Today we commemorate the chiefs of state of the United States of America.
Three days ago C-SPAN produced their latest survey of historians ranking the Presidents. Here’s a commentary on that survey. While political bias skews the results, there are deeper problems with this.
- Some of the Presidents did not get a fair chance. They were not able to serve full terms. Anyone who did not serve a full term of office should be given an incomplete. Their records simply cannot compare.Why was Kennedy ranked at #8? Celebrity and politics — you know that’s true.
- Lack of objective criteria. While Economic Performance can have some numbers supporting a ranking, how does one factor in “assists”. — A Presidential Term laying the foundation for future economic growth.
- Moral leadership. The slavery issue would put all the Presidents before Lincoln to the bottom; even Lincoln would have to be downgraded based on his equivocal policy before Emancipation. For recent President, what should make of similar equivocal policies on social justice issues?
Ranking has it’s problems. Here is the survey.