Day: July 2, 2010

Further Analysis Of The Siena Research Institute Presidential Poll!

The Siena Research Institute Presidential Poll is based on 238 scholars participating.

They, as a group, rate the worst President consistently as either Andrew Johnson (in 2002 and 2010) or Warren G. Harding (1982, 1990, 1994)!

The others in the bottom five are consistently James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce, but with Ulysses S. Grant listed in this group the first three polls, Millard Fillmore in the fourth, and George W. Bush in the most recent poll!

The poll had 20 categories of assessment, and the unusual results for the top and bottom are mentioned as follows:

For Background, John Quincy Adams ranked second behind Thomas Jefferson!

For Integrity, Richard Nixon ranked last, with Warren G. Harding just ahead of him!

For Intelligence, James Madison ranked just behind Thomas Jefferson!

For Luck, Herbert Hoover ranked last, with William Henry Harrison (the one month President) just ahead of him!

For Willing To Take Risks, Herbert Hoover ranked just ahead of James Buchanan at the bottom!

For Avoiding Crucial Mistakes, Richard Nixon ranked last, just behind Andrew Johnson!

In Foreign Policy Accomplishments, James Monroe ranked second best, just behind Franklin D. Roosevelt! Meanwhile, Lyndon Johnson ranked last in this category, with George W. Bush just ahead of him!

For Handling of US Economy, Herbert Hoover was last with George W. Bush just above him!

For Party Leadership, Andrew Jackson ranked just behind Franklin D. Roosevelt at the top of the list, while John Tyler ranked just above Andrew Johnson at the bottom!

For Relationship with Congress, Lyndon Johnson was at the top, followed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, with John Tyler again just above Andrew Johnson at the bottom!

The other ten categories include: Imagination; Court Appointments; Domestic Accomplishments; Executive Appointments; Ability To Compromise; Communication Ability; Executive Ability; Leadership Ability; Overall Ability; and Present Overall View!

This new poll will cause a lot of debate and discussion, and the author welcomes contributions and commentary from his readers!

First Presidential Ratings Poll By Scholars Since Obama Presidency Began: Obama Rates 15th of 43!

Now in its 18th month, the Obama Presidency finally has made the Presidential rankings poll of accomplished scholars in History and Political Science!

The Siena Research Institute, located at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, has conducted polls five times now since 1982, each one including one more President than the previous polls.

Many conservatives will complain that the Siena polls are distorted to favor liberal, reform oriented Presidents. This has been a traditional reality in the field of History and Political Science, although there have been so called “conservative” oriented polls in recent years!

The top five Presidents have always been the same over the five polls in the past 28 years, although in somewhat different order!

Franklin D. Roosevelt has consistently been number one all five times, and in times as we are going through now, it is certainly not at all surprising, except for the fact that he surpasses Abraham Lincoln, who is traditionally number one in most polls of experts!

The next four Presidents are those on Mount Rushmore, with Lincoln being third, second, second, second, and third in the consecutive polls!

Thomas Jefferson is rated second, third, fifth, fifth, and fifth; while George Washington is rated fourth in all five polls!

Theodore Roosevelt has also gained over the years, as he moved from fifth and fifth in the first two polls, to third, third and now second behind his distant cousin!

Woodrow Wilson was a solid sixth for the first four polls, but slipped to eighth in the most recent survey!

Harry Truman was a consistent seventh in the first four polls, but fell to ninth in the last poll!

John F. Kennedy, always seemingly overrated by scholars, was eighth, tenth, and tenth, and then has fallen out of the top ten in the last two polls, to fourteenth and eleventh, respectively!

James Madison, arguably one of the greatest Founding Fathers, but usually termed as a mediocre President who could not keep us out of the War of 1812, is rated higher in the Siena polls than most other rankings, being ninth, eighth, ninth, ninth, and now sixth!

Four other Presidents made the top ten at some point in the Siena polls over the years–John Adams was tenth in 1982; Andrew Jackson was ninth in 1990; Dwight D. Eisenhower was eighth, tenth, and tenth in 1994, 2002, and 2010; and James Monroe was eighth and sixth in the 2002 and 2010 surveys!

Among Presidents since Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson ranks 14, 15, 13, 15, and 16; Richard Nixon rates 28, 25, 23, 26 and 30; Gerald Ford ends up 23, 27, 32, 28, and 28; Jimmy Carter ranks 33, 24, 25, 25 and 32; Ronald Reagan rates 16, 22, 20, 16, and 18; George H. W. Bush ranks 18, 31, 22, and 22; Bill Clinton rates 18 and 13; and George W. Bush ranks 23 and 39!

And Barack Obama reaches number 15, a great start for a President faced with crises not matched since Franklin D. Roosevelt!

To put Obama in the top third (almost, as 14.33 is one third of 43) seems to me very fair, and bodes well for his future ranking, despite many Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Party Movement people who will, of course, condemn these rankings!

Further discussion of these Presidential rankings will follow this entry!

Barack Obama And Immigration Reform: Time For Action!

President Obama has finally given the speech on immigration that he should have given much sooner!

Obama’ speech hailed the importance of immigration in American history, and the contributions that immigrants have made to our development and success!

He also said what many seem to have forgotten: that America is a land shaped by immigration, and that we are all immigrants, other than native Americans!

He called upon Republicans who had supported immigration reform under President George W. Bush to stop playing politics and back necessary reform now!

He emphasized the need for illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows; pay fines and taxes; learn English; and get in line to become citizens but wait till it is their time, rather than expect to become naturalized before those who came legally!

What is clear that there must be more efforts to protect our borders to the South, and that while we cannot deport 11-12 million illegal immigrants ( a totally impractical matter), we must concentrate on ridding our country of those undocumented people who have committed crimes, are involved in drug dealing, or are members of gangs!

We should not have illegal immigrants facing situations such as having parents sent back without their minor children; having parents forced out while their adult children serve in our military; having them being afraid of being stopped while shopping or driving and faced with immediate detention; being victimized by employers who refuse to pay them a living wage; being harassed by state or local governments based on racial and ethnic profliling and stereotyping; and having politicians exploit the issue of illegal immigration by sowing hate and division!

Where is the former John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and other GOP senators who were courageous enough to defy the conservative think tanks and media and show understanding and principle on this topic?

It is time for a push for immigration reform, and for the demagoguery and discriminatory legislation that has been endemic, to cease! 🙁

Michael Steele Shocks His Party And The Nation On Afghanistan War!

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele has been a very controversial leader of his party, constantly stirring the pot with his statements against the Obama Administration, and also embarrassing himself and others with his commentary on all kinds of issues!

But now, he has really SHOCKED the party and the nation with his statement that the Afghanistan War cannot be won; that it was a war of choice on the part of President Obama; and that history tells us that no one has been able to conquer Afghanistan over the long haul of history!

All of the above are points that the author absolutely agrees with, and has been making the case for, on this blog! Steele is, for once, absolutely correct!

It is nice to see Michael Steele making such a statement, but it already seems clear that he may be somewhat backtracking on it, but possibly too late, as conservative Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard and Fox News Channel has called for his resignation as RNC chair!

But the fact that Steele has gone ahead and made this statement should lead to a reassessment of the historical realities that he so well presents! We lost more soldiers last month than any other in the nine year war, and foreign allies in NATO are also losing more heavily, and with little progress to show for the sacrifices!

There are other ways to fight terrorism than committing our young men and women to an interminable war with no substantial possibility of success over the next few years, if not decades!

Barack Obama is an intelligent, insightful man! It will take courage and principle for him to fight for the end of US involvement on the ground in Afghanistan, but it is an excellent way to cut down the deficit, which so monopolizes political debate in this country, and to address the domestic needs we face!

So this controversy should be seen as an opportunity for a renewed debate about the future of our foreign policy, which is causing a massive debt problem that will burden our children and grandchildren, without any likelihood of any substantial progress!