Monday, February 19, 2024

Presidential greatness is in the eye of the beholder, apparently

The latest Presidential Greatness Project Expert Survey puts Donald Trump very firmly in last place, which of course has the right-wing press apoplectic.

It's a perfectly academic exercise,  featuring a poll of 154 "presidential scholars" (current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Assocation, i.e. scholars, academics, historians - not politicians) ranking all the American presidents from George Washington onwards, according to their perceived "greatness" on a scale of 1 to 100.

Top of the pack this year, as in previous polls, is Abraham Lincoln, with a ranking of 93.87, followed by FD Roosevelt, George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. The most recent high-flyer is Barack Obama at No. 7 with a ranking of 73.8.

Down at the bottom of the ranking are a bunch of presidents I have rarely ever heard of: Harrison (26.01), Pierce,(24.6), Johnson (21.56), Buchanan (16.71), and there, right at the bottom, No. 45 out of 45, we find Donald Trump with a ranking of ... 10.92. Just to add insult to injury, Joe Biden is up there at a surprisingly middling-to-good No. 14, with a ranking of 62.66, above Ronald Reagan and barely below John F. Kennedy.

The conservative press, of course, assumes that this is a purely politically-motivated piece of left-wing propaganda. It seems to be beyond them to believe that this is anyone's objective opinion. Fox News slams the "ivory tower elites" and calls the poll a "highly questionable ranking", concluding that "this is infuriating in so many ways!", and finally, definitively, "this list is bogus".. Well, that'll show those ivory tower pinkos.

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