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Who is the greatest US president of the 20th & 21st centuries?

Discussion in 'North American Politics' started by dust1n, Apr 18, 2013.

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  1. William McKinley

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Theodore Roosevelt

    16.1%
  3. William Howard Taft

    0 vote(s)
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  4. Woodrow Wilson

    0 vote(s)
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  5. Warren G. Harding

    0 vote(s)
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  6. Calvin Coolidge

    3.2%
  7. Herbert Hoover

    0 vote(s)
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  8. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    22.6%
  9. Harry S. Truman

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Dwight D. Eisenhower

    6.5%
  11. John F. Kennedy

    9.7%
  12. Lyndon B. Johnson

    0 vote(s)
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  13. Richard Nixon

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  14. Gerald R. Ford

    0 vote(s)
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  15. Jimmy Carter

    16.1%
  16. Ronald Reagan

    12.9%
  17. George H. W. Bush

    0 vote(s)
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  18. Bill Clinton

    6.5%
  19. George W. Bush

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  20. Barack Obama

    6.5%
  1. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    He was my first choice, actually, but went for Ronny RayGuns instead. What is interesting is I thought that the end of the world had arrived when Reagan became president. I was positive WW III was moments away from being declared.
     
  2. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    I remember Reagan just fine. Can't stand the guy.
     
  3. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    I never saw him, but something about the idea of actors being politicians makes me extremely uncomfortable.
     
  4. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    But why, Dustin. They are all actors.
     
  5. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    From I see... Carter wasn't an actor. He was a kid with a golden heart without the real experience. Which is great, cause 'experience' usually translates into a sort of willingness to murder people, apparently.

    Consider:

    "Farming and personal belief

    Though Carter's father, Earl, died a relatively wealthy man, between his forgiveness of debts and the division of his wealth among heirs, his son Jimmy Carter inherited comparatively little. For a year, due to a limited real estate market, the Carters lived in public housing (Carter is the only U.S. president to have lived in housing subsidized for the poor).[22]


    Knowledgeable in scientific and technological subjects, Carter took over the family peanut farm. Carter took to the county library to read up on agriculture while Rosalynn learned accounting to manage the business' financials.[22] Though they barely broke even the first year, Carter managed to expand in Plains. His farming business was successful. By his 1970 gubernatorial campaign, he was considered a wealthy peanut farmer.[23]


    From a young age, Carter showed a deep commitment to Christianity. He served as a Sunday School teacher throughout his life. Even as president, Carter prayed several times a day, and professed that Jesus Christ was the driving force in his life. Carter had been greatly influenced by a sermon he had heard as a young man. It asked, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"[24]"

    Jimmy Carter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Georgia State Senate

    Jimmy Carter started his political career by serving on various local boards, governing such entities as the schools, hospitals, and libraries, among others. In the 1960s, he was elected to two terms in the Georgia Senate from the fourteenth district of Georgia.


    His 1961 election to the state Senate, which followed the end of Georgia's County Unit System (per the Supreme Court case of Gray v. Sanders), was chronicled in his book Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age. The election involved fraudulent voting. Joe Hurst, the sheriff of Quitman County was involved in system abuses, including votes recorded from deceased persons, and tallies filled with people who supposedly voted in alphabetical order. Carter challenged the results; when fraud was confirmed, he won the election. Carter was reelected in 1964, to serve a second two-year term.


    For a time in the State Senate, he chaired its Education Committee.[25]
    In 1966, Carter declined running for re-election as a state senator to pursue a gubernatorial run. His first cousin, Hugh Carter, was elected as a Democrat and took over his seat in the Senate.

    Jimmy Carter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Are you kidding me? Calling out fraud on your election and winning?

    "Carter declared in his inaugural speech that the time of racial segregation was over, and that racial discrimination had no place in the future of the state; he was the first statewide officeholder in the Deep South to say this in public.[33] Carter appointed many African Americans to statewide boards and offices. He was often called one of the "New Southern Governors" – much more moderate than their predecessors, and supportive of racial desegregation and expanding African-Americans' rights."





    I can give more examples. I'm just saying, Jimmy Carter didn't 'get 'er done' as some would phrase it. Jimmy Carter was a man of principle. And he wasn't perfect, by any means. But he, in a lot of senses, was a president before his time.... maybe. :D
     
  6. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    Please spare me the effort, LOL. I don't think I could sit through another slobberfest over Carter.
     
  7. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Laugh all you want, but Carter still leads in the polls and that's an undeniable fact... as of now. :D
     
  8. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    Adds new meaning to "only on RF". :)


    Speaking of which.... I see Barry Obama is doing well. Oh well, at least one person thinks he rocks. :)
     
  9. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    This might be one of the few times we agree on something! ;)


    Seriously though.... I don't know why there aren't more people in here...VOTING on THEIR FAV PRESSY.
     
  10. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    I'm more uncomfortable with lawyers becoming politicians.
    Carter & Reagan both fare well by this standard.
     
  11. F0uad

    F0uad Well-Known Member

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    If i had to choose i would go for JFK. Any one that had a friendly foreign policy scores points.
     
  12. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    Hmm. He didn't exactly handle Iran's "smooth" transition from secular pro-American dictatorship under the Shah into becoming the totalitarian Islamist theocracy we see blighting the world today did he? Iran went from one vicious dictator to another under Him. I actually read that Carter thought it would be beneficial having an extreme Islamist state on the borders of the Soviet Union as a kind of buffer. That is naivety in the extreme. A monumental miscalculation that we are still paying for, as was his support for the Shah's oppression which helped create the 1979 Revolution.

    I think Carter was one of the worst presidents in American history. He should have stayed on his peanut farm IMHO.

    Don't get me wrong. Carter had great intentions. He was a fervently idealistic man. Nonetheless I prefer to see actual muscle rather than ideals that go up like puffs of smoke.

    In my opinion the greatest President of the 20th century was FDR. He came to power at a time when the United States was rocked by the worst financial crisis in its history.

    LBJ's "Great Society" reforms built upon the New Deal legislation that FDR had implemented in the 30s.

    FDR also recognised that the US could not retreat within its continental boundaries and like an ostrich isolate itself from the rest of the world. He understood that a defence policy based upon that in the face of the European dictators and the Imperial Japanese expansionism was madness and was basically a recipe for future provocations. He was proved right when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941.

    I also admire FDR's personal strength of will in the face of his struggles with crippling disability. That is admirable in such a high-profile figure.

    His speeches and presence got his country through the war. The US achieved an economic miracle during WW2. In 1938 it had a smaller army than tiny Romania and at the start of the war it lost the Battle of the Philippines to the Japanese because it simply did not have enough raw materials.

    By 1945, the US was the most powerful country in the world and had truly become the "arsenal of democracy". America was pumping out more weapons, planes, tanks etc. for the Allied cause than any other country quadrupled.

    Under FDR America went from isolationism to become the world superpower. He should be praised for his firm opposition to the Nazis and Japanese, as well as for his continual attempts to awaken the US to the threats it faced off both coasts.

    Plus, his speeches were awesome ie

    [youtube]NygesJGqIdw[/youtube]
    Franklin D. Roosevelt Speech (WW2 in HD Ending) - YouTube

    I would have put LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) on an equal footing with FDR had he not instigated the catastrophe that was the Vietnam War in which the US' public image worldwide dropped like a landslide as people saw agent orange being dropped on civilians and the US bogged down in a costly and fruitless war. LBJ himself called it a "***** of a war".

    LBJ did much good beside Vietnam however.

    From Wikipedia all the great things LBJ achieved:

     
    #52 Vouthon, Apr 20, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
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  13. Alceste

    Alceste Vagabond

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    said a guy who voted for Ronald Reagan of all people.
     
  14. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Wait... American was involved in Iran long before Carter. And the Iranian Revolution started 8 months into his presidency. I didn't realize Iran was just a little thing that president's have control the course of their histories in and so forth. Though, we should have never supported the Shaw, I just don't understand how this makes him the worst president in the world...

    But bombing Southeast Asia with the equivocal force of a thousand tons of dynamite per person for years is totally okay?
     
  15. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    I am therefore surprised that Carter is currently 1 point ahead of FDR.

    His Iran policy was a disaster. Continued support for the Shah's regime, with meak calls for political liberalization that merely accelerated his loss of power to Ayatollah Khomeini and his even worse regime. Carter's UN ambassador, Andrew Young, called Khomeini "a kind of saint." Ambassador Sulllivan who was Carter's envoy to Tehran during the Islamic Revolution called Khomeini a "Ghandi-like figure." He actually thought that Iran under Khomeini would serve as a buffer vs the Soviet Union! What!? :eek:

    Carter received a rude awakening with the Iranian hostage crisis.

    A case in point of his extreme idealism without a shred of practicality.

    FDR would never have been so naïve in his foreign policy.
     
  16. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    Dear Dust1 :D

    Thank your for your reply!

    I am sorry if I get heated about Carter. Really I am. I just don't think he deserves the acclaim he is receiving in this thread. As a person he was likeable and good hearted however as a President I think that he was simply dreadful. He came in on a wave of idealism about how he was going to stop the US being involved in foreign wars after Vietnam...Well, his presidency ended tragically.

    On LBJ, as I said the Vietnam war was certainly not "OK". It was a disgrace and LBJ deserves every calumny for it, however he did achieve much in domestic policy like no other President before or after. His record on civil rights legislation and welfare policies was highly commendable.

    It is a travesty that a man so successful at home was such a disaster abroad. Vietnam has scarred his reputation - deservedly - forever.
     
  17. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    I don't blame him for that. In fact, I don't blame anyone for that. It was a risk that had to be taken, and it was out of his control.

    Sure, Iran is... thorny at best. But it was worse, if different, before.


    As opposed to having the sole vicious dictator since 1941, one that made the Iranian Revolution so inevitable and so destructible. I wonder how can anyone use that as a strike against Carter. I can only assume that it arises from a lack of desire of acknowledging how oppressive and unstable the regime of Reza Pahlavi was. If Iran is such a dangerous, unreasonable country today, it comes mainly because they were frozen in place without a chance of learning better.

    It is not Jimmy Carter's fault that the mess had grown so big before he ever set foot in office. Or that his successors so often failed to notice the rather obvious fact that demonizing Iran is not conductive to peace.



    Why do you blame a POTUS that began his term in 1976 for "helping create" a situation that dates back to 1963 at the very least? How do you propose that Jimmy Carter should have handled Iran? Certainly not by sending troops, I hope.


    A common sentiment, as I understand it, and much of the reason why Reagan was ellected. All the same, I can't help but feel that it is deeply misguided.


    Muscle was worse than useless at the time, and to this day we keep learning that muscle creates more problems than it solves when it comes to US foreign policy. Jimmy Carter refused to play a GWB on Iran, and I commend him for that.
     
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  18. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    Dear Luis,

    Thank you for the informative post.

    I truly do not understand Carter's Iran policy. It is a mystery to me even now. On the one hand he continues to support the Shah. Months before the revolution, on New Year's Eve, 1977, he participates in a televised toast to the Shah, declaring how beloved the Shah is to his people. Was he not aware of the situation on the ground? In his inaugural speech he stated that "our commitment to human rights must be absolute." Well, where was it in 1977 with regards to Iran? I think Carter talked a good talk but when it came to it could not walk the walk.

    While the Pahlavis dined in splendour, most Iranians outwith the westernized hubs of Tehran were starving. His words did much to inflame anger towards America. Many ordinary Iranians started to believe, thanks to Carter, that Khomeini's propaganda about America being a mighty Satan afflicting the world was true. Now, Iranians had lost faith in the US after the CIA overthrew Mossadegh. However why did Carter not turn a new leaf? Why not say that he wanted to maintain good relations with the Shah but could not in good faith cooperate fully until he brought in liberal reforms so as to acquiesce the public and stop the bolstering support for Khomeini, a dangerous fanatic, in exile who continually threatened the US?

    This clearly made many protestors in Iran see him as an enemy.

    On the other hand, he then praises Khomeini and opines that if he came to power it would aid the US in the Cold War against Soviet Russia, clearly oblivious to the fact that Khomeini's ideology regarded the United States as the "Great Satan" with whom there could be no reconciliation. Surely he had intel on this?

    His policy simply just makes no sense to me at all. Who knows what Carter really thought about anything? He was literally all over the place when it came to Iran, one minute loving the Shah, the next declaring that Khomeini was the second coming of Ghandi...

    Then, as if in contradiction to his new-found praise for Khomeini, he permits the Shah to receive medical care in the US. This bolstered the Iranian revolutionaries' anti-Americanism and spawned rumours of another U.S.-backed coup to put the Shah back in power. Every Iranian knew about that televised toast in 1977 when Carter had been gushing with praise for the Shah while enjoying a million dollar state-funded feast of wine, entertainment and delicious food. Who could blame them for thinking this?

    The Ayatollah heightened this by claiming that Carter's Administration showed "evidence of American plotting". Carter gave Khomeini much ammunition what with the 1977 "toast", numerous other gestures towards the Shah and now this.

    I don't blame Carter for the mistakes of his predecessors. As we both know the CIA has to share a great deal of blame for working with Britain to overthrow Mossadegh's popular government in the 50s, thereby crushing any hope of the Iranian Majlis being truly constitutional and representative.

    However he did not take strong enough stances. IMHO he should have, while calling for liberalization in Iran and the stopping of aid to the Shah until he resurrected constitutional government, been firmer in his opposition to Khomeini.

    He seemed to trust that Khomeini would cooperate with the US when even American newspapers had published Khomeini's prior comments about waging war against the US and creating a new world order. If newspapers knew this, I cannot for a minute think that Carter alone, with his advanced secret services, was unaware of the Ayatollah's intentions towards his country.

    I never claimed that it was, however I believe that history proved that he was not the right man to deal with such a complex foreign affair. He did not have the skill or acumen to properly understand the feelings of the Iranian populace, or the intentions of Khomeini which were loud and clear to anybody even remotely aware of what was going on.

    Khomeini said in an interview in 1979, "there can be no compromises with the enemies of Islam". He said that President Sadat of Egypt, a devout Muslim who labelled him a "lunatic, a disgrace to Islam", was not a "Muslim" because he cooperated with America.

    I do not for the life of me understand why Carter's Administration considered Khomeini to be a Ghandi-type figure with whom they could ally themselves.

    I think it was a monumental mistake, the consequences of which are still with us today.

    Obviously I wouldn't have supported military intervention.

    Carter was a man of contradictions. On the one hand he strongly opposed the Soviet Union on its human rights record, while continuing to support the Indonesian government even when it was involved in acts of genocide during the occupation of East Timor. Between 100–180,000 soldiers and civilians are estimated to have been killed or starved in East Timor. So, in effect, Carter ends détente with the Soviet Union that had been pursued since Nixon and humiliates Russia by boycotting the 1980 Moscow Olympics on account of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, while not saying a word against Indonesia over its invasion of East Timor. That makes little sense to me. The man who claimed that human rights is "the cause that has been closest to my heart" does not change one iota Ford's policy towards Indonesia. He carries it on. He gave primacy to good relations with Indonesia rather than the lives of East Timorians.

    In late 1977 he sent 112 million dollars of arms to Indonesia's brutal government, a 13 million dollar rise from the year before. Then in 1978 he sold them 16 fighter jets.

    For these reasons, I cannot understand why people praise him for his principles. He had good principles but I see little evidence that he stuck by them.

    Now, I'll admit that he cut aid to the South American dictatorships over their human rights abuses, however he did not have a consistent policy as he promised he would. Rather he was just as contrary, if not more, than many of his predecessors.

    Sometimes I think that sentiments are commonly believed because most people know them to be accurate.

    For a man that preached so much about humanitarian concerns as Carter, I personally would have liked to have seen some meat on the bone of those principles.
     
    #58 Vouthon, Apr 20, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  19. Alceste

    Alceste Vagabond

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    I don't value militancy as a positive quality in a leader.
     
  20. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    You're welcome. You seem to have a perhaps more informed perspective than mine when it comes to the 1970s. Let's see what I can learn from contrasting it with mine.


    I think it all comes down to whether there were better approaches available. I am not convinced that there were. It is not at all clear to me that Iran during 1976-1979 could be handled better than Jimmy Carter did. Not by a POTUS anyway. Perhaps by Iranians, but I fear that the needed numbers of mature, well-meaning and unafraid Iranians simply did not exist anymore, and probably will not for a generation or two still.

    Far as I can tell, Carter realized that the feelings of revolt had grown too deep as of 1976 to be usefully contained any more. The Iranian revolution, misguided itself as I sincerely feel it to be, was probably inevitable. So he resigned himself to accepting it and attempting to lend Pahlavi a measure of dignity and safety.

    What else could he have done that would be better, anyway? I can't think of anything. Can you?



    The belief certainly came to pass and survives to this day. How or why Carter is particularly responsible for it, I fail to see. In fact, I fail to see how he could do much to influence it at all.



    Do you see that as an actual possibility at all? It is my understanding that a POTUS can hardly expect to be taken seriously while making that kind of demands from, say, Texas. Surely it is much more difficult to be influential to a whole, very different culture that is already quite mistrusting of the US, with fairly good justification.

    Attempting to rule Iran by proxy would make him guilty of the very problem we are all hoping to see solved. And honestly, I don't think it would even solve anything. It just can't work.


    Anything short of threatening to use military force against Pahlavi's rule would make them see Carter and the US as the enemy. And even that would only give them pause as opposed to buy their good will or trust.


    Surely. I don't think he was oblivious so much as resigned, or perhaps sober would be a better word.



    Maybe your expectations are unreasonable.



    That I just don't see. Carter, far as I can tell, made a point of attempting to secure the personal safety of the Shah, not his rule (and that was enough of a challenge, as you surely realize). And he realized that there was no point in accepting the invitation to pose as Iran's sworn, Satan-infused enemy.

    That was probably infuriating and deeply frustrating to those who dreamed of or believed in the possibility of Iran somehow magically deciding that it wasn't very mistrusting or resentful of the US of A after all. I am not one of those. Trust must be earned, and it takes both freedom of choice and time for the earning to consolidate.

    Far as I can tell, Iran's rebellion was unavoidable, and attempting to reign it in (even today) usually causes more harm than good.



    That is by no means a contradiction. It is basic human decency, as well as effectively opening the way for the most peaceful transition possible. Everyone knew that the Shah could hardly expect to ever return to Iran, nor could he rule from what was in effect a flight into exile.

    Are you suggesting that Jimmy Carter should have bought a measure of Iran's cooperation with Pahlavi's head instead? That would be unwise, of little use, and morally bankrotten.


    Maybe it did, but I doubt it did so to any significant degree. Its main effect was denying Khomeini's people the chance to hang Pahlavi. And it also made the point that Carter is serious about human rights, even when it would be politically convenient for him to double back.

    He had the upper ground. It is too bad, and rather shameful, that so few cared, either in the US or in Iran.



    That is a very good question. Another is what he could possibly do to erase that feeling. I don't particularly believe that Carter approved of the Shah, but one can hardly expect him to cowboy-bully his way into changing a whole foreign nation overnight.

    Of the options available to him, humanitarian diplomacy was by far the most sensible. And it was the one he took.



    He sure did. And so do so many other Iranians, both those in power and the powerless masses. I'm certain of that, and it actually means nothing except that there is deep fear and mistrust.

    There is no solution for that other than earning the trust back.



    I can only wonder what a strong enough stance would be.
     
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