first indications that it wasn't going to work were the huge deficits and the S&L crisis. The government didn't learn and sought to deregulate.

I agree with McCain about earmarks - earmarks and deficits are like crack - and Congress is addicted to both.

It was well known in the mid-80's that Star Wars was a farce, but the government kept spending hundreds of $billion. One Air Force general ultimately conceded that they probably wasted about$500 billion. I wish I could find that testimony to Congress.

There's a case to be made for Nixon, despite all of his well-known problems and the ignominious end of his tenure. He got the US out of Vietnam and shored up relations with China, which ultimately resulted in victory in the Cold War. He established the EPA, OSHA and a panopoly of other agencies to serve the public good, while also taking steps to improve automotive efficiency and calling for "comprehensive health care." Large scale school desegregation also occured on his watch. His Supreme Court appointments were pretty solid as well. It's difficult to swallow your bile and approve of Nixon, what with all the nastiness associated with him, but when you compare to, say, Bush, who is twice as nasty, just as corrupt, and incompetent to boot, well...

I voted for Carter. How can you not like a do-nothing President? I expect Clinton to win though. The physics nerds are going to skew this in favor of a man who lied about having sex.

cristo
Staff Emeritus
I expect Clinton to win though. The physics nerds are going to skew this in favor of a man who lied about having sex.

I'm not sure that's the reason the poll will be 'skewed.' I, for one, voted for Clinton solely for the work he put into trying to solve the conflicts in Northern Ireland. He's a good role model for your country: someone who really does care about international matters.

Considering foreign policy, no doubt about it, Kennedy.

After enduring the Bay of Pigs catastrophe which was an Eisenhower heritage, he found out the real reason of the failure and used that to successfully manage the nuclear threat from Cuba with the embargo in 1963. We never came closer to a man made world catastrophe. Knowing that key to success, he might have managed an early and favorable withdrawal from Vietnam as well. He never got a chance. Most presidents were populists only, he was also a genius.

Believe me, Dallas November 22, 1963 was the blackest day by orders of magnitude in the history of the USA.

Last edited:
OmCheeto
Gold Member
I voted for Carter. How can you not like a do-nothing President? I expect Clinton to win though. The physics nerds are going to skew this in favor of a man who lied about having sex.

Physics nerds? Lied about having sex?

Carter said he only lusted after women in his heart.

re: Jimmy Carter
...received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1946 and is the only graduate of the Naval Academy to become President.

I would have voted for Carter in this poll(being both a physics nerd, and ex-navy), but his term seemed to be dotted with so many outside roadblocks, it never seemed to get off the ground. I voted for him during both of his campaigns.

When Reagan took over, it pretty much told me the old adage about Americans not wanting a president who was smarter than they were was true.

I've been pretty much disillusioned with the choices since then, and have not followed or seriously discussed politics with anyone until about 6 months ago.

But getting back to Carter, he was either in office 30 years too early, or we are 30 years too late trying to figure out what he was doing.

Carter told Americans that the energy crisis was "a clear and present danger to our nation" and drew out a plan to address it.

In 1977 Carter had convinced the Democratic Congress to create the United States Department of Energy (DoE).

had solar hot water panels installed on the roof of the White House(which Reagan removed)

Carter also signed the National Energy Act (NEA) and the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). The purpose of these watershed laws was to encourage energy conservation and the development of national energy resources, including renewables such as wind and solar energy.

But unfortunately, he had little charisma, hence no one listened, the actor replaced the physicist farmer, and we've done little more than go forward in time since then.

someone who really does care about international matters.

what did he do for the genocide in Rwanda?

OmCheeto
Gold Member
what did he do for the genocide in Rwanda?

Well, even if he had done something, people would have still told him he was wrong.
I had an argument with Astronuc about the genocide in Kosovo a while back. The American pop press seldom gets the whole story right. According to my friends from Moscow and Armenia, what's going on in Georgia is quite a bit more complicated than just a Russian invasion.

But we are discussing presidents and genocide at the moment. I have to agree with Madeleine Albright's following statement about our involvement in these types of matters. Actually, the group as a whole had the solution down pretty well, IMHO. You may want to read all of their comments:

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0809/20/se.01.html" [Broken]
September 20, 2008

AMANPOUR: Not to put too fine a point on it. It's the same that was said about Bosnia, Rwanda, and et cetera. Since all of you have presided over these periods in American history and global history, can we pin you down?

The United States has called it genocide, what's happening in Darfur. Secretary Albright, what should the next president do?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think it's in U.S. national interests, in fact, to do something about humanitarian situations that lead to or are genocidal. And the question is how you get the will of the American people behind it. It is not easy.

But, I'll say this, is, if you're the United States, you're damned if you do or damned if you don't. We intervened in Somalia, and people thought that was a mistake. We didn't intervene in Rwanda, and people thought that was a mistake.

What's really sad, is that when Colin Powell went to the UN and said there was genocide going on in Dafur, they said;"No there's not."

Apparently the value we Americans put on life is not shared by the rest of the world. But that's another thread altogether.

Last edited by a moderator:
cristo
Staff Emeritus
what did he do for the genocide in Rwanda?

Not every problem in the world can be solved by American military marching into foreign countries under the US flag, and kicking the crap out of people there. If I understand things correctly, he left this situation to the UN, albeit he could have provided a little more support to the UN. Still, humanitarian help was provided after the incident.

Similarly, one could ask what Bush has done regarding the recent situation in Zimbabwe.

LowlyPion
Homework Helper
114 days until we have a new President.

114 days until our National bad dream hopefully will be lifted and the incompetence of the Bush/Cheney/Rove years are removed from office.

Will the next President be in the running to be considered the best since WW II? I can only hope as we are in need of a return to superior rational policy - the built up problems have simply become bigger than ideology and posturing and pretense that things are under control.

Defennder
Homework Helper
I don't understand why JFK is considered one of the greatest presidents of all time. He didn't even serve a full term.

LowlyPion
Homework Helper
I don't understand why JFK is considered one of the greatest presidents of all time. He didn't even serve a full term.

In terms of inspiration I'd say he certainly spoke to the best of the American psyche.

The management of the Cuban missile crisis may have been as much his fault as his success. His stands against segregation, and the states' authority to perpetuate it, were the right thing to do. His call to explore the moon, which was realized as a result was to his credit. After the bland Eisenhower years his youthfulness was glamorous and forward looking to a generation of boomers that were inspired to service.

Basically I don't count him the best of the bunch, but certainly I see him as middle table ahead of the effete Bush the Elder, or Bush the Jr, or Ford, or Carter.

I voted for Carter. He did what was necessary for the economy (inflation was already at 12% when he came into office) by raising interest rates. He was willing to do the right thing and be unpopular. Others accomplished more, but boy did Carter ever have character.

(inflation was already at 12% when he came into office)

I checked and I was a bit off -- 11% and 9% in the two years before Carter. My memory didn't quite serve me. The point was that inflation had already taken off by the time Carter came into office.

Defennder
Homework Helper
In terms of inspiration I'd say he certainly spoke to the best of the American psyche.

The management of the Cuban missile crisis may have been as much his fault as his success. His stands against segregation, and the states' authority to perpetuate it, were the right thing to do. His call to explore the moon, which was realized as a result was to his credit. After the bland Eisenhower years his youthfulness was glamorous and forward looking to a generation of boomers that were inspired to service.

Basically I don't count him the best of the bunch, but certainly I see him as middle table ahead of the effete Bush the Elder, or Bush the Jr, or Ford, or Carter.
Yeah but most people consider him among the top 5 best Presidents of all time. Does whatever he achieved during that 3 plus years as president really warrant that?

turbo
Gold Member
Yeah but most people consider him among the top 5 best Presidents of all time. Does whatever he achieved during that 3 plus years as president really warrant that?
He got assassinated, and the myths grew (aided by his widow, BTW).

I expect Clinton to win though. The physics nerds are going to skew this in favor of a man who lied about having sex.

Well, if that's the worst thing he lied about, then he is indeed easily better than everyone else on the list...

BobG
Homework Helper
Yeah but most people consider him among the top 5 best Presidents of all time. Does whatever he achieved during that 3 plus years as president really warrant that?

He got assassinated, and the myths grew (aided by his widow, BTW).

Aided by Johnson, as well. Kennedy's name was the hammer Johnson used to accomplish the things Kennedy only talked about. Johnson also had a lot more to do with the US manned space program than Kennedy (even as VP, he made sure his home state benefited from it).

I voted for Reagan, but I'd rank Johnson second, even with the burden of Viet Nam.

Nixon easily could have topped this list, except having to resign in disgrace puts him in competition for worst ever, as well.

Carter could have topped this list, except having brains and integrity isn't enough - you have to have at least a smidgeon of leadership ability to be an effective President. Carter would rank dead last in leadership abilities. Ford was pretty uninspirational, as well.

Bush 43 is the only total bust on the list. Kennedy put us in enough international crises to rank second worst on this list. Competence is even more important than leadership.