Gee, you would think in light of the last eight years of hosannas from the press, Barack Obama would rank with Washington and Lincoln among America's academics. But nope, he was only 12th.
Less than a month after exiting the White House, Obama received high marks from presidential historians for his pursuit of "equal justice for all" and for his commanding "moral authority," ranking third and seventh among all former presidents in each respective category. The 44th president also cracked a top 10 ranking for his "economic management" and public persuasion.
The former president's tenure earned its lowest marks for the relationship between the presidency and Congress, with bitter partisanship often stagnating the effectiveness between the two and Obama seeing his Democratic majority slip in both the House of Representatives and the Senate during his eight years in office.
Historians, however, remained mixed on whether Obama's standing so soon after leaving office was higher or lower than expected.
"Although 12th is a respectable overall ranking, one would have thought that former President Obama’s favorable rating when he left office would have translated into a higher ranking in this presidential survey," said Edna Greene Medford, a Howard University professor and member of C-SPAN's historical advisory board.The rankings by category show a distinctly affirmative action grading curve.
For example, he ranks third in "Pursued Equal Justice For All," ahead of Grant (reconstruction and the Civil Rights Act of 1875), Coolidge (gave Indians citizenship), Eisenhower (sent the 101st to enforce school desegregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1957), and Truman (desegregated the military). Frankly, I can find nothing in Obama's portfolio that speaks to equal justice for all. The court legalized gay marriage without him. A gentleman's C puts him at 22.
Eighth in economic management? He added $9 trillion to the national debt and we never recovered from the recession he inherited. Bottom 10 in that category.
Twenty-fourth in international relations? He bombed countries without provocation, armed the Islamic State, and let Iran develop nuclear weapons. Bottom 10 in that category.
His domestic policy consisted of Obamacare, which elected a Republican House in 2010, a Republican Senate in 2014, and a Republican president in 2016.
Obama leaves the White House having achieved nothing positive on the economic front, nothing positive on the international front, and nothing positive on the domestic front.
I would rank him in the bottom 10 all around but even there he did not manage to be worse than Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, and a dozen other mediocre presidents we suffered in the 19th century.
His historic significance is he was the first black president, but did nothing more than that. That was a great achievement, but being rookie of the year alone does not gain entry into the Hall of Fame.
Kindle is now taking orders for my book on the general election. The Kindle version appears on March 1.
"Trump the Establishment" is already available in paperback.
This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. It is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Create Space.
Autographed copies are available by writing me at DonSurber@GMail.com
Please follow me on Twitter.