John F. Kennedy

The Smartest Presidents Based On Intellect, Not Success!

Being smart, being intelligent, being brilliant is something that in no way guarantees success, but can be noticed for what it is, and we have had our share of Presidents who have been among the brightest public figures we have been blessed with.

Chronologically, this select list would include:

John Adams (1797-1801)
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
James Madison (1809-1817)
John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
James A. Garfield (1881)
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

Notice that only three or four of these Presidents are seen as having been successful, including Jefferson, Roosevelt, Wilson and Clinton.

Notice that Hoover, Nixon, and Carter are seen by many as failures or certainly as being in the bottom half of the Presidents.

The two Adamses and Madison are saved by their other massive accomplishments, so are rated in the second ten of our Presidents by most historians.

Garfield, considered the most brilliant between the second Adams and TR is the great unknown, being shot after four months in office and dying after six and a half months in office, but believed to be brilliant and an unknown factor as to his potential for greatness.

Notice that George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy, all rated very high in rankings of Presidents, do not qualify on intellect or pure brilliance, and yet some, particularly Lincoln, FDR, and Kennedy have long been highly honored and respected, despite not fitting the definition of being part of the most brilliant intellects we have had in the Presidency!

American Presidents And Wealth Estimates In 2015!

An update on the net worth of America’s Presidents, their total wealth at time of death, or for the living Presidents, what it is as of 2015, including inflation as a factor, reveals the following:

John F. Kennedy was the wealthiest President, worth within the range of $125 million to possibly $1 billion!

Due to this uncertain range, George Washington might be the wealthiest at $525 million.

The other Presidents over $100 million in net worth are:

Thomas Jefferson $212 million

Theodore Roosevelt $125 million

Andrew Jackson $119 million

James Madison $101 million

Five Presidents over $50 million up to $98 million include:

Lyndon B. Johnson $98 million

Herbert Hoover $75 million

Franklin D. Roosevelt $60 million

Bill Clinton $55 million

John Tyler $51 million

The next six Presidents are worth between $20 million and $27 million, as follows:

James Monroe $27 million

Martin Van Buren $26 million

Grover Cleveland $25 million

George H. W. Bush $23 million

John Quincy Adams $21 million

George W. Bush $20 million

The next five Presidents are worth $10 million to $19 million, as follows:

John Adams $19 million

Richard Nixon $15 million

Ronald Reagan $13 million

Barack Obama $12 million

James K. Polk $10 million

The next ten Presidents are worth between $2 million and $8 million, as follows:

Dwight D. Eisenhower $8 million

Gerald Ford $7 million

Jimmy Carter $7 million

Zachary Taylor $6 million

William Henry Harrison $5 million

Benjamin Harrison $5 million

Millard Fillmore $4 million

Rutherford Hayes $3 million

William Howard Taft $3 million

Franklin Pierce $2 million

The remaining 11 Presidents are worth between under $1 million up to less than $2 million, in the following order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan onward are each worth less than $1 million downward, with Truman the poorest.

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Many of the early Presidents were landowners and slave owners, and were, therefore, extremely wealthy.

The Presidents of the middle and late 19th century were mostly quite poor, including those who were military generals.

Presidents since 1929 have been generally much wealthier in most cases.

Many Presidents in modern times have become wealthy through speeches and writings.

Bill Clinton has the potential to become of the wealthiest Presidents in American history as time goes by, and more so, if his wife, Hillary Clinton, becomes President! The long term potential for Barack Obama is also for great wealth over his lifetime, leaving office at age 55!

The Most Overrated and Underrated Presidents, According To The American Political Science Association Presidential Poll

Further study of the American Political Science Association Presidential poll of 2014 reveals the following:

The most overrated Presidents are John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Andrew Jackson.

The most underrated Presidents are Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, and Harry Truman.

These consensus judgments seem legitimate, as this author thinks those listed are an accurate assessment.

However, also underrated, and not even making the top 24 Presidents, with a 50 percent rating or above as deserving to be on the list of significant Presidents is Jimmy Carter.

Additionally, Lyndon B. Johnson will, over time, make it to the top ten, above Eisenhower and Bill Clinton, both of whom seem higher than they should be, and also above Jackson.

If any Presidents were to be added to Mount Rushmore, it is clear that Franklin D. Roosevelt is easily the most deserving, and really, no one else qualifies on legitimate grounds, even though there are supporters of Kennedy, Reagan and Eisenhower to join him, if there were additions made, which is, realistically, not going to happen!

American Political Science Association Presidential Poll Substantially Different Than 2009 C Span Poll

It has been nearly six years since the last C Span poll on Rating Presidents took place in 2009, and now we have the American Political Science Association Poll of 162 Professors, scored late in 2014, and the differences between the two polls is startling.

First, the number of Presidential experts questioned is two and a half times as many now than in 2009.

But more than that difference is the ranking of many on the list, as for instance:

John F. Kennedy fell from 6th place to 14th place.

Andrew Jackson went from a tie for 12th place up to 9th place.

Dwight D. Eisenhower reached the highest he has ever been polled, up to 7th place.

Bill Clinton shot up from 15th place to 8th place.

Harry Truman fell to 6th place from 5th place, and Thomas Jefferson went from 6th place to 5th place.

Woodrow Wilson fell from 9th place to 10th place.

Barack Obama, not part of the 2009 poll, but ranked in 15th place in an early poll in 2011, ended up in 18th place.

James Madison (13th) moved ahead of James Monroe (17th) in the ranking, which seems odd when one looks at their Presidencies, with Monroe being 14th and Madison 20th in the C Span poll.

James K. Polk slipped from tied for 12th to 19th, which seems really strange.

Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson slipped one each, from 10th and 11th places, to 11th and 12th places.

This author disagrees greatly with this poll in many ways, including:

Kennedy being dropped eight places seems acceptable, except that to put Jackson, Clinton, and Madison ahead of him seems not very sensible.

Jackson is back in the top ten, but it seems wrong to move him up.

Clinton being in the top ten may help Hillary Clinton, but realistically, this author thinks he is much too high, and will eventually slip out of the top ten back to mid teens where he was. He has risen fast, being 21st in the 2000 C Span Poll and 15th in the 2009 poll.

Truman should have remained ahead of Jefferson, and in fact, should be moved up to 4th ahead of Theodore Roosevelt and Jefferson, due to his crisis leadership, and will end up there in time in this author’s belief.

Wilson has been slipping constantly, from 6th in 2000 to 9th in 2009 to 10th now, but this author would put him a bit higher and ahead of Jackson, Clinton, and Eisenhower.

Obama slipped from an early 2011 poll of 15th down to 18th, but this author would put him back at about 13th, ahead of Jackson, Madison, and Monroe.

Madison being ahead of Monroe seems ridiculous for his Presidency, although Madison was a great man, but not very successful as President.

Polk being an “imperialist” is a negative image to many, but no one term President was as successful, and he should not end up behind many of those ahead of him, and should remain about 12th or 13th.

Reagan and Johnson dropping one position each is not a big difference, but this author would put Johnson ahead of Reagan.

The debate on ranking Presidents will go on, but these are my thoughts on the topic, and I welcome commentary and analysis on this issue of ranking Presidents in 2015!

New Presidential Poll Of Scholars Of Political Science Changes Rankings Substantially, And Puts Barack Obama 18th!

A 2014 poll of 162 Political Science scholars, members of the American Political Science Association, is the latest rankings of our 43 Presidents, and it is eye opening.

The top four are the standard four Presidents–Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and TR, no surprises there.

But then the debate begins, with Jefferson, Truman, Ike, Clinton, Jackson, and Wilson finishing out the top ten list.

Truman slips and Jefferson moves up, and Eisenhower reaches the highest he has ever been in a poll.

Andrew Jackson makes it back to the top ten, but should he be in the top ten, considering his entire record in office?

Wilson slips further, to the bottom of the top ten, having gained more critics in recent years on his civil rights and civil liberties record, major issues for Jackson as well, but to put Jackson above Wilson is odd.

But then, Bill Clinton number eight? Really? This is easily the highest Clinton has ever been, and most observers on the outside would think that he is way overrated, by putting him n the top ten.

Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson follow, both being knocked down a peg from earlier rankings, and then, inexplicably, James Madison ends up 13th, even though his Presidency was far from great, although he was a great man!

Kennedy being rated fourteenth brings him down to a reasonable perch, after having, crazily, been listed as high as sixth in the C Span poll of 2009.

The next four are John Adams, Monroe, George H. W. Bush, and then Barack Obama. How Madison ended up above Monroe is hard to fathom. Bush Senior seems in a fair place, a bit higher than before, and John Adams seems about the right spot.

But Obama, in midstream in 18th place? Recently, he had been ranked 15th, and it seems to this blogger that he should NOT be knocked down, and might be worthy of being above Adams, Monroe and Bush Sr.

The next six, all still above 50 percent in rating are, in order, Polk, Taft, McKinley, JQ Adams, Cleveland, and Ford. It seems to many that Polk and McKinley might be rated higher, while the rest of this group seem in the proper places on the list.

Notice that Jimmy Carter is not in the top 24, which seems surprising, as one would think he would rank near the bottom of this list of 24, but his rating is, apparently, below 50 percent support, the reason he is not rated higher.

And notice neither Nixon nor Bush Jr have any real chance of making this list of 24, basically the top 60 percent of the 43 Presidents, and are unlikely to have a realistic chance of ever reaching that level!

Presidents Who Were Fortunate To Become President Since 1900!

Today is Presidents Day. There is a tendency to look back on the Presidency’s history, and assume that those who made it to the White House were a certainty, when the opposite is, actually, often the case!

Since 1900, many of our Presidents gained that office by pure luck and timing.

Theodore Roosevelt would never have been President if Vice President Garret Hobart, under President William McKinley, had not died in office in 1899, and therefore, not on the ticket with McKinley in 1900.

Woodrow Wilson would never have been President if the Republican Party had not split in 1912 between President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt, and if there had not been a two thirds rule for the Democratic nominee in place, preventing Speaker of the House Champ Clark from being the Democratic nominee for President.

Richard Nixon would never have been President if the Democratic Party had not divided over Vietnam in the mid 1960s, and if George Wallace would not have run as a third party candidate in 1968.

Gerald Ford would never have been President if Vice Spiro Agnew had not been caught in corruption, forcing his resignation in 1973, and if there was no 25th Amendment, providing for a replacement Vice President by appointment of the President and approval by a majority of both houses of Congress.

Jimmy Carter would never have been President if the Watergate Scandal had not occurred, disillusioning many Americans about their national government, and finding a state governor as an appealing alternative, with his image as an “outsider” who would always tell the truth.

Bill Clinton would never have been President if the economy had not declined as it did in 1992, and if Ross Perot had not run on a third party line in that election, undermining George H. W. Bush.

George W. Bush would never have been President if the Supreme Court had not intervened, a revolutionary action, to stop the vote recount in Florida in 2000, with the reality that Al Gore had more than a half million popular vote lead nationally, and yet would lose the Presidency because of that action by the Supreme Court.

This list also does not include Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson, all of whom would never have been President if Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy had not died in office.

Nixon, Bush Domination Of Republican Party 1952-2016: Unprecedented In American History!

It is truly amazing how two names–Nixon and Bush—have so dominated the Republican Party over the past two thirds of a century from 1952-2016.

If one had to bet right now on who the GOP Presidential nominee will be in 2016, it clearly would be Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida, who is raking up large amounts of money to win the funding race for the Republican Party.

Were that to happen, it would mark the SEVENTH time that a Bush family member was on the national ballot for the Republican Party since 1980—seven out of ten potential times—four times for George H. W. Bush, twice as Vice Presidential nominee, and twice as Presidential nominee—two times for his son George W. Bush, as Presidential nominee—and now Jeb as potential Presidential nominee in 2016.

Additionally, Richard Nixon was on the national ballot five times—twice as Vice Presidential nominee, and three times as Presidential nominee.

Only one other person, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt managed to be on the national ballot five times–as Vice Presidential nominee in 1920 and losing, and as Presidential nominee four times and winning in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944.

Remember that the Bush name has been triumphant each time till now, except 1992, and the Nixon name was triumphant also each time, except 1960. And one could argue that many observers think Nixon actually won in 1960, and that the John F. Kennedy victory was accomplished through fraud in Chicago by Mayor Richard J. Daley. And one could argue that George H. W. Bush would have won in 1992, had Ross Perot not been on the ballot as a strong third alternative to Bush and Bill Clinton.

So if Jeb Bush ends up as the GOP Presidential nominee in 2016, it would mean that a total of TWELVE times out of seventeen national elections had a Bush or Nixon on the national ballot. And imagine if he were to become President, and win two terms, as that would mean by the end of 2024, we would have EIGHT times that a Bush was on the national ballot, and a total of 32 years out of the last 44–talking about dominance! And behind Jeb is his son, George P. Bush of Texas, who was just elected Land Commissioner, and would be 48 by election time in 2024, and carries a famous name!

And the other five times—Barry Goldwater in 1964, Gerald Ford in 1976, Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012—–the Republicans lost the Presidency!

Presidents And Age: An Issue For 2016!

Historically, Americans have tended to vote for a President who is younger than his predecessor, sometimes dramatically so, as with John F. Kennedy after Dwight D. Eisenhower (27 years difference); as with Bill Clinton after George H. W. Bush (22 years difference); as with Barack Obama after George W. Bush (15 years difference); and as with Jimmy Carter after Gerald Ford (11 years difference).

In fact, only the following Presidents were older than their predecessors: William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan. And only W. H. Harrison, Taylor, Buchanan, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Reagan were five years or more older than their predecessors.

But now, in 2016, we are likely, almost certainly, to elect a President who will be substantially older than Barack Obama. This includes Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders,Jim Webb, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Mike Pence, Rick Snyder, Jon Huntsman and Mike Huckabee, a total of 16 potential candidates.

The odds of a younger President than Barack Obama are quite low, including Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Ted Cruz, a total of 8 potential candidates.

This oddity makes one wonder if the younger generation (under 45) will be as motivated to vote, as they are, naturally, attracted to comparative youth, as John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama represented, when they were elected, and with the extra appeal of being, respectively, the first Catholic (JFK); the first two Southern governors (Carter and Clinton); and the first African American (Obama).

Presidential Veto Useful Method For Presidents To Protect Their Goals And Agenda

President Barack Obama has only utilized the Presidential veto twice in six years in office, but now, when he makes it clear that he will use it to stop GOP attempts to destroy his legacy, there are outcries of dictatorship by the right wing.

But every President has used the veto power, and Obama has every right, constitutionally, to use this power that was put into the Constitution.

Remember that Presidents usually win veto battles, with history telling us that 96 percent of the time, the President’s veto is NOT overridden by a two thirds vote of the House of Representatives and of the US Senate.

Every modern President has used the veto liberally, as shown below:

Roosevelt– 635 Truman– 250 Eisenhower– 181 Kennedy– 21 Johnson—30 Nixon– 43 Ford– 66 Carter– 31 Reagan– 78 Bush I– 44 Clinton– 37 Bush II– 12

Many earlier Presidents also used the veto a lot–particularly Grover Cleveland with 584 in two nonconsecutive terms; Ulysses S. Grant with 93 in two terms; and Theodore Roosevelt with 82 in two term.

Many other Presidents, including Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover used the veto liberally!

Only Presidents in the early years never used the veto, and only a few have had a large number of vetoes overridden, including Andrew Johnson, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford in double digits with 15, 12 and 12 percent overridden.

So, Barack Obama, do what you wish, in the name of protecting your legacy, and doing what is good for the future of the nation, despite criticism!

Republicans Declare War On National Parks: Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, And Others Turning Over In Their Graves!

It is hard to conceive, but the 2015 Republican Party has declared war on America’s national park system, wishing to allow uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, and other kinds of natural resource exploitation in our national treasure, our public lands!

A bill has been introduced to prevent any future President, along with President Barack Obama, to create any more national parks, a bill which will gain the Presidential veto if it were to pass both houses!

Fortunately, there would be no possibility of a two thirds override of the Presidential veto, as any such banning of additional national parks would be a war on the environment, and a sin against nature!

This attack on nature and conservation would cause the turning over in their graves of President Theodore Roosevelt, National Forestry Service head Gifford Pinchot (under the TR Presidency), as well as a multitude of Republicans similar to those two party members, as well as Democrats, and all decent, caring citizens. It would also cause dismay among Presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, all who added greatly to our national parks.

Barack Obama is adding wide swaths of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to the national parks, even with opposition from Alaska politicians, including Senator Lisa Murkowksi, who is catering to the oil and gas interests over preserving the last great area of untouched nature.

This is yet another reason why no Republican can be allowed to be elected President, as with a Republican controlled Congress, we would be on the precipice of a disaster of massive proportions, and that cannot be allowed to occur!