« Shocker: Liberals are intolerant! | Main | "the presidential election of 2008 was a hoax" »

Mister President

It's been a while, and in light of the stunning lack of leadership by our current President, it seems apropos to ask:

Please name, in your opinion, the five best U.S. Presidents in history, including why they are the best.  Note that any attempt to troll or post attacks on the ones you don't like will be taken by me as permission to replace your text with whatever I feel like posting.

Let's keep it positive, and if you can, informative.






TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (34)

Washington - dealt with a l... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Washington - dealt with a lot of challenges but decisions made helped our country to survive as long as it has.

Truman - Decision to drop the bomb.

Reagan - Won the cold war

Bush 43 - Made the hard decision to finally take out Saddam and changed the face of the middleeast. Also dealt with aftereffects of 911.

Lincoln - Made touch decisions during the Civil war that needed to be made.

1. Lincoln. You can't get ... (Below threshold)

1. Lincoln. You can't get any stronger a President - carried the country through what was its darkest days as a Republic. And did so with grace and humility throughout.

2. Washinton. If for nothing else than turning down the crown offered to him and stepping away from power after 2 terms puts him high on my list for that reason alone.

3. Jefferson. Led the country through its period of greatest expansion, the Louisiana Purchase.

4. Reagan. Led the country to victory in the longest war of its history, the Cold War. Additionally led the country out of one its longest and deepest recessions but kept it stong internationally.

5. FDR. Yeah, you can talk aboput how his actions prolonged the depression but for his 4 terms (!!!) he was the single solid political force in this nation and provided the leadership needed during one of its greatest struggles, World War II.

Teddy Roosevelt.FD... (Below threshold)

Teddy Roosevelt.




Clinton. Best economy of any President in history.

1. Washington: Set excell... (Below threshold)

1. Washington: Set excellent enduring precedents - especially the voluntary 2 term limit.

2. Reagan: combined economic wisdom to create boom from stagflation, and foreign policy wisdom to win the Cold War.

3. Coolidge: Quietly effective during the economic boom of the 1920's.

4. Eisenhower: Quietly effective during the economic boom of the 1950's.

5. Truman: For making the tough decision to end WWII with the dropping of the nukes, and getting the Cold War off to the right start with Policy of Containment.

"Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

ObamaCarterHo... (Below threshold)


[ a bit thin, no support for your selections? - DJ]

Washington, Lincoln, FDR, R... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Reagan, and a fifth draft pick to be named later.

Jim E. -- I am not, repeat NOT, a Clinton hater - I said he governed (economically) far more conservative than Republicans gave him credit for, and I thought the impeachment was lame. (And I will NOT argue those points any further with anyone, thank you)

But to those who have crowed about "Clinton's economy", I have posited the following question: Two things happened in 1993. Which of the two had greater global economic impact?

1) Bill Clinton was inaugurated President of the United States.

2) Netscape Mosiac, precursor to Navigator and the first World Wide Web browser, was released to the public, thus introducing Modern Civilization as whole to the Internet.

Which of these two had bigger impact?

Uh-huh. Don't kid yourself, you know the answer, and so do I. Hence, "Clinton's Economy". (Which he largely kept his hands off of, bless his heart. Ya think our current guy would've done that??)

LincolnWashington<br... (Below threshold)



{ tweeet }unsports... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

{ tweeet }

unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

[ edited because someone di... (Below threshold)

[ edited because someone did not read the instructions Play nice or I let my dogs poop where you print (DJ)]

1. Lincoln - Civil War<br /... (Below threshold)

1. Lincoln - Civil War
2. Washington - leadership
3. Reagan - cold war
4. Jefferson - expansion
5. FDR - WWII, though he stayed in power too long

[ thou shalt not go negativ... (Below threshold)

[ thou shalt not go negative ]

LincolnWashington<br... (Below threshold)
Jeff Medcalf:


1. George Washington. He ... (Below threshold)
Rodney G. Graves:

1. George Washington. He set the standard for being president and for the peaceful and orderly transition of power.

2. Ronald Reagan. Brought our longest war (Cold War) to a successful conclusion while rebuilding the nation's self confidence.

3. Theodore Roosevelt. Transitioned the Presidency to a role of active leadership.

4. Abraham Lincoln. Forcefully held the United States together while abolishing the shameful "peculiar institution" which threatened the soul of the nation.

[ edited to cut out the neg remarks - my cuts are quick and I mean it when I say this one should be positive only - DJ ]

Nice, we did this project i... (Below threshold)

Nice, we did this project in college.

1. Washington - obvious choice. First president and set the bar for others. Gracious in his duties. Stepped down willing after two terms.

2. Lincoln - re-united the nation, freed the slaves, etc.

3. FDR - longest running president in out history. Made several social changes that needed to done at the time.

4. Ronald Reagan - changed the direction of the country, beat the Russians, etc.

5. Thomas Jefferson - westward expanision.

Honorable mention: John Adams.

Man, these refs are tough..... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Man, these refs are tough...

1. Washington: The indispen... (Below threshold)

1. Washington: The indispensable man. His actions ensured that we would have a government of laws and not one of "men."
2. Lincoln: Epitome of leadership during the country's greatest crisis.
3. Reagan: Weathered criticism to change the direction of the country - both internally and in foreign policy.
4. FDR: However disastrous the "New Deal" was (statistically), his leadership during WWII almost makes up for it.
5. Truman: Leadership decisions during the end of WWII and the Korean War. The prisoner exchange decision during Korea may have been morally correct, but not in the best interest of the U.S.; however, he made decisions - as opposed to [SQUIRREL!!! - no negs, please (DJ)]

Andrew x, as re: Clinton: r... (Below threshold)

Andrew x, as re: Clinton: rather than get into a larger discussion I'll just say: results speak for themselves.

James Polk pretty much doub... (Below threshold)

James Polk pretty much doubled the size of the US (Negotiated a settlement with the Brits over Oregon, won the Mexican / American war, purchased California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Promised to only serve one term- and did, refusing to run for re-election. Opened the US Naval Academy as well as the Smithsonian, saw the groundbreaking on the Washington Memorial.

He probably belongs on the list somewhere- not sure that he's ahead of Lincoln and Washington, but he's pretty far ahead of most of the guys from the last century.

Washington: made his politi... (Below threshold)

Washington: made his political opposition (Jefferson) cabinet secretaries. Could have made himself king, but didn't. voluntary 2 term retirement. listened to people who were smarter or knew more than he did, but made the final decisions himself. wasn't afraid to take political risks (Whiskey Rebellion)

Lincoln: Kept us one country through the Civil War. It was a continuation of his policies by Andrew Johnson that reintegrated the south into the country

Jefferson: Most forward planning of any President. Wasn't afraid to protect American interests (Barbary Pirates, etc). expanded the country. surveyed the new territory.

Theodore Roosevelt: first man to really understand how strong the US had become, how to project power, and the responsibility that came with it.

Ronald Reagan: Greatest turnaround for the better in our history

George Washington Se... (Below threshold)

George Washington
Set the example, created the model.

Abraham Lincoln
Saved the nation, lived up to the ideal.

Thomas Jefferson
Held the vision and with the Louisiana Purchase, set the nation upon the path to manifest destiny. Demonstrated the difference between spending foolishly and investing wisely.

Ronald Reagan
Brought the country out of Carter's very real "crisis of confidence", implemented wise economic policies, that demonstrated a deep understanding of capitalism and instituted policies that won the cold war.

James K. Polk

Why Polk?
"Polk is noted for his foreign policy successes. Polk led the nation to a sweeping victory in the Mexican–American War, followed by purchase of California, Arizona, and New Mexico. He secured passage of the Walker tariff of 1846, which had low rates that pleased his native South. He established a treasury system that lasted until 1913.

Polk oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first postage stamps in the United States.

He promised to serve only one term and did not run for reelection. He died of cholera three months after his term ended.

Scholars have ranked him favorably on the list of greatest presidents for his ability to set an agenda and achieve all of it. Polk has been called the "least known consequential president" of the United States."

As naming 5 great Presidents illustrates, few men are great, the best we can ask from any man is that he be competent. Polk exemplified that, he didn't want the job, only agreed to run on the condition that his duty to the nation in a time of peace only required one term. Did a superb job, refused to serve another term, when asked to and then went home...

What would we give to have that be the norm in modern Presidents?

I subscribe to SER's list, ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

I subscribe to SER's list, and basis therefor, with the exception of [ edited to remove negatives ]

For that reason, I would provisionally put W at #5. [ edit ] and was roundly hated (but again, not as much as Lincoln), but if history shows he did shift the Middle East off of its self-destructive course onto the path of liberal (classical sense) capitalist democracies, he will be considered a great President.

Lincoln changed the lives of millions of Americans by freeing the slaves, and he held the Union together. Reagan defeated an existential threat by winning the Cold War. But if the ME comes right - granted, a big if - W will have changed the course of world history for a billion people in the ME and another billion in Europe and the US, and for the better. And that ain't nuthin'.

1. George Washin... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

1. George Washington – established the ground rules and set the precedent for every POTUS since.
2. Ronald Reagan – won the Cold War, re-established American dominance in military and political influence, and reinjected morals and ethics into the White House
3. James K Polk – as Tim wrote, he greatly expanded territory of the country, defined practical foreign policy and made the concept of Manifest Destiny a pragmatic reality
4. Grover Cleveland – most notable reform President, willing to stand up to thugs, old boy networks, and even his own party to clean out corruption
5. George W. Bush – First President with the guts to go after Islamic terrorists where they live, and to define America’s role in the world for the 21st Century.

Hmmm...I'll go alo... (Below threshold)
Rodney G. Graves:


I'll go along with the case for Polk as my fifth choice.

[ edited by OP for writer's... (Below threshold)
Ernesto Gueverra's Ghost:

[ edited by OP for writer's inability to follow directions ]

Washington - he set the bar... (Below threshold)

Washington - he set the bar for wisdom and probity in office.

Polk for various reasons, not the least of which is that he is an ancestor of mine and I am as undistinguished as he was distinguished!

Truman - for being indelibly and unapologetically his own authentic self!

Reagan - a "positive" man who knew who he was in indelible accuracy. He had some 4 or 5 things that were important to him and he accomplished all of them by staying focused.

George W. Bush - most underrated president who showed courage and resolve in the discharge of his duties, despite the foul things that were written and said and broadcast about him. He truly loves this country and that devotion showed in everything he did. History will show that he was one of our greatest.

George Washington-He set th... (Below threshold)

George Washington-He set the gold standard of the office of the presidency. He had no precedence to go by and he also did not want to act like a king or have a title.

Abraham Lincoln-Worked very hard to ease the slave debate but when it came to crunch time, he went with the right thing to do. It was long and bloody, but he prevailed.

Teddy Roosevelt-Understood how wonderful and beautiful this country of ours is so he set aside millions of acres so future generations can enjoy the openess of the space.

Ronald Reagan-He inspired the country to be better then we were. He raised our pride and confidence. He understood communism is evil and kept focused on the defeat of its growth.

GW Bush-He faced a similar challenge as George Washington. When the terrorists attacked us, there was no playbook or precedence he could turn to. He and his team needed to act, create and execute a plan that would protect us. He did that. An amazing man. ww

[ off focus - removed - DJ ... (Below threshold)
Ioseb Jughashvili's Ghost:

[ off focus - removed - DJ ]

[ edited to remove negative... (Below threshold)
Ernesto Gueverra's Ghost:

[ edited to remove negative comments - DJ]

George Washington - the ind... (Below threshold)

George Washington - the indispensable man and the one regarded by all the other founding fathers as the best of them all, and they were a pretty good crop. Did it all with the home-schooled equivalent of a 6th grade education.

Abe Lincoln - Held the country together in its worst crisis since the Revolutionary War. Spent a lot of his time and energy looking for a commanding general with the leadership of GW. Never went to college, but could out-think and out-debate anyone who ever did.

Ronald Reagan - Restored American Exceptionalism, defeated the communist menace without firing a shot, started an economic recovery that lasted 25 years, squashed communist expansionism in the Western Hemisphere, enforced the law prohibiting strikes against the people by the people's employees, changed the Fed pension system from defined benefits to defined contributions. The guy was way ahead of his time, wasn't he?

James Polk - Most underestimated president in our history. Expanded the USA more than anyone since Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase.

Dwight Eisenhower - The interstate highway system did more to change America than the ubiquitous RR construction following the Civil War. He enforced the desegregation of school systems nationwide, which accelerated the success of the Civil Rights movement, and proposed Civil Rights legislation that anticipated the Civil Rights Act of LBJ, ended an unpopular land war in Asia, and contained Soviet expansionism when it was still a dynamic and vital international force.

John Adams. One of the more... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

John Adams. One of the more underrated Fathers.

Thomas Jefferson. Two words: Louisiana Purchase. Few can hold a candle to his jaw-dropping intellect.

Abraham Lincoln. Saved the nation; ended the abomination of slavery.

George Washington. Believed government had to provide the infrastructure in order for the nation to flourish. Though i don't think he'd be enamored with it today.

Ronald Reagan. Financially strong armed the USSR out of existence and ended the Cold War. Brilliant negotiator who was able to get his programs through despite opposition in both houses.

Hmmm...So I tabula... (Below threshold)
Rodney G. Graves:


So I tabulated the results. I gave each #1 vote 16pts, each #2 8pts, each
#3 4pts, each #2 2pts, and each number 5 1pt.

George Washington 226
Abraham Lincoln 127
Ronald Reagan 52
Theodore Roosevelt 30
Franklin Roosevelt 29

James K. Polk 26
Thomas Jefferson 23
Hussein Obama 20
Woody Woo 16
John Adams 16
Dhimmy Carter 9
Eisenhower 8
Silent Cal Coolidge 6
George W. Bush 5
Herbert Hoover 4
Lewinski's Beau 2
Taft 2
Grover Cleveland 2

Ranked by best average annu... (Below threshold)

Ranked by best average annual GDP growth rate (adjusted for inflation since 1929)


ReaganLincoln... (Below threshold)


Reagan for rescuing us from malaise and seeing evil where evil was -- the Soviet Union.

Lincoln for taking the nation to war to protect the rights of all Americans and keeping our nation together.

Truman for his decisiveness in stopping the Soviet inspired invasion of S Korea and his decision to use the A-bomb against the Japanese.

Jefferson for rebuilding our navy (pre-President) and committing it to wiping out the Barbary Pirates during his term.

FDR for building an awesome team of highly competent individuals to run our WWII efforts.

1. George Washington. Led t... (Below threshold)

1. George Washington. Led the American Continental Army to victory over the British in the Revolutionary War, presided over the writing of the Constitution, unanimous choice to serve as the first POTUS. He developed the forms and rituals of government that have been used ever since, such as using a cabinet system and delivering an inaugural address. Universally acclaimed as the Father of His Country.

2. Thomas Jefferson. Author of the Declaration of Independence. Governor of Virginia during the Revolution. First Secretary of State. Elected in the House of Representatives on the 36th ballot. As President, Purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, and commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Established USMA at West Point.

3. Abraham Lincoln. Held the Union together. Signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Placed Mayor of Baltimore and Maryland legislators under house arrest and suspended writ of habeas corpus. (Not intended as negative - tough times called for tough measures to ensure the survival of Constitutional government.)

4. Ronald Reagan. Brought America out of the "malaise" of a stagnant economy and runaway inflation. His optimism and confidence inspired economic growth. His articulation of basic principals of freedom and liberty enhanced America's standing on the global stage. The triumverate of Mr. Reagan, Mrs. Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II shattered the Iron Curtain.

5. George W. Bush. For all of the reasons stated above. I'd add that he was probably the most vilified President since Lincoln.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy