Butch Rates The Modern Presidents
When we look back at all of the U.S. presidents, I’m sure you will agree that we have had some great ones . . . and some not so great. Americans compare and judge each administration in various ways . . . popularity, domestic and foreign accomplishments, leadership, speaking ability, overall vitality of the country, and their ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. Everyone has their own opinion. I have read biographies of just about every president, so I might as well offer my two cents worth, but I am restricting the list to the last 100 years.
Woodrow Wilson (1913-21): Highly intelligent, stuffy and arrogant
Warren Harding (1921-23): Lazy and crooked
Calvin Coolidge (1923-29): Quiet and reserved “Silent Cal”
Herbert Hoover (1929-33): Fiddled while Rome burned when the Depression hit
Franklin Roosevelt (1933-45): Great speaker who gave us hope, but increased the size of government
Harry Truman (1945-53): known as the common man “the buck stops here.”
Dwight Eisenhower (1953-61): WWII hero…Grandpa to the ‘50s generation
John F. Kennedy (1961-63): Great speaker full of enthusiasm
Lyndon Johnson (1963-69): Big mouth politician
Richard Nixon (1969-72): Smart, but sneaky
Gerald Ford (1972-77): Nice guy, but dull and forgettable
Jimmy Carter (1977-81): Another nice guy, but lousy President
Ronald Reagan (1981-89): The Great Communicator…patriotic, with a sense of humor
George Bush (1989-1993): An honorable man, but lackluster accomplishments
Bill Clinton (1993-2001): Mr. Smooth Talker
George W. Bush (2001-2009): Sincere and patriotic, but not the brightest bulb on the tree
Barack Obama (2009-2017): “Mr. Cool”
Donald Trump (2017-2021): Did some good things…just couldn’t keep his mouth shut
Joe Biden (2021 to present): Career politician who is lost in space
A poll was taken in 1948 in which academic historians ranked the presidents from BEST to WORST. Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln topped the list, with Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan at the bottom. Here are my picks from 1920s to today:
BEST: (5) Franklin Roosevelt . . . got us through the Great Depression and WWII, but expanded the executive branch a hundred-fold in the process; (4) Dwight Eisenhower . . . We needed a grandfatherly type to let things run smoothly after WWII and the Korean War; (3) John F. Kennedy . . . inspired hope in the New Generation; (2) Calvin Coolidge . . . did not believe government should interfere in our lives and strictly followed the Constitution; (1) Ronald Reagan . . . He had his faults, but he believed in America and individualism, as he stated, “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. I think the best possible social program is a job.” He always had a great belief in America and was always optimistic, believing in free enterprise and a strong defense to defend liberty.
WORST: (5) Warren Harding . . . His idea of returning to normalcy was to play poker, drink and let his cronies steal money; (4) Jimmy Carter . . . a good Christian person . . . should have kept his old job as a peanut farmer; (3) Bill Clinton . . . Slick Willie got things done in a bipartisan manner during a good economy. Unfortunately, he was married to Hillary. Need I say more? (2) Joe Biden . . . a career politician who never accomplished anything, and can’t even give a speech unless he squints to see what his handlers have written on the teleprompter; (1) Barack Obama . . . He proved that a pot-smoking, slick-talker, who had everything given to him, can be elected president. As the first black president, he could have made a real difference in uniting our country. Instead, his “hope and change” administration weaponized the FBI, shredded the Constitution, divided the country and became the ultimate dispenser of executive orders. This “community organizer” hypocrite is now smiling in his $15 million estate on Martha’s Vineyard.
Well, those are my picks. I’m sure many of you disagree. It’s good that we can express our opinions. Or can we in the new “woke” world we live in today? Who will you vote for in 2024 . . . Biden, Trump, Haley, DeSantis, Newsom . . . or someone who has not announced yet? I still say we need someone like Rodney Dangerfield. In these trying times, we all need a good laugh.
John “Butch” Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 32 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.