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July 03, 2010

Obama #15? No Way!

I've debated whether or not I really wanted to make any sort of observation about the recent Siena survey of history profs in which Obama ranked #15. After all, my contempt for Obama is such that I'm probably not the best guy to evaluate his presidency right now. But then again, that is precisely my point -- right now, none of us are really in a position to fairly and accurately evaluate his presidency in an objective manner.

I've long argued that it is not fair to even include a president in such rankings for at least 15-20 years after his term in office is up. As such, I believe we cannot even rank Bill Clinton fairly, much less Obama or George W. Bush. Indeed, I believe we are only now getting to the point where we can rank George H. W. Bush in something of a dispassionate light, although his son't later presidency does tend to make doing so more difficult for many partisans on both sides of the aisle.

And in the case of Barack Obama, one cannot make a fair evaluation of him after little more than 1/3 of a single term in office, much less legitimately place him on the doorstep of the top 1/3 of American presidents. There is too much we do not know about him and his policies, too much about their medium and long term effects, to really evaluate whether of not they had the desired effect or whether they were in fact deleterious in their impact.

Think about it for just a minute. The economy remains in the tank, and even appears to be sliding backwards in terms of any recovery we may have briefly seen. Militarily, we've just come off of the highest death toll in Afghanistan during the entire war, and the commanding general had to be relieved because Obama was unable to command the respect of a military officer he appointed and who had voted for for him in the presidential election. Yes, health care legislation passed, but it is unpopular with the American people and is in large part not scheduled to go into effect until 2014. If current polling data proves accurate, it is probable that his party will go down to an ignominious defeat in the midterm election. His own liberal coalition is turning against him for having failed to be liberal enough for their tastes. Yes, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, but that award is seen as a joke by most folks given that he had no deeds to his credit to justify winning it in the first place. At this point, the signs point towards Obama being a failure, not a success. But then again, I making these assessments in the midst of his administration, as an admitted partisan.

And that is the point -- a president's place in history is like fine wine or vintage champagne, not fast food. I can still remember the funeral of Harry Truman shortly before my 10th birthday, and the commentators noting that his presidency was not looked upon highly by Americans at the time or in the years leading up to his death. Where does Truman rate now? Top 10, along with the equally disdained-in-the-wake-of-his-presidency Dwight Eisenhower. What happened? Temporal distance allowed for historical objectivity to develop and appropriate reevaluations to be made. I believe that we will see something similar with regards to Clinton, Dubya, and Obama -- and I suspect that time will not be so kind to Clinton or Obama, while showing Bush 43 to be a better president than partisans, polemicists, and professors now give him credit.





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All valid comments, though as to Bush's place in history, I think it is quite dependant on whether partisan left wing history prof's still dominate academia 20 years hence. You can see the same thing occuring in Britain, where Britain's history professors named as the finest Prime Minister of History . . . . (drum roll please) . . . Clement Attlee. Yes, Attlee, whose sole claim to fame is that, after WWII, he took Britain firmly into the socialist camp, complete with governmnet ownership of most major industries, was listed as the best. And that at a time long after his socialist experiment proved to be an economic failure and was repudiated by the Labour Party. Winston Churchill, the man who gets my vote as the greatest historical figure of the 20th century, the man who had the prescience to argue circa 1918 that Britain needed to join in the White Revolution against Lenin's communists, who in the 1930's argued that Britain should have kept the Sauds and Wahhabists from conquering Arabia, and in the 1930's councilled preemptive action to topple Hitler . . . . he came in second to Clement Attlee. Utterly ridiculous. As is Sienna survey.

|| Posted by GW, July 7, 2010 08:04 PM ||

I'm not so shy -- I'll already place a BET that he will wind up the worst PotUS in US History, with a legacy of failure and incompetence in both Foreign and Domestic policy to rival and even surpass that of the former worst, Jimmy Carter. I predicted that when Big 0 got the Dem nomination, and I have seen nothing whatsoever -- to make me question the prediction in any way, shape, or form... there is not one iota of doubt in my mind where any rational person (hence excluding 95% of all currently tenured history prof) would place The 0 in 30 years time.

Bill Clinton ranked poorly because he was amoral scum who shamed the office, but he did manage to at least get certain parts of it right.

|| Posted by O Bloody Hell, July 8, 2010 01:03 PM ||

I have serious reservations that our fellow citizens will wake up and realize that they have, w elected a man who is frankly corrupt and incompetent. My concern is that our people will reelect Obama and maintain the democratic majority in the senate and house. 56% of the women in this country voted for this man-I just don't understand what they were thinking. I hope my fears are unfounded but I just don't have confidence in the american people and I believe
regrettably that we will follow Spain, Greece and Venezuela and we will lose our country.And in the end we have only ourselves to blame for such stupidity.

|| Posted by David, July 9, 2010 08:07 AM ||

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|| Posted by Phyllisdow, March 1, 2017 12:25 AM ||
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