I was asked today by a friend of mine who I thought the best and worse presidents since 1900 have been. I’m going to start with the best, then the worst.
The Good Ones:
1.) Calvin Coolidge 1923-28.
Most people don’t know much about “Silent Cal”, but he was one of the best and most conservative (If not the best) presidents in American history. He is probably the main cause for the period known as the roaring twenties, and I believe that the majority of the great depression was a result of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt’s reversals of his economic policies. He was a vocal advocate of de-regulating businesses and free market, downsizing the federal government, and low taxes. In fact he would do a lot of good for our country today.
2.) Ronald Reagan (1980-88)
Ronald Wilson Reagan was undoubtedly the most popular sitting president in recent history. His is an idol for conservatives, and even many liberals begrudgingly admit that he was one of the greats. Under President Reagan the economy skyrocketed. He undeniably was the greatest reason for the end of the cold war. Remember, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”. Reagan fought communism not only in the soviet union but in Grenada as well. His wit is of legend. My favorite quip was from the 1984 Presidential Election. Walter Mondale asked Reagan if age may be an issue in the election, to which Reagan said, “No. I will not exploit, for political purposes, your youth and inexperience.” Reagan won the election 525 to 13 electoral votes, the closest election since George Washington in 1792.
3. George W. Bush (2000-2008)
George W Bush is not a popular choice for third best president since 1900. But in my opinion, he is the only choice. I briefly considered Teddy Roosevelt. George W Bush proved to be an excellent leader, which in my opinion is the most important quality of a president. George W Bush was able to call a nation together in a time of catastrophe. Many democrats have claimed that the Patriot Act is one of the evils of the GW Bush admin. However, the Patriot Act was not his idea, but rather congress’s, and unlike Barack Obama, Bush used these powers sparingly. George Bush did not cause the downturn of ’08, Congress did, and Bush attempted to stop the downturn. History will not agree with me, but George Bush is one of the great ones in my mind.
Honorable Mention: Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Now the worst ones.
1.) Woodrow Wilson (1912-20)
If any one man had caused our current economic situation, it would be Woodrow Wilson. He was the champion of the Progressive Movement (America’s Wing of the Socialist Movement). He introduced the 16th amendment, allowing congress to collect income taxes. He once said that he found the idea from his friend Eugene Debs, 6 time socialist candidate for president. He also signed the Federal Reserve into existence, directly causing our inflation today.
2.) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1932-45)
If Big-Government-Socialism were a cult, FDR would be it’s god. His New Deal did not fix the great depression, in fact it made it worse. FDR was the first to really act on the principle of “tax-and-spend”. Roosevelt wanted to make income more equal through a heavy progressive tax system, but this made income even less equal. One of the most important new deal programs was the AAA, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, and the man FDR appointed to control this organization was Harold Ware, a marxist communist and member of the CPUSA. The national debt increased over 40% in FDR’s first year alone.
3.) Jimmy Carter (1976-80)
Jimmy Carter was a great person, an upstanding member of his community and his church, but he was in over his head. WAY over his head. He was an idealist, and this ideal inspired many. But it was soon obvious that Carter could not lead. Think the Iran Hostage situation. He was miserably defeated by Ronald Reagan, and almost lost the democratic nomination to Ted Kennedy.
Honorable Mention: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Herbert Hoover