It’s Your Fault:

(1) American-FlagRaise your hand because you must take the blame. Since you have been able to vote for the American president we have not had one who was ranked in the top. The last time a top seven president was elected was not during the time you were eligible to vote unless you were born before 1927 which leaves a minuscule minority who can escape blame. So what was it that so dumbed down the electorate that the presidents we began to elect were mired in mediocrity.

Did the 26th Amendment have anything to do with it? That passed in 1971. It gave those under 21 years of age down to 18 the right to vote for president. The first election after that gave us Carter (27), Reagan (17), Daddy Bush (23), Hill’s Billy (21), Baby Bush (34) and Obama  who is middling to muddling.(Numbers in parenthesis from aggregated poll). I’d guess that had some impact; the education and life experiences of those between 18 and 21 certainly are less than those above.

Plus, in 1971 it seemed the nation was running scared and was being pushed around by the “don’t trust anyone over 30” crowd which perhaps made us a little uncertain of our values. That group is now in their 60s and 70s has to take a major responsibility for the presidents that have been elected. So it’s fair to ask whether the results of the influence of the flower children also contributed to the poor showing of judgment when it came to picking our leaders. Did we turn from seeking a leader to wanting someone to cuddle with?

I know some are going to object to my use of the aggregate poll. There are polls out there of the person on the street but they usually give someone who was in office recently higher ratings because most of those interviewed probably have little idea of who was president before they were born. Most would probably think Woodrow Wilson was some type of automobile.

There is another poll that was done in 2013 that may be better. It was done by Nate Silver a statistician for the NY Times. It relies on the four more recent polls of American historians. It is more useful because it breaks down the rankings into those who served two terms, one term or less than a full term.

There are some who will point to the liberal bias that will be built into any poll conducted of historians. Those who support Ronald Reagan will be the most vocal in denouncing them. One, NC, puts Reagan and Hoover above Lincoln and the Roosevelts.

I’d have to suggest Silver’s grouping doesn’t show that bias. It has Reagan up to 10 which is a substantial gain over the aggregate’s poll’s 17.

There were 20 presidents who won a 2nd term. Their ranking by the historians would have them Lincoln (1), FDR (2), George Washington (3), Theodore Roosevelt (4), Thomas Jefferson (5), Harry Truman (6), Woodrow Wilson (7), Dwight Eisenhower (8), Ronald Reagan (10). JFK who is rated 9th did not get a chance for a second term.

Silver’s poll has the ranking of presidents since the flower children got the vote Nixon (29), Carter (26), Reagan (10), Bush I (22), Clinton (18), Bush II (38). Obama wasn’t ranked but you can rank him yourself.

Excluding Obama, there were the 19 men elected for a second term.  Since 1965 they rank as follows: Reagan 9 of 19; LBJ 10 of 19; Clinton 14 of 19, Nixon 18 of 19; and Bush II 19 of 19. That’s nothing to brag about.

What’s even worse, I’d suggest is that polls are predicting our next choice will be between the Hill/Billy combo that ranked 14 of 19; and the Bush Brothers team that during its last run ranked 19 of 19. It seems something is drastically wrong with a population that has been fishing at the bottom of the barrel to elect its president.

It would be nice to identify what the problem is with the American voter. Does this give us a clue? It is the gap between men and women voters. I found a chart that shows the difference in men and women votes for president since the 1980 elections. In 1980 both would have elected Reagan; women by 1% and men by 17% over Carter; in 1984 Reagan soundly defeated Mondale with women and men; in 1988, both gave George Bush the victory, women by 1% and men by 16% over Mike Dukakis.

Then in 1992 both gave Bill Clinton the victory over Bush, women by 7% and men by 3%; in 1996 there was a split: women gave Clinton a second term by 16% while men voted for Dole by 1%; in 2000, another split: women gave Gore 54% of their vote and men gave Bush 53% of theirs;  in 2004 if women had the choice John Kerry would be president. They gave him 51% of their vote. Men voted for Bush by 14%

2008 both agreed to vote for Obama. Women gave him 135 of their vote over McCain while men gave him a 1% margin. In our last election in 2012, there was a split. Women voted for Obama by 11% and men for Romney by 7%.

Assuming a margin of error of 2% and that the person who lost by 1% may well have won; and eliminate the other sex from the vote, our presidents since 1980 according to those statistics would be:

If women alone voted:   If men alone voted: (Winner in bold typeface.)

1980          Carter               Reagan

1984          Reagan           Reagan

1988          Dukakis            Bush I

1992          Clinton            Clinton

1996          Clinton            Dole

2000          Gore                  Bush II

2004          Kerry                 Bush II

2008          Obama           McCain

2012          Obama            Romney

Looks to me one sex can’t be blamed over the other. It’s hard to say had the losing candidate won things would have been better. So the fault comes down to those we have to choose from and not the actions of the voters on election day.

12 thoughts on “It’s Your Fault:

  1. The list of ‘greatest’ presidents reflects not much more than the leftwing bias and rigid PC control of universities. It also displays an unhealthy preference for those who failed to keep us out of war. Every country in the world managed to abolish slavery without a major bloodletting. Thank you, Mr. Lincoln. We were dragged into WWI on the slogan of he kept out of the war. Thank you, Mr. Wilson. FDR conspired to force Japan to open a war with us in order drag America into a European war for Stalin and the UK. Thank you, Mr. Roosevelt. Without these three failures, and a President who cannot attain his goals without war is by my lights a failure, our military graveyards would be nearly empty.

    1. Randall:

      Others have made similar points as you have. I will hope to address them in a blog at some point because they are worthy of discussion. Lincoln didn’t set out to free the slaves but to keep the union together. He freed them hoping they would join the Union in its fight. The real question to answer is whether the Union was worth saving. Wilson did get elected promising to keep us out of the war and then he went ahead and asked Congress for a declaration of war. You are right that FDR was looking to help out England; I’m not so sure there was a conspiracy with Japan but it was from his viewpoint a stroke of luck they attacked.

      You write “a President who cannot attain his goals without war is by my lights a failure.” I can’t go that far. Without a war we’d have had no nation.

    1. Brian:

      Mother Jones the famous union activist during the first part of the 20th Century was opposed to women’s suffrage. She believed based on her experience in the Western states where women could vote that the wrong type of woman voted. The mothers home raising the kids didn’t have the time or energy to do so. Time has changed much of that.

      I cannot find any detrimental effect of women voting since they had the right in 1920 under the 19th Amendment. Although you must admit that had their choice of candidates won things might not be as they are now. Whether selecting the more liberal candidates would have changed much is difficult to figure out. We only know what has brought us to this point and the women and men share equally in the blame.

  2. Did the academics and historians that ranked Truman and FDR highly forget their deals with Stalin? Over a million innocent Eastern Europeans were turned over to him at the end of WW2. All were killed. Reagan liberated the people in Europe . FDR and Truman caused their deaths. These rankings are just as meaningless as a Globe poll.

    1. NC:

      Good points. One thing to note is that it was Eleanor Roosevelt that stepped in and stopped a lot of the transfers of the people who had fled from Stalin backa to the Soviet Union where they were murdered. Also, it was Roosevelt who went along with blaming Germany for the killing of the 22,000 Polish nobles and officers at the Katyn Forest even though he knew it had been done by Stalin. Truman started us on the road to where we are today where the leader of Israel has taken 47 of our senators into the Likud Party looking to get a few more so that we can go to war with Iran. Not every president did everything right. Look at Barack Obama who is trying to get a deal with Iran: you know if we don’t get it then we have to attack it. He’s being vilified for trying to keep us out of war.

  3. Matt

    PS today’s Huffungton Post has an article that states Republican and Iran Deal Opponents are funded by the same MEGA (read GOLD) Donnors…especially Sen Cotton..

    1. Jean:

      Cotton has been bought lock, stock and barrel by the Israeli Lobby. I wish more people understood that Netanyahu wants us to attack Iran and destroy thousands of Iranian lives.

  4. Matt

    You are correct in part, but I believe the statistics will also clearly show that it’s the folks with the GOLD who pick the candidates on both sides of the aisle. The voters are stuck with those choices, hence the low voter turn out…Repeal Citizens United…voting should be a right that is not bought and paid for. Service of the Representatives should not mean indentured service to the folks with the GOLD…It’s the new Golden Rule that you really should be complaining about. My2 cents

    1. Jean:

      That is becoming more obvious than ever. I fear the next election will involve two candidates bought out by the big Israeli money men like Adelson with both promising to start war with Iran as soon as elected. Never before in our history has one nation been able to buy us to do a war for them until now. Citizens United is only one of the problems; the American public’s great displeasure with the way things are running as evidence that since 1972 the turnout of eligible voters has been under 56% so the person elected is getting less than 30% of the vote of all those eligible to vote. I doubt it was supposed to be like that when the Founders set things up.

      But you are right, the bottom line is the money.

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