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02.17.08

Best Presidents In History - 2008 Harris Poll

Harris Interactive conducted an online poll within the United States last month. They asked over 2000 adults: Which one of the following presidents do you think was the best overall president in our history?

The list included all presidents since Franklin Roosevelt, along with some of the more famous from earlier in American history – George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge.

Scores were tallied by adding the percentage of those who answered “best” and “second best” for each president. Among modern leaders, Ronald Reagan ranked highest, but even his cache could not compete with the mighty Abe Lincoln, who was named the top president by 20 percent of those surveyed.

Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, who is at the center of this rare photo, delivers his inaugural address from the Capitol's east portico.
Here are the results:
  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. Ronald Reagan
  3. Franklin Roosevelt
  4. John Kennedy
  5. George Washington
  6. Bill Clinton
  7. Thomas Jefferson
  8. Harry Truman
  9. Theodore Roosevelt
  10. George W. Bush
  11. Dwight Eisenhower
  12. Jimmy Carter
  13. Richard Nixon
  14. George H.W. Bush
  15. Lyndon Johnson
  16. Gerald Ford
  17. John Adams
  18. Andrew Jackson
  19. Woodrow Wilson
  20. Calvin Coolidge

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:02 AM
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Ronald Reagan?

What did he provide?

Iran/Contra.

Social Insecurity.

Instead of a War on Poverty he made war on the Poor.

Was this poll taken just of the Bush family???????

i am not a great historian but i know enough about history to know that james polk should at least be in the list of top 20 presidents

This list says a lot about what we look for in leaders:

Vision (Reagan, Kennedy)
Courage (Roosevelt, Lincoln)
Integrity (Washington, Truman)
Communicator (Clinton, Reagan)

I also think the passage of time allows us to better evaluate the leadership and accomplishments of our Presidents. I suspect that will be the case in how we evaluate Bush 43. And I suspect he will fare well in that evaluation.

This list says a lot about what we look for in leaders:

Vision (Reagan, Kennedy)
Courage (Roosevelt, Lincoln)
Integrity (Washington, Truman)
Communicator (Clinton, Reagan)

I also think the passage of time allows us to better evaluate the leadership and accomplishments of our Presidents. I suspect that will be the case in how we evaluate Bush 43. And I suspect he will fare well in that evaluation.

I am not going to believe ANYTHING ever again from a Harris Poll. It is obviously not a scientific poll if George W. Bush is ranked anywhere above the bottom third.

How is it that George Washington is #5? That's ridiculous. And Roosevelt is number three? All he did was institute a bunch of worthless government programs. He wasn't even the one to get us out of the depression; it was the war. As for Bill Clinton, that's a joke. It wasn't even thanks to him that the economy was so good back then. It was Bush Sr.'s tax cuts taking effect finally.

Either the results of this poll were largely fabricated, or adults are simply ignorant.

Surprising.

My top Presidents would have to be:

1. Abraham Lincoln
2. FDR
3. Teddy Roosevelt
4. Harry Truman
5. George Washington
6. Andrew Jackson
7. Ronald Reagan
8. Lyndon Johnson
9. John Kennedy
10. Dwight Eisenhower

I looked at the historians list a few days ago. They are similar in only 2 ways. Abe Lincoln is first in both. Secondly, obvious (and I mean obvious) incompetent leaders, or those whose administrations showed mass corruption did not make either list.

I don't see it as any surprise that President Obama admires and strives for the position of Abe Lincoln. This in itself is admirable.

My dad was from Missouri and thought Harry Truman was great. To me Harry shares more similarities with the background of President Obama. He came from a corrupt political system, but as far as anyone could tell he was clean. Harry Truman made a name for himself in the Senate when he exposed corruption of government contractors. Outcomes were by no means certain, and Harry's oversight of cost management may have been as important as presidential leadership.

I admire Abe Lincoln immensely. Second on my list is Theodore Roosevelt. Both men had vision. Sometimes we forget that Lincoln's arguments against slavery were built in what he saw as a founding vision for the nation. Sometimes we forget that Teddy 's vision for a strong country included business regulation, fairness and environmentalism, as well as a show of strength.

President is a special job. It has great power. But more than any position, its yardstick is "Did he serve his country well?". Some men are incapable. Others do not try hard enough. Others do not understand until well into their presidency. The true leader is not without mistakes, but has an emancipating vision, and keeps working until it is achieved.

I like to compare presidents as much as anyone. But past presidents work is done. It is the presidents under which we live that affect us. We suffer under poor management and vision. We are blessed by the great ones.

The epic battles are best fought under leaders that inspire us to be better.

President Obama has a sense of that, but he has a long way to go.

I've seen a lot of criticism about George Bush. But what about Calvin Coolidge? Really?

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