The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey of 91 scholars of the American Presidency did true justice by naming Barack Obama the 12th Greatest President.
This is the highest first ranking of a newly retired President since Ronald Reagan in 1989, before there were C Span polls, but instead other polls existed, although not as organized and prestigious as C Span has now done three times–in 2000, 2009, and now 2017.
Obama was only 15 points behind Woodrow Wilson, and only 18 points behind Lyndon B. Johnson, often seen as the third and second, respectively, most accomplished Democratic President, particularly in domestic policy. And Obama was only 23 points behind Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon.
At the same time, Obama is 23 points ahead of James Monroe of the “Era of Good Feelings”; 31 points ahead of James K. Polk, who acquired so much territory in one term of office; and 35 points ahead of his major living competition, Bill Clinton.
Based on the stellar performance of Obama in the first competition, it seems likely he will move up to the top ten the next time this poll is done, or certainly at the least pass Wilson as a minimum, an interesting thought considering Wilson’s sad racial prejudices, despite his being the only earned Ph. D. President.
If Obama had been fortunate enough to have a Democratic Congress regularly, as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson had in their times, his ranking on “Relations with Congress”, rated 39th, would have been much higher, and he would already be in the Top Ten Presidents. Only Franklin Pierce, John Tyler, James Buchanan, and Andrew Johnson rank lower, which seems rather ridiculous in retrospect.
As it is, Obama rated 3rd in “Pursued Equal Justice For All”; 7th in “Moral Authority”;, 8th in “Economic Management”; 10th In “Public Persuasion”; 12th in “Vision:Setting An Agenda”; 15th in “Crisis Leadership” and “Performance Within Context of Time”; and 19th in “Administrative Skills”. In “International Relations”, much of it still unresolved on effect, Obama ranked 24th.
It seems clear that Obama will look even better in the long run, despite the racism, hatred, prejudice, and total obstructionism of the Republican Party and its leadership, which will pay for it in historical memory in the long haul, when these kinds of traits do not improve one’s historical standing!