Obama's memorability among presidents in 100 years time?

Now that Obama’s in the process of wrapping up his term as president, I think most people have significantly tempered their expectations of him compared to the wave of enthusiasm and idealism that presaged his election.

If you take the level of awareness today of the presidents we had over 100 years ago, you have the top tier, all star presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt), you have the caretaker presidents (Taylor, Tyler, Fillmore, Hayes, Harrison) and then the large mushy middle of various distinguishability.

I don’t think Obama makes it into either tier but it’s hard to know exactly where to place him. To what extent do you think Obama will be remembered in 100 years and how will he fit into the list of presidents?

One of the greats. No doubt.

Make your case.

Looking at a list of recent presidents, I think JFK, Reagan, Nixon and Bush II will be far more salient in people’s minds. Obama, I feel like would roughly tie Clinton (I?) in terms of memorability.

Not American, but my guess is you guys will look back with regret that you didn’t realise how good a president you had, and that it was just a pity so many roadblocks were put in his way.

Obama appears to be a good president and a proper statesman, I suspect history will be kind to him, especially if your politics continues down its current path.

First Black President is sufficient to keep him in the top tier of historical recognition for the foreseeable future.

Talk to some young people. JFK is known for being assassinated, and not necessarily anything else. Nixon is less known than that, and even Reagan is no mote than a handful of televised moments, for many.

I would venture to guess that the average high-school senior could not accurately describe one thing each of these Presidents did during their administrations.

Even after a century, there is still no historical consensus on the relative merit of past presidents. In my opinion, Obama will go down as one of the worst ever, but not for any of the reasons that are so often referenced in my forwarded chain emails,

Personally, it is my opinion that JFK had so much downside potential, the republic might very well not have survived eight years of his administration. Personas aside, Nixon served the nation better than JFK, by getting us out of a tragic war that Kennedy had been eager to foment single-handedly. But history was kind to the wrong man.

Too soon to tell.

The world could muddle along comfortably, in relative peace, in which case Obama will be remembered at the very least for being the first black President.

On the other hand if the polar ice caps melt, a couple of dictators end up starting a nuclear war or the zombies arise, he’ll be one line in a table in Appendix B, along with the other guys.

Too soon to tell, of course. If the ACA survives and is built upon for future health care policies; if Iran stays nuke-free for at least the next decade and a half; and if Cuba begins to open up over the next few decades; then I think he’ll be remembered as a top 10 President (and maybe top 5).

First African-American President
Healthcare Reform
Economic Recovery
Iran Nuclear Treaty
Killed Bin Laden
Dealing with an obstructionist Republican Congress
Potentially 3 SCOTUS appointments
Very Funny, can dance, decent singer

First African-American President. Did I mention that? And reelected, dammit.

Clearly one of the very best by his track record. He achieved pretty much everything he set out to do with obvious exceptions like Guantanamo.

Outside of first African-American President I don’t think much of his legacy or achievements will stand the test of time and many could still be under debate that far into the future. But I have a feeling that he’ll still end up being somewhere in the upper half; something like a Woodrow Wilson.

A couple of years ago the nearest town to me honoured a local artist, not on any of his anniversaries, but on the centenary of having his statue erected in the Market Square. This they did by re-enacting the event in period Edwardian costume.
---- Who he was I won’t reveal, but he was very famous; but by now maybe 10% of the world would recognise that name — and this is as it should be, because since him there have been 10s of 1000s of artists and the new drives out the old. —
But it got me to wondering: in a hundred years how many of today’s events will be ‘re-enacted’ in quaint old early 2000s AD costume ? Even now the fashions of the 1990s seem ridiculous; and our descendants will wear far different modes and be despising of all we did. All I could come up with was George Bush’s Mission Accomplished piece of live art. And after re-enacting that, they will go home and explain to the kids who Mr. Bush was.

Apart from his half-blackness, very little will be recalled of the amiable Mr. Obama: not even that, after 6 more ethnic presidents ( if it lasts that long, which is unlikely ); and less still about his struggles with Congress, because what ordinary person gives a flying fuck about congressional quarrels of the 1840s ?; but if recalled, it will be fondly.

Presidents,* like the leaders of other countries*, have always had a stench of vulgarity, and this has intensified over the last 100 years: Mr. Clinton, the nadir of vulgarity, made Harding look like a fine old gentleman; George W. Bush recalled to me that paperback of Dead Souls where it was argued the hero was so banal he could be the Devil. Maybe it is as well these creatures are mayflies of but a day.
A favourite poem I unearthed by William Goldsmith Brown puts all this in context:.

Some excerpts:

Where, where will be the birds that sing
A hundred years to come ?
The flowers that now in beauty spring,
A hundred years to come ?*

We all within our graves shall sleep
A hundred years to come;
No living soul for us will weep,
A hundred years to come,
But other men our lands shall till,
And others then these streets will fill,
And other birds will sing as gay,
And bright the sun shine as to-day,
A hundred years to come.

You can add expanded gay rights and acceptance to the list. He is the first president to openly support gay marriage, gays in the military, etc. Huge time for civil rights in our country.

Some sobering facts about the ACA:

So I am beyond both high school and college (and graduate school for that matter), but I do skew younger than most on this board at 30, so I’ll say what I know:

JFK: Most famous to me for being assassinated and a womanizer, he had a lot to do with Cuba and was a part of Bay of Pigs.

Nixon: Was not a crook and Checkers loved him. Was impeached because of Watergate. Honestly couldn’t tell you a single policy of his in office.

Reagan: Republican OG, made a lot of tax credits I believe, pardoned G Gordon Liddy. That’s it for me.

As for Obama? First black president is obvious. Policy wise he killed Bin Laden and also helped with gay reform. I think anything you can cite for what he did in office will only last until the next president changes it in some form or fashion.

Tragic as all that may be — although not half as tragic as the Right’s demented fixation on Obamacare: just let it go… — there is always laughter.
I see there the full title of the recent repealing act is: Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act
As ever, Wilde always, ‘One would need a heart of stone…

When I took AP US History about 10 years ago, we barely had enough time to get up to about 1960 (or maybe 1961, to be specific). Before that (including the very early North American colonial era in the late 1600s) was covered it in excruciating detail. The price for that level of detail was that pretty much anything after Watergate is blustered over. Though to be fair I did hear on the backburner that part of the reason the AP curriculum is designed like that isn’t “time” so much as “the events are too recent and they’re worried that it will bring too much of the instructor’s personal political opinions into the classroom.”

Like, I think we talked about the Cuban Missile Crisis and Iran Contra briefly, but I’m pretty sure we talked about both the same week, which is a ludicrously small level of detail for each era given there’s a couple of decades of history in between them.

A lot more recent stuff is covered in AP US government, but that class is by and large just to document the change in each branch of the federal government’s powers, with the biggest focus being on SCOTUS case law.

That may explain the gap for more recent events.

Not edit:

Granted, even though we covered it in detail I’m not sure I remember much about Grover “I served two non-consecutive terms” Cleveland’s policies either

So then, for what reasons?

Also the thawing of relations with Cuba and Iran could have many positive repercussions, as could ending the War in Iraq and the draw down of War in Afghanistan.