C-Span's new Presidential rankings; Lincoln first, Bush not last

Rick Moran
This is not "Presidents Day." Anyone who tells you that is an ignoramus. Today we are celebrating George Washington's Birthday and a happy birthday to our founding father too.

But everyone calls it "Presidents Day" anyway so any ranting I might feel like doing would be in vain.

That said, in honor of George Washington (yeah, right) C-Span has collected the opinions of 65 bona fide historians that rank our presidents in order of greatness.

That's a fairly large size sample so averaging out the results is probably as good as you can get as far as an accurate snapshot of who the academy thinks were giants and who they think are clowns.

C-Span carried out a similar survey in 2000 so it is interesting to see which presidents came up in the profs estimation and who fell back.

No surprise: Abe Lincoln tops the list. But there are indeed, surprises. FDR slips to #3 as George Washington, the man who invented the presidency, slides in to #2. Don't know if that's because FDR's halo is slipping a bit or whether Washington is just being acknowledged for his greatness (I would have put George first).

Kennedy moved up to 6 from 8. It is mystifying to me why he is ranked so high. Ditto Woodrow Wilson who actually dropped from 6 to 9. Kennedy got civil rights on the national agenda (after King and his followers shamed the government into doing something about Jim Crow) but it was Johnson who pushed it through. Wilson's attempt to involve the US in the post-war machinations of imperialistic European governments could have led to us being dragged into World War II in 1939. How's that for a counterfactual? The way I see it, both are ranked too high and belong somewhere in the high teens.

The Gipper moved to 10 from 11 back in 2000. Jefferson, Eisenhower, Truman, and TR fill out the rest of the top ten.

At the bottom, the man I point to when ever any idiot lefty shows their ignorance of American history by trying to tell me that Bush is THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER! James Buchanan did absolutely nothing to prevent the civil war and probably hastened things along when he didn't even bother to react when South Carolina seceded immediately after the election of Lincoln. He comes in at 42. George Bush hit the bottom 10, coming in at 36.

Close behind at 41 is Andrew Johnson who was the only president besides Clinton to be impeached (Clinton moved up from 21 to 15).

Does this tell us anything useful? Not really, although it gets us thinking about what makes a great president and what makes a bad one.


This is not "Presidents Day." Anyone who tells you that is an ignoramus. Today we are celebrating George Washington's Birthday and a happy birthday to our founding father too.

But everyone calls it "Presidents Day" anyway so any ranting I might feel like doing would be in vain.

That said, in honor of George Washington (yeah, right) C-Span has collected the opinions of 65 bona fide historians that rank our presidents in order of greatness.

That's a fairly large size sample so averaging out the results is probably as good as you can get as far as an accurate snapshot of who the academy thinks were giants and who they think are clowns.

C-Span carried out a similar survey in 2000 so it is interesting to see which presidents came up in the profs estimation and who fell back.

No surprise: Abe Lincoln tops the list. But there are indeed, surprises. FDR slips to #3 as George Washington, the man who invented the presidency, slides in to #2. Don't know if that's because FDR's halo is slipping a bit or whether Washington is just being acknowledged for his greatness (I would have put George first).

Kennedy moved up to 6 from 8. It is mystifying to me why he is ranked so high. Ditto Woodrow Wilson who actually dropped from 6 to 9. Kennedy got civil rights on the national agenda (after King and his followers shamed the government into doing something about Jim Crow) but it was Johnson who pushed it through. Wilson's attempt to involve the US in the post-war machinations of imperialistic European governments could have led to us being dragged into World War II in 1939. How's that for a counterfactual? The way I see it, both are ranked too high and belong somewhere in the high teens.

The Gipper moved to 10 from 11 back in 2000. Jefferson, Eisenhower, Truman, and TR fill out the rest of the top ten.

At the bottom, the man I point to when ever any idiot lefty shows their ignorance of American history by trying to tell me that Bush is THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER! James Buchanan did absolutely nothing to prevent the civil war and probably hastened things along when he didn't even bother to react when South Carolina seceded immediately after the election of Lincoln. He comes in at 42. George Bush hit the bottom 10, coming in at 36.

Close behind at 41 is Andrew Johnson who was the only president besides Clinton to be impeached (Clinton moved up from 21 to 15).

Does this tell us anything useful? Not really, although it gets us thinking about what makes a great president and what makes a bad one.