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tv   Lectures in History Presidential Legacies  CSPAN  November 7, 2021 12:08pm-1:20pm EST

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and on the highly practical notes, i will go on today's class and it will close and i hope you've gotten a little bit of insight into the presidential rhetoric and we will continue our presidency look at a virtual class on wednesday and take care. attentively years and prepares the criteria and the results. >> fourscore and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth onto this continent a new nation with liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal and it was those words abraham lincoln and the battlefield not far from where we sit today and the brilliance of those words, were not
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necessarily recognized at the time. in fact lincoln was on the featured speaker and it was actually edward everett senator from massachusetts and spoke for two hours lincoln waited to give the poignant closing words and today of course we recognize the gettysburg address is perhaps the greatest moment of president speech in history. and people didn't necessarily see the speech that way at the time he was not the speech or speaker in front of fact that lincoln's greatness will not recognize at the time in general. you have to remember that when lincoln became president, he had on certain public office for ten years. country style address and his mannerisms and his self-education, all that meant that lincoln was looked upon with some degree of on intention from the eastern leaks in the country perhaps not much was expected from the presidency. however today there is little
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dispute and i would look at this as a debate not a science and there are no laws, no findings, no discoveries and instead of people making an argument that it may or may not be persuasive to you and i think that's important to know when you think about the presidential greatness because five different ways of measuring presidential greatness and what we will see is in these polls and these academic studies while hundreds of historians and political scientists and others, that lincoln was the greatest president. today we may have some concerns of some of the things that he did with the constitution and he suspended the right - any forcibly close newspapers that were printing material critical of the union effort and is that many that congress had appropriated that he side of the military without congress approval but he did this for great men and preserving the
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union and communion and time of maximum peril for country to gave moral emphasis with the emancipation proclamation which committed the government to the slaves and he never lost sight with united states 24. there was a lot of pressure to call off the election and he cannot go through with an election at a time of war and that lincoln was totally justified canceling this contest. what lincoln said he believed is if the united states would do so, then they would very succeeded because the country but amongst its character as a free democratic people and what i want to do today is about presidential greatness in the whole whole class is kind of the leading up to this point. ever try to understand how the presidential are or not able to overcome these obstacles in a way when they can successfully navigate these challenges and when they still navigate those challenges but what point is doing so is to become great and to achieve greatness so what i
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want us to do is think about how we might understand the presidential greatness that we might conceptualize at. then we will look at the different scholars have a bright the presidents one - 44 then we will talk about why potentially today, the greatness is more difficult to achieve. that we may never see in a person like abraham lincoln that the modern president and they have not achieved the level of greatness of people like lincoln had and we want to try to understand what that might be. and maybe the fault lies within the individuals who held office and with the recent terms in one thing that we know as americans love to rank things so i estimate that 67 percent of the content are listed thanks. so here are some interesting rankings that i recently came across in the hard work that i
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have been doing as a professor. the stupid people on twitter, four . zero and is better than version 2.0. if anything if your password is on that list, is already singing enough in the past 25 ranked by stupidity in a definitive ranking of every big brother season was the least and the 26th drake means and that one is actually kind of cool rated the definitive ranking of selfies posted on the internet and i look this one up and the messages do not take selfies of funerals, that is kind of the take away point there. americans also at that also breaking their presidents, and the most famous quote ever written presidency, an influential book in scholars and presidents alike, with the guidebook of how they successfully exercises the
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stories and here are the incentives of the books, in the united states, but i drank the presidents. speech is a strong and the leadership and we do not wait until man is dead, we write him from the moment he takes office. and gallup began surveying americans on the approval of barack obama's presidency the day after his inauguration, the day after his inauguration. so started immediately and of course there are all of these benchmarks that are in presidency where we stop and consider their legacy, their 100 days, how is the presidents first hundred days compared to franklin roosevelt or any other election and the midterm election and the reelection campaign focusing on the voters to pass judgment on the presidential formants along, you have comments and colonists were asking how anything a president does affect their legacy and their place in history. even though we like to do this ranking the presidents is
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actually really hard to do. so they're assisted in a systematic reasons why it is difficult to try to rank the presidents, difficult to bring their performance in number one, we are not - will have our own opinions and our biases and that will affect how we evaluate any president's performance, the research has shown that ideologies plays a role in acceptance of the presidential race which i am sure does not come as a surprise to you. conservatives will think ronald ragan was a great president and liberals will think of john kennedy's great president of the affect our lives does not stop there, it is also going to impact the criteria we use to determine the presidential greatness and what our standards are. researchers are shown that liberals are more likely than conservatives in faces like idealism is a standard of presidential greatness.
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so those are two ways that the biases will affect our evaluation of greatness is another context of it matters, they take office at different times facing different leadership challenges and that is going to have to be taken into account when we try to rate their performance. on the one hand we might give the president sympathies for taking office in a difficult circumstances so barack obama at the end of his presidency want want to step back and say took office and a massive recession time and there were two wars and because all of these challenges, even if he did achieve her did not achieve quite as much as others might have, he deserves to be rated higher because the context in which he served was more difficult. we know the voters are capable of doing this we saw this at the time of election if the voters have considered obama and bush to be equally responsible for the country's economic commission, the obama women nine
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points was popular so they give presidents leeway for things they don't necessarily have a lot to do with the difficulty is not necessarily that they because crises would be opportunities for greatness i don't think it's a coincidence that the two greatest presidents, we will see these in these rankings that the top three is always some combination of lincoln and washington and in roosevelt. so two of those president serves in the biggest crises that america has think of the civil war, and then world war ii and the great depression and i gave them an opportunity to do things that the presidents might not have had the chance to do. it did not necessarily mean they would meet the challenges but it was something that they could potentially do that others could not naturally something present - clinton said to a private place and that he wished he had been president at that time because to be a great president,
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you had to be the signature moment of leadership and he never had the opportunity to do so. the third problem is the greatness is not set in stone, when we break the presidents, the gradients will change over time as new information emerges and as also our own value change for an example of the present is ranking had gone down over time, john kennedy, when he died, is extremely popular, he died in a tragic circumstances and the first appraisals of his presidencies that were written for written by people, people embarked in kennedy's presidency and held them in extremely high regard and then criticize nearly anything that he had done. but over time he learned new things about kennedy that had affected our opinion of him. we have learned about his chronic womanizing could jeopardize his personal security as he was involved in processes
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and other women and women nice and jeopardizing his independence and is fair with the girlfriend of chicago mob and womanizing that today will consider these to be sexual harassment and being involved in white house secretaries and other employees in the government we have learned that he has responsibilities at least in the united states involvement in vietnam of foreign policy and certainly within america's national interest and we have learned that a lot of the new frontier was more for show than anything else. he didn't have much interest in the talk and the administration that they had about culture and things actually personally important to him so he seems to be a president that in he was criticize showed more profile when he needed to show more courage to play of his book title. and as a result the last ranking, in 2014, john kennedy
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was elected at the most overrated president and the most historically overrated president. two presence of god and the other direction was truman and eisenhower and when truman left office he was phenomenally unpopular approaching were nixon was when he left office when he was involved in the potter great quantity scandal and harry truman and the 22 percent in public opinion polls, 22 percent approved the job he was doing as president rated ssn we have come to see that his foreign policy, establishing nato and jeopardizing the marshall plan through congress and they were n as members of additional soviet expansions throughout your bed and at the same time truman's demeanor and his honesty and his plainspoken weight gain greater appreciation for that when he was seen by people like by lyndon johnson who lied to the united states involvement in richard nixon it was not a crook when he actually was a crook.
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and eisenhower, and the president improved is ranking improved over time and when he left office people thought that he was generally a nice guy but did not really worked hard at the presidency and he spent more time golfing then lady and he was a desire not a president. we have evidence that shown that eisenhower strategically was allowed people to have an actually was extremely worked hard behind the scenes to the point of pushing himself to a heart attack. to claim to not engage in personalities but to manipulated people left and right and generally speaking he developed an appreciation for his political because he didn't have it at the time and we also value some of the decisions eisenhower made as president in the back then you didn't necessarily seem significant. 1954 and friends all of vietnam and the pressure on eisenhower to intervene and he said no, that grantor in southeast asia cannot be one and therefore should not be thought.
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in ten years later the united states begins to get involved in vietnam and we have a decade long conflict that does not work out international interest in the seem to be a reason why there was a lot of foresight. as people are arguing in 1958, and spending and the soviet union barge and eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex and another morning that seems oppressive and this is why i often talk about bush and not saying that bush will go down as but the point is we don't know where he will go down when he left office and people wrote columns from scholars rated him as the worst president of all times and for me that was a preposterous statement because he had just finished his presidency and summary of the things he did were not pointed out the true impact of those decisions for decades from now rated years from now, if you become street democrats to societies and cities across middle east, they did to this
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threat of freedom that ultimately does away with one of the key national security threats facing the united states and terrorism, and which will go down as a great president. it is not likely to happen right now doesn't seem so that we will have to wait and see is a little bit too early to be sure where bush will fall. and another problem is a lot of presidents successfully identified key issues before they become issues of a national concern and they were on the right side of history and into important stances but they did not do anything to actually fix those problems and in 1948 truman is supported strong civil rights in the democratic party platform. in 1963 finally comes out as a comprehensive civil rights legislation in congress something he actually dragged his feet on that he promised a number of steps for civil rights including any public housing with the discrimination.
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and did not actually take action to until the pressure not too much in 1966 and nonetheless, there are no price on the issue but they do not get that legislation through congress is on until lyndon johnson that we see comprehensive civil rights legislation. so how does that affect an evaluation for greatness and do they get credit for being a right side of an issue or you blame them or if not actually fixing the issue rated the issue of credit is a problem in general a lot of times the encouragements that we are willing to contribute to our debatable accomplishments whether they actually had something to do with those things are not an something that is open for discussion and a lot of times people say present is by because of the economy is great when they were in office. this is often a roosevelt argument and the great accomplishment is that he ended the great depression and is that true. well not really so things that roosevelt deal did certainly help the united states set itself along the path for
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recovery. the work programs were needed in the aftermath of the start of the great depression in his financial legislation helps out the context for more stable going forward but by 1937 and fallen back into a massive recession it and backup around 20 percent had the thing that really close for the united states out of this is world war ii. but can we fairly say that roosevelt ended the depression and this type people think he's a great president but similarly, some scholars have said the right-handed winning the cold war is the greatest accomplishment of any president in the postwar and war. in did he when the cold war, well not really, do you do things to and the cold war, absolutely. increased expenditure including the strategic defensive issues, and a defense system and the soviet union engaging and at one
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point they were no longer capable of doing so. and ultimately they led to their downfall. but other people had a role to john paul ii, and they take amount of the picture maybe we get a different outcome and you can argue that the soviet union had internal vulnerability that they would collapse someday anyway rated maybe reagan hastened that collapse but he didn't necessarily posit and these are the two biggest accomplishments of these presidents are seen as on the edge of the top ten now are often given credit for. and another problem is it fair to compare modern residents and whenever we look at ranking the presidential races, we are going to be in the same system, barack obama and george washington but their task of those leadership and resources they had deleted, they were very different from
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the premodern presidents before franklin roosevelt were more clerks than they were leaders and in the 19th century main job is a president was to distribute patronage in an interview job speakers and point people to government offices and entirely thankless task. since indeed a president would get assassinated by a speaker and 1881 and there's no institutional support for the president until 1857 the congress even appropriated money for president to hire a single clerk and the wind up paying their own staffers out of their own pocket and george washington hires his nephew to copy his letters and present has to take loans like thomas jefferson and andrew jackson saying that the situation signifies the slavery. so it may be unfair to compare premodern presidents to modern presidents, the challenges of difference is not until teddy
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roosevelt the resident would flee the country, a related problem do you judge them by the centers of their times or hours in our morals have changed already have normative impressions of presidential greatest them play a role in terms of how we interpret of what they did in office and things that may not have been controversial now are very controversial now free to call this the andrew jackson problem by many standards, he was going to be a great president and we definable h by him, the age of jackson, the jacksonian democracy and he himself is a symbol of frontiersmen by reaching the presidency is a powerful message about what is possible in this new country. in the rhetorical could spark regular people changes are politics and a democratizing government service by ending the federalist practice and treating government jobs as personal property and that they would hang onto their entire lives and pass on to their sons and he bills the first political
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parties of the democratic party which is really coming out of his own personal following. but he is a slave owner. but must close closely associated with his democratic impulsiveness with backing forcible removable of native americans from their tribal lands and open with the supreme court decision in winter forced out of their historical lands in georgia, some will die out in the midwest and this leads to a lot of problems in terms of how we interpret this because owning slaves, is not treating native americans with respect and that was on something the effect was controversial in the early 19th century. but it is today so you are saying a lot of stadium credit parties typical fundraisers of jefferson and jackson dinner and many of them have moved to change their name feeling associated dinner with slaveowners like jefferson and jackson is not projecting them
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to be the inclusiveness that they want today. and can we really understand what is likely president, present, this the monday morning quarterback problem and i watched the dolphins on sunday as you all know, there was an interception and acclaim him and i will get really upset that i have no idea what i'm talking about and never played quarterback in nfl and i do not know why he would do that interception is actually the receiver who was in the wrong place in the defense disguised their coverage so the coaches need to be blamed so i really can't blame him for that interception and simile can we really blame the president for any of their failures. we don't know the pressures they were under and how decisions were made and we don't know what information they have the time that they had to ask. so it might be unfair of us to pass judgment on something that we have no chance of understanding until we have walked in those shoes ourselves. and someone like john kennedy when talking with arthur fletcher about ranking the presidents, was dismissive and
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saying that he don't really know what is going on, i'm running and prepared to do this now and i would be much more study having been in office just a little time. and now that we said we can't rate them, so let's start by considering some theoretical ways of accessing greatness and the standards element of this problem. one book, presidential greatness said a great president must be a democrat and a republican, and with me by that is that you have to involve people in the process and teach people these virtues, that is the democrats part but he also together with an the constitutional system and abide by the restrictions that the republican party and then the key mechanism to accomplish these tasks is a political party, the great way to mobilize people into the process but also
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a natural check on the presidents aristocratic as i see it and so for them, the great presidential leadership required extraordinary partisanship in the right presidents are those who built up their political party and people like washington and jefferson and jackson and lincoln and fdr are great presidents and you can see using the standards wipe andrew jackson is a great president. billy knew modern democratic party out of his personal following including something like presidents of character maybe it is not going to mean that jackson is great president. and no presidents and fdr according to them had achieved this level of greatness and to close this would be lyndon johnson, and ronald ragan and johnson ultimately failed because his civil rights with the democratic party drives at southern democrats eventually to the republicans and reagan failed to because he's not really interested in pumping the republican party, he's more
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interested in protecting his personal popularity. an alternative way would be why moderates lead to the best presidents and you're all familiar with that now. the ee argues that it is muscular moderation that does not mean simply doing what is popular at the moment and i would be spineless central is him and muscular moderation it and boldly governing from the center. charting leadership pass extremes of american politics and building consensus around your political position in this leads him to reinterpret politics like fdr and he seen as potentially the most liberal the modern era but according to troy, he's not really moderate because on the left, he's dealing with people who want to create a socialist society in america have the right, he's dealing with individuals who want to do nothing and you want to maintain a system of economic
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regulations like that which were under collegian hoover and i charting a course, he was actually quite moderate and something like social security, he said to the modern policy and people like, to because individual responsible laypeople at the limit because his finance and pay as we go manner where the taxes are current workers they pay benefits the current beneficiaries and so as a result, it is a moderate product entered politics in his approach for regulating a bank, another moderate policy in the left wanted to nationalize it in the right want fewer regulations. roosevelt fall somewhere in the middle of the moderation for troy is not enough to be achieving greatest have a modern presence like nixon and carter who failed specific to them self reasons and in offers the best path of the residential greatness and i chose these because i think it she adventures the problems of
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greatness and these are diametrically opposed standards and one said of scholars had to be a great present you have to be partisan and the others, say to be a great president, yet to be the exact opposite it in the middle. and if we then try to actually rank the presidents, on one - 44, we have five and think really important historical studies that have tried to do this and think looking at each of of them is useful so 1988, the same questionnaire to about 2000 phd holding assistant professors of history they were listed in the american historical association guidebook. these questionnaires were intense, 19 pages, 180 questions of more than an hour to complete. so not only asking these people to assign a level of greatness but also asking them specific questions about events and policies and was hoover right to
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value balancing the budget handed controlling the federal deficit and why was kennedy successful and what skills were important in my asking those additional questions, they also want to determine why a president is great. not only if they are great and honestly look at that part of the argument, we will focus on the evaluations on whether the rankings above average, average, below average or failure to be president and ultimately 846, surveys and be aware this is not necessarily a representative sampling only 59 women actually participated in the survey. so there ranking those in abraham lincoln as one of franklin roosevelt to hand george washington as three, thomas jefferson is far and those of the four presidents that had an average score of being a great president and the near race with theodore
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roosevelt and andrew jackson and harry truman and then i think about into john adams and johnson and were not going to see these presidents on other rankings and perhaps this is partly because in the study, scholars tended to more favorably break the presidents that served in the area or era which they did - so if you did research on colonial america in early american republic, you'd be more likely to think that john adams was a great president and we today perhaps criticize him partially for the alienation act criminalizing it the united states was for potential war with france and entirely it was political on adams opponents that were affiliated with the justices and lyndon johnson, and of the president a controversial one greatest color say the generally they liked his domestic policies find a lot to desire and the prosecutions of the vietnam war where he
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concealed of the true ascent of the united states involvement with the public had made a number of tactical decisions that potentially undermine the standards of the united states prevailing. and in 1997, published reading the presidents, they take up a lot of 719 people, 97 of these individuals were professors of american history or political science and the other individuals would be public officials, attorneys, and they are asking them to write presidents on five different dimensions, leadership qualities, accomplishments and private management, political skills, appointments, character and integrity. and they also asked to rank the relatives importance of these five dimensions rated and they said character was the most important or - etc. and according to this system, and
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again lincoln is number one, franklin roosevelt's number two, george washington's number three, thomas jefferson's number four, theodore roosevelt is number five, woodrow glisson's number six, harry truman is number seven, andrew jackson is number eight and eisenhower's number nine and madison number ten and a couple of interesting things to notice one that roosevelt might have prevailed over the weekend if this were for concerns about the character and rated the 15th best president in terms of character where one or two on the other four dimension read and similarly andrew jackson would retire if it wasn't for those concerned about character and appointment and obviously reflection of the system where all government officials were required and the people within the jackson for putting in a position that leads ultimately to a lot of corruption. and i would also point out that
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eisenhower ppc this is published in 1997, and his were learning more about eisenhower you are seeing is writing improve emerges at the bottom. and publishing an article in political science in 1997, he has taken a poll of 32 experts and put experts in quotation because, not that they are not experts but mostly prestigious upgrades and some partisan politicians were included like mario, former governor of new york and paul simon united states senator, participants are allowed to also only criteria in the article and actually uses stewart's definition of obscenity and we know it when you see it rated in the scholars in another greatness when they see it in all people have to do is rate each president as great, your great average below average, failure, and then they
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will be assigned the appropriate numerical score which would allow them to come up with an average. his father actually did an early study ranking the presidents in 1948, was published in life magazine and kind of following in his father's footsteps. and according to the study, lincoln number one, washington number two, franklin roosevelt number three in all three achieved great averages and you can see that all these individuals implicated a score of four, a ranking of right and jefferson and jackson roosevelt, wilson, and eisenhower. and cspan, actually did a presidential leadership survey in 2009, surveying 65 presidential - and i mentioned robert and cindy because we rented talked about the scholars ourselves in this class and his
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stories are asked to rate the presidents on ten different attributes, public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic and management, moral authority, international relations, administrative skills, relations with congress, vision and bending agenda and equal justice for all, and the performances in the conflict of the time. you may be saying that that is a lot, ten different attributes of leadership is a lot for any scholar. and it test the knowledge of experts to people know enough about them to assign it an escort all ten of these dimensions rated particular what happens in studies like this is the people wind up making a global judgment of greatness and then that will affect their score on every individual standard so if you think that lincoln was a great president overall, he gets a great scored all ten categories pretty their scoring one, very effective in
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all ten dimensions of leadership and what will happen then is that an average was provided so with clinton was given an average of say and 8.24 economic, that would be multiplied printed and then he would get 82 points and what that means is that your total possible greatness score is 1000. one hundred points for each category. according to the system, abraham lincoln is number one, a score of 902 in george washington, number two and franklin roosevelt number three, and you can see the scores pretty quickly drop off that point in roosevelt is for - five and six and jefferson is seven and eisenhower is eight and wilson is nine and reagan is ten for the parents of ronald reagan at the very foundry of greatness. and finally conducting a survey in 2014, 162 members of the
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american political science association president and executive politics include me. i participated in the survey. i cannot tell you that much about it and partly because i entered it has not been published as far as i can tell they had to pick stories and washington post and so forth about the research and e-mailed all of the participants in the study the final rankings but i do not really remember what it was like. i remember it took me a long time like 45 minutes to one hour and also i remember being surprised by some of the decisions i made for instance i found myself a lot more positive for barack obama than i thought it would be when i was challenged to think about him on individual dimensions and satisfied of a global judgment of his performance. some of the attributes that were measured were integrity and military skills legislative skills i think you can see somewhat reflecting a political
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scientist mindset with the legislative skills, something they like to measure and quantify in each president then has a possible score out of 100 so the results, think it is number one in almost a perfect score, 95.27 in washington is number two and franklin roosevelt's break, theodore roosevelt's four, jefferson is five, truman is six and eisenhower is seven, and bill clinton, andrew jackson is nine and woodrow wilson is ten and although you see down here, the score is much lower though they are not separated that far the rankings of the scores are actually quite lower. some patterns then that we may notice is sent start lincoln is number one in all five rankings and can sense is that lincoln is the greatest president all five rankings also read that the top three rate is prisons are lincoln washington and fdr and
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you probably noticed that washington and the ark alternated between two and three and even and jefferson and wilson did well, commonly there were four and five and either president fell lower than seven. and we didn't look at this but i thought that you should note that there is a rough agreement on the worst president, the two worst presidents would be, artie and spent his time writing embarrassing love letters to his mistress in the white house on his friend is robbed of the government line in this moment but most famous quotation is not fit for this office and i should've never been here and james buchanan, congratulations america, who did nothing and they would towards civil war out of misguided sense of constitutionalism. one of the other things, resting
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many modern presidents post franklin roosevelt show up on these rankings. reagan, truman, eisenhower but they are at the bottom and is not consistent so that i did here is that i took the presidents franklin and roosevelt and all five ratings in the night average date of the score during my did that these are taken at different times so the total number of presidents that are going to be ranked, is not constant throughout because the president, there were more presidents in 2014 than in 1988 southern affect the average and somewhat of its great presidency after that point but not to be the case in which we see here is that only two presidents have an average ranking in the top ten. harry truman and dwight eisenhower. and both of them had been in the renaissance and rehabilitation of the reputation after they
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left office but even then, the rankings and of that impressive if you've the seventh greatest president of all time, then you're not even in the top 20 percent. going on the list, we can see that nixon's average rating is 32 and 425 and others reagan 18 and bush and clinton is 17 and bush, 36, and as we took the average ranking of all of these presents, it is 19. and franklin roosevelt and the average ranking was 19 of the greatest and why is that set the result of their individual fault, ball to some extent sure, over the course, is very critical of jimmy carter and not out of any personal opposition to anything he tried to accomplish. the criticism of his understanding of executive authority and is use of the
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powers of leadership. carter's ranking as we saw we flipped back here, concord, 25 and 1919 and 27, 25 and 26. and we can identify those specific reasons that carter fell short of greatness that only he can be - one, denny undermined the presidency speech, and prestige is key. like how the president is viewed by people outside or rather how president is viewed by washington and trying to determine how the public views, when he will be able to successfully convince what he wants is in the people's best interest. he did things like carrying his own luggage rated ending the practice of playing hail to the chief when the president arrived and the presidential yacht and national address in the carter
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sweater essay that - but he does not necessarily understand that these things make him seem more like a regular person instead of someone was above the public any more choices, to bring the individuals who work with him in georgia to washington at the so-called georgia mafia. their shaggy hair cuts in their and sensibilities of washington and he appointed poorly prepared people who had no experience with national experience when you needed it and the chief of staff and is known for allegations of unsavory personal behavior a drink with women in bars making rude comments of the wife of the egyptian investor and using cocaine at a disco in 1970 rated any point burke to run the offices of management he's a friend of his from
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georgia and he was clearly country banker. he was $2 million in debt and personally and then evolved in the series investigation about his own personal finances and write down carter's office. and the third problem of the carter act is that he thought he could run white house on his own. despite ford having known quickly chief of staff, carter comes into office and he accesses his own chief of staff having his top aides report directly to him and then he trying to make every decision himself rated that's bogging carter down in a series of unnecessary details. this a true story he would actually prove the playing schedule at the white house tennis court. wind with a president bothered himself with that kind of detail. carter also have character
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flaws, he has some degree of arrogance. and where when people disagreed with him he would say, well then i would not rather not talk with you if you cannot agree with me. i think instances building fresh that you need is a president rated it a mean streak which will emerge in the 1980 presidential campaign where he said that if reagan selected, going to see return to segregation in the united states and carter did not realize that the presence resourceful and comes into office rather with the democratic congress speaker of the house and the relationship that he needs to cultivate rated they said give me four or five priorities and he said no, here's 12 and will do all of them a need they said, don't try to govern over our heads. carter said no, i'll do what works with me in georgia and he was aggravated and his ticket at the inauguration, the carter took away the ruckus that the meeting because even nixon gave them breakfast. and ultimately what is happening
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is that carter is ted kennedy the sitting president, who has to fight for his own renomination with his party. if that's a consequence of the way that carter failed to nurture those relationships with democrat leaders in congress and finally he overestimated his powers and he did try to govern over the head of congress on the subject of energy and carter gives five national addresses and each one shows a smaller and smaller audience and we know that speaking powers, overestimated when the president goes public, they can't move opinion on their approval ratings they certainly can't move in issue opinion either rated and carter did not recognize that. now i would ask you about who are some of the great quarterbacks. i'm going with a little football theme today, nfl history and i would imagine that you are going
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to say, modern type quarterbacks like tom brady, peyton manning and someone would say dan marino because that would've been a very good answer. clearly the greatest president and he would've been because of his quick release and is demeanor on the field. but, these are modern presidents in modern quarterbacks and that is a reasonable thing when you look at the statistics and these are the top ten quarterbacks in terms of yards in a season and what we see here is that all of this with dan marino historical season in 1984, 5084 yards and 48 touchdowns, besides that what year, the help of an this 2008. , these great seasons in terms of seniority and you see quarterbacks they are not going to go down is great quarterbacks some of them, probably not
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others is convex and what was happening here, well the difference is that game has changed to have the quarterbacks rated so you see an emphasis on officiating makes it easier to throw the ball. officials are concerned with concussions and they're going to have contact over the middle of the field. and also safety and they felt that he could no longer play the position because he had to constantly be worried about getting a penalty and can no longer react so you can't tessa cornerback rated you can't heading up high or make contact with the helmet and you can't do nothing, and makes them more court comfortable in the pocket and you see new offense and systems passes instead of runs makes it easier for them to wreck of yards nursing quarterbacks get nfl with more preparations because colleges
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and high schools have adopted and sophisticated offense in the cornerbacks are better prepared to be defensive when they reach that level. and you see a change in the personnel, someone like - the size and he can run like a wide receiver tom brady confronted somebody who's uncomfortable by facing the linebackers and all of this is made easier for quarterbacks to achieve greatness. there's lower quarterback rating on his career than mike, the back of the tampa bay buccaneers but if you look at the systematic changes, 20 comes to the presidency, things have changed to make it more difficult for presidents to achieve greatness in some of the things we might think about is one congress has polarized. and they are long-standing dated back to the 1960s the democratic parties, fully embraces civil rights and easier migration at other southern democrats to the republican
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party and ultimately that is going to lead the democratic party that is just left with liberals and republican party is, much more conservative pretty and you saw the effect of gerrymandering and you have the state districts that is radical republican or democrat and that they would not be able to win it was fairly broad and you see congressional rules and procedures that create polarized outcomes in congress they may not naturally exist and all of this means is more difficult for the president to get what they want and congress. and polarization it may speed up the action and the majority house but is also down in the other senate and any increase in the number of filibusters over time, and the burial grounds for any major presidential piece of legislation. and no possibility of compromise. if you want to be of moderate, who will you negotiate with, there's no one left in the middle. the informal care act passes
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with zero republican votes in the house and zero republican votes in the senate and how is obama going to get legislation through congress now that he does not have huge democratic majorities he had when he took office in 2008 printed and divided government when you have the president on one party in congress being of the other and that's kind of the norm in mostt was on the case and releasing by two thirds of the time since 1952. there is a debate in political science about what this means and some argue that the government does not actually have an effect on significant legislation. and categorized in terms of their significant by looking at if they were judge significantly at the time they were passed and they were judged significant later over history when you come up with a dense that you see about 11 or 12 are going to be adopted every two years. verses are a two-year period divided government however even if that is true whether there is
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debate about that, there is strong research that shows that legislation a significant legislation are more likely to fail under the conditions of divided government. potential significant failed in every period of divided government and it increases the odds potentially to the legislation family by 5 percent of the fact that the presence are like a moment out has to deal with a divided government with a congress controlled by the opposite party and it congress that is polarized by the opposite party to make it very difficult to get your agenda through congress. they also have the worst relationship with the media and think about all of the things any covered up for john kennedy, the governor of his affairs which they knew about. the coming of his health problems, his variety of other illnesses and they were shocked the public if they would've known at the time the cart of the fact that his book was only bestseller because his dad
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bought thousands of copies which he stored up in an attic at their place and i've been unable to persuade my dad to buy my books but it's a good idea. and it changes that you have things like the pentagon papers and government studies about the united states involvement in vietnam which shows that presidents have misrepresented u.s. policies and you have the aftermath of watergate and nixon's refuted lies about his involvement in a cover-up and summer so that his press secretary for nafta later stated all previous statements were in operative. and because of the impact, the reporters now all want to be bob woodward and they want to break that next scandal and result the media has become much more hostile towards the presidency there's no more collaboration that the president can count on and if we look at the amount of the negative news that the
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president has to face has gone up in the presidents sharing the news coverage has gone down. i'll vacate more difficult for the president to meet publicly and related to the fourth problem, people are paying less attention to the president addresses and we might think the now we can watch a presidential speech on so many different platforms. a broadcast, cable, phone, on your tablet, on your computer and you will see higher ratings of the president's speeches and that is not what is happening. in the present is a benefit by having a captive audience and a new channel and the president comes on, people just watch because what else are they going to do, turn off the tv and talk to the families, i don't think so. they will watch the president on television. but you're not interested in the speech and change the channel and the fire off your xbox, you queue of netflix or whatever you want to do. and obama's recent address and
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the lowest ratings in twentysomething years. over 31 million people decided and i always like to remind people of this problem of bill clinton in 2000 preparing to give the national address and coming on right after he was to be a millionaire on abc which was a show of the times and people auditioned for it. 19 million people are watching it wants to be a millionaire and the president comes on and immediately ten minutes and ability people change the channel. another problem is the permanent campaign is a permanent distraction running for office today, and reelection, is expensive and it costs money rated these are billion-dollar campaigns the president has to constantly raise money rated barack obama according to research as fundraiser every 7.5 days. and bill clinton attended his first fundraiser as president 12
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days into the administration, however president is supposed to govern when they're so busy raising money and engaging in these political activities there too busy try to keep their jobs to potentially do their job read their also powerful pressures that in the president has to deal with. about 70 percent of the budget today, those four things, medicare, medicaid, social security, and payments on the national debt. during defense spending which is something that cannot be adjusted all that much especially in light of recent events and that means very little money for the president to have new domestic policy initiatives and great activist programs that you often associate with presidential greatness. this year about a $400 billion of city for like in those problems are only going to get worse must we gain control of these entitlement print programs
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and salute subversive federal budget. presence also struggle to fill the administration they can't get their appointments confirmed rated were talking about appointments to the federal judiciary, rated confirmation for these appointments, they been going down over time for present like eisenhower we get every appointment to the federal courses and confirm know you will be lucky to get 60 percent confirmed in the amount of time that it takes to confirm that justice, that is gone up dramatically as of the new york times last weekend an editorial criticizing the republicans for not acting more quickly on some of the nominations that obama printed and sent some vcs are judicial emergencies. and were looking at the executive branch, those appointments have run into obstacles as well, to be debatable techniques to get people into office pretty things like recess appointment cards and so forth. we are talking about their
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staff, have them stick around right now we are sing 30 percent of the white house staff will change jobs. and if you had the two together, what that means is that you really have called the government of strangers individuals are not in their office long enough to learn what is necessary to do the jobs nor are they in office long enough to learn who they need to work with to get things done and they can't be an effective team when you serve for such a short period of time and finally people say while the right around this and to achieve greatness is to act on their own a unilateral presidential power. this is a fallacy as well, they are consistently overrated and people say, governed by executive order well, only 15 percent are significant there are exceptions of course. desegregated military and bush some cells, research executive
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order and certainly some policies established by executive order and to know that even though new presence can come in and change these things, sometimes like clinton, changing the standards and drinking water within and bush wants to go back to the previous center because he thinks that the cost an effective policy and makes it looks like he wants more arsenic in the drinking water. sometimes all good ways is make policies but only 15 percent and the president specifically are more likely be covered by executive order at the end of their administration and when they are unpopular which makes perfect sense given their limitations. think about obama's experian study does not turn to executive orders on immigration and climate change and so he has failed attempts to get congress to do something about these problems and i what is happening. immigration, plans are tied up in the court system in the house comes remains to be seen. were talking about unilateral power like a proclamation and
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only according to studies, 80 percent of these are symbolic and only 12 percent are significant in the 12 percent significant and to be up on things like parks and nothing else and were talking about things like executive agreements, and these are much likely entreaties which are much more binding and the successor as well so the is debatable so i would ask you then, first, take a step back, what are your standards of presidential greatness that we've seen how different scholars have tried to define presidential greatness. and they say that it's about building those parties and another says it's about moderation and the different systems that we have reviewed things like political skill, character, legislative skill and so forth. that would be the first question, how would you define presidential greatness and then will consider whether the greatness is possible.
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>> i define presidential greatness based on whether a president is able to pass meaningful legislative agenda quickly but i think it under their control and then whether they're able to mitigate outside of the national and international that would distract them from being able to pass a legislative agenda. i think elites forming one of the issues with troy's argument and with a lot of the ways that we look at the president says that over time, their ability to do things increases right in front regardless of the present. you see that in jfk last two years on the presidency, he was unable to mass civil rights and he was unable to pass any of the domestic legislation and johnson actually got that through rated so i looked through rapid action and being able to mitigate things. >> do you think that the president's ability to get to congress will also be out of their control depending on the
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number that they have in common, the johnson had a great advantage in any had these huge democratic majorities than other presidents have not had. >> i think that the thing is, i don't think it really matters whether or not they had substantial majority because you see people like reagan, didn't have huge substantial republican majority. he was able to get through most of his agenda in the first six months by using the process and it was really incredible so don't think it really matters the actual numbers of people in your party in congress i don't think it matters whether or not you're able to use that process to get things done that you need to get done. >> and he taking over after carter's failed presidency in a very debatable situation and historical time and at the peak of conservatism and after is
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surviving the assassination attempt in kind of a likable way that he handled that as well. other standards of greatness. >> i believe that great presidents with the timing because like fdr, about going into the second world war and greatness on his party might think about when present reagan came into office, the economy is tanking and other events that president obama, he was able to as something that other presidents for 60 years cannot do which was healthcare reform. all of those were great events that allow them to further greatness so i think much comes down to timing and circumstances is what it comes down to the actual president rated. >> do you agree with clinton that you needed crisis to be a great president rated. >> i do agree, you need a crisis or something that you can prove yourself and you might have potential but if you don't have the circumstances or things
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happening, there's no way to actually prove you're a great president. >> returning to the football analogy that i've been using, you need to have that kind of challenge. are there other standards of greatness that people would suppose. >> i believe is more on how you handle yourself as a person so i think that legislative matters and the things you're afforded are given as president but to kinda be able to manage that with other political advisors in the private and even the public to kinda portray that character, i have it all under control but they do have those political fields in private because of the polarization in congress. >> you have the public and private dimensions of leadership
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and each presents different challenges but you probably can't be successful unless you successfully navigate each party pretty so is great is possible anymore. or is this average ranking just the result of individual failures and people at carter not living up to our expectations. >> i think a lot of them can overcome so like the powerful pressures and that you can have a great president to be open to overcome those pressures and deal with him which would make them a great president or use unilateral powers that stuck in some of the other problems like divided government and polarization, i don't think that while i'm optimistic about this but i don't thank you so a permanent condition and it even if they are, you see presidents like obama being able to get an incredible amount done in the first year. that advantage has not gone away with most presidents even during
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a unified government has been able to take advantage of so i think that's a great president can use the same momentum said overcome the challenges. >> we talk about polarization slowing down the government make it possible but even obama, and a very productive first year, huge, presidents are still able to make the system work in all the time and is much more difficult later on. >> i think the presidents nowadays in certain areas but i don't think they can achieve greatness overall like a president can be good in the public sector and private sector and good at using unilateral powers negotiating congress in something like that but i don't think they can do it all. i don't think that one president can manage all of that. >> is a good point. the expectations often conflict
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and that if you going to be chief of staff we have to be broadly popular and you have to continue the observances and representation of the american people. and you have to take tough physicians in effect people and ultimately that can undermine your speech. and people like eisenhower, the creative ways of solving about all of those roles, the difficult to fight and often conflict. >> i think they will be barred from what we will see with the great presence because if they were in the same scrutiny like fdr and others, perhaps our view would be completely different so through all of their faults, maybe we would think that they are not all that great but they had not having that and now we have constant coverage. >> i think the deadly next president we have good the great
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incense that were fighting terrorism especially with what recently happened in the idea that the republican is elected, they're going to try to do something with the budget so those are two pretty things when they step in but then at the same time, there are things that exist now such as the gay marriage aspect and things that are so different from what certain people that if you don't tackle that issue that i don't think oppressing but overall somebody else might think the complete opposite in the social issues the same way the economic issues rated. >> as a moral issues compromise is much more difficult. >> and he said the values shift over time so maybe they will shift with like you said, i think maybe but going into iraq is a great idea but the sense
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that maybe back on obama and approval rating will go up because will have a president or something. >> does anybody think there's a president in this post rosebud group that is going to have representation like truman and eisenhower had. does anybody think that the president as time goes on that we will that. >> i think that lyndon johnson is undergoing this reputation i think that will continue. especially given that congress is so polarized and so dysfunctional, i think a lot of people revere his legislative skills and able to get a lot done so i think so long as the government continues to be divided and polarized. >> i think obama's one right now obviously his presidency is going on is heartbreaking and greatness yet.
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so i think the situation that he adopted when he became president all that he has in his first year or whatever else he has done socially, i think he's accomplished a lot for what he had to deal with in time and he has been president so i think that is maybe one and will look back and be less critical of its we realize all that he has accomplished and faced. >> and potential in the future all the presidents recently will undergo this in some circumstances considering now we have just what has happened immediately after as time goes on we may see these issues are not as drastic as they once were. for instance, with bush going into iraq all this thanks, the presence had to deal with that attack so maybe down the road we will see maybe his decision was
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not as bad as we originally thought it was. >> and that every president has long time outside of office where they can take on new challenges that rehabilitate their reputation. >> with water presidents, we'll know a lot more about what the president is doing now and part of it was at the time we did not know and he would not have that information about if a look back and say that we know that with everything else, we know a lot more about the presidency with the information off of but we didn't know in the moment and we know it for more currently we can look back and know a lot more than maybe they could have some of these older presence afterwards so i think that will know less about the rehabilitation because i don't feel like there's as much information to come out. and that will not stick. >> quality work the other way,
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we won't have these revelations by kennedy and over the long-term we already know all of this. it and at the time, not years later. okay i will see you all on thursday. c-span.org/history. >> paul sparrow, the director of the fdr library. today we're going to talk about fkr's leadership and -- fdr's leadership and one of the major skills he had was picking the right person for the right job at the right time. particularly true among his military leaders. he put together an extraordinary team during world war ii, and sometimes ignoring seniority and protocol in the process of doing it.

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