Monday, January 19, 2009

Rating the Presidents

Another Presidential era has come and gone. So, it’s time to update my running list of post-WWII Presidents. Unfortunately, we have a new loser at the bottom of the heap. Hopefully, #44 will be better. Here’s the list:

The Relatively Good Presidents

Ronald Reagan

Good: Cut marginal tax rates by 30%. Helped defeat communism (along with Thatcher, Kohl, and the Pope). Reinvigorated our national spirit after Vietnam and Jimmy Carter. Rebuilt the military after its neglect during the Carter years.

Bad: Failed to do anything about growing government spending and debt.

Harry Truman

Good: Eliminated the war time economy to move us back to a free market, in spite of the advice of his Keynesian advisors to build tanks and bury them in the desert to keep the economy going. (Unfortunately, the Keynesian idiots are feeling their oats again today.) He also desegregated the armed forces and implemented the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe.

Mixed: Dropping of the atomic bomb to win WWII. This was seen as a successes but it is questionable at the same time.

Bad: Korean war

The Mixed Presidents

Bill Clinton

Good: Worked with the Republican Congress to balance the budget for the first time in a long time. Removed welfare from being an entitlement.

Bad: Invaded the Balkins. Failed to cement Russia in the West. Periodically sent cruise missiles to bomb Osama bin Laden, without any real plan on how to eliminate or contain him, which helped lead to 9/11.

John Kennedy

Good: Cut marginal tax rates by 30%. Compromised on missiles in Turkey for missiles in Cuba to avoid war.

Bad: Seeded the Vietnam War. Backed a coup d'etat, which installed the Baath Party (Saddam Hussein’s party) into power in Iraq.

Dwight Eisenhower

Good: Created the interstate highway system. Ended the Korean war.

Bad: Backed a coup d'etat, installing the Shah of Iran. Expanded Social Security and other New Deal programs.

The Irrelevant Presidents

Gerald Ford

Good: Vetoed more bills than most of his predecessors and successors.

Bad: The lame WIN (whip inflation now) campaign.

George Herbert Walker Bush

Bad: First Iraq war (but got out quickly). Generally clueless about the economy.

Good: Only served one term!

The Dreadful Presidents

Lyndon Johnson

Bad: Started the Vietnam War and created the Great Society entitlement programs which set the stage for the inflation of the 1970s and the entitlement mentality and deficits we are living with today.

Good: The Voting Rights Act.

Jimmy Carter

Bad: Couldn’t make a decision in a crisis (according to his own National Security Advisor) leading to American hostages in Iran and a generally failed stint as leader of the free world. Nearly destroyed the military through neglect.

Good: “Deregulated” the airlines and trucking. Appointed Paul Volcker to the Federal Reserve, who helped break the inflationary spiral of the 1970s.

Richard Nixon

Bad: Expanded Johnson’s Vietnam War and Great Society programs. Took the U.S. off of the gold standard. Imposed wage and price controls, creating shortages of everything from gasoline to toilet paper. Few remember this, but people were eating horse meat under Nixon because his price controls caused a beef shortage.

Good: Helped China enter the world community.

George Herbert Hoover Bush

Bad: Lied about Iraq’s involvement with 9/11. Iraq war. Corrupted the Constitution to spy on Americans with the Patriot Act and other legislation. Created the first new entitlement program since the Great Society. Created massive deficits and more than doubled the national debt on his watch. Quasi-nationalization of the financial sector. Largest federal intrusion into the classroom in history. Torture in Guantanamo.

Good: Letterman's Great Moments In Presidential Speeches...

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