Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New ranking of best American Presidents

The American Political Science Association released a poll today describing who Presidential scholars think were the greatest president in American history. The question I have is, what are they smoking? How is it that people could as a group place Andrew Jackson, who destroyed the American economy, killed thousands of Native Americans, and messed up our entire foreign policy along with Reagan's complete mishandling of monetary policy (because the division between the executive branch and Federal Reserve wasn't very strong before Clinton) lands both of them above LBJ who signed most of our civil rights legislation and led over a period of excellent monetary and fiscal policy while negotiating a peace treaty with Vietnam which that son of a bitch, pardon my patriotism, Richard Nixon sabotaged? HW Bush's lack of accomplishments (unless if dealing weapons to Central American terrorists counts as an accomplishment) lands him above Obama who has led this country with grace with unprecedented obstruction pushing our social policies forward on numerous fronts. For some reason William Howard Taft has over 50% approval, for reasons unknown to me. John Quincy Adams who was the last President of the Era of Good Feelings also is below Jackson. Missing from the list includes Benjamin Harrison who fought for civil rights to the extent of his ability, Harding who tried to end lynching, and Ulysses S. Grant who oversaw Reconstruction.

Political Scientists need to think more when they rank Presidents, because this list makes absolutely no sense if one were to look at what Presidents actually did. I would expect political scientists would be more likely than normal to take into account the political conditions of the time when ranking Presidents to come up with a ranking of who they really were and what they really did, but apparently I am wrong in thinking that. It is just a rehash of popularity that is similar to what average people with no education of history (because in order to be a good political scientist you have to know history) would select, even if it includes a genocidal maniac who destroyed the economy in the top 10.


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