History in the making; or, Bush: he’s no FDR.
A group of scholars (200+) at the Siena institute publish every five years a list of “best” and “worst” presidents, according to their scores in domains such as imagination, integrity, foreign policy accomplishments, handling of the economy, and ability to compromise to be effective. The list has been dominated since its inception by the same figures at the top: FDR, Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt.
Over two hundred presidential scholars ranked the 43 U.S. Presidents on six personal attributes (background, imagination, integrity, intelligence, luck and willingness to take risks), five forms of ability (compromising, executive, leadership, communication and overall) and eight areas of accomplishment
including economic, other domestic affairs, working with Congress and their party, appointing supreme court justices and members of the executive branch, avoiding mistakes and foreign policy.
“In nearly thirty years, the same five presidents have occupied the first five places with only slight shuffling. Despite decades of new research on former presidents and the accomplishments or lack thereof of the current chief executives, scholars display amazingly consistent results,” according to Dr. Douglas Lonnstrom, Professor of statistics at Siena College and one of the study’s directors.
And here’s the big news. According to the polled results of over two-hundred presidential scholars, W. Bush ranks among the last five overall. He has joined the ranks of such gems as Johnson, Buchanan, Harding, and Pierce as one of the worst presidents in American history.
George W. Bush, had entered the survey at 23rd when the study was last
conducted one year into his first term. Today, just one year after leaving office, the former president has found himself in the bottom five at 39th rated especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence. Rounding out the bottom five are four presidents that have held that dubious distinction each time the survey has been conducted: Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin Pierce. Andrew Johnson leads the ‘worst ever’ in both abilities and accomplishments finishing below both Buchanan and Harding, but Harding tops the worst in personal attributes including integrity where he finishes just slightly ahead of Richard M. Nixon.