Poll finds Obama is the worst president since World War II

A new poll is making the news. When asked who was the worst president since World War II, Obama “won” with 33% of the vote. Only 28% said George W Bush. Third place went to Nixon, with 13%.

When asked who was the best president since WW2, 35% said Reagan, 18% said Clinton, and 15% said Kennedy. Only 8% said Obama.

This doesn’t tell us much, except that most of the folks that hate Obama really, really hate Obama (and the folks who love Reagan, which probably mostly overlap with the Obama-haters, really, really love Reagan).

On the plus side, he was 4th in the “best president since WW2” question.

Is this the big break that the Romney campaign has been waiting for?

We live in a very polarized world now, I suspect the current President, whomever it may be (going forward) will often rank like this due to both sides thinking the current guy from the other party is the worst thing since Hitler.

I have a lot of negative things to say about Obama as a leader, on a lot of policy positions I’m okay with him. I ranked him as the worst since Nixon in another recent thread, but I think it’s pretty close between him and Carter in terms of poor leadership. Our worst policy President was probably GWB just in terms of his decision to expand spending so much while cutting taxes.

One reason I rank Reagan so highly is he was willing (and did) raise taxes when he saw deficits growing too much. This was against some of the ideological things he campaigned on, but Reagan was willing to do what he felt was necessary for the country regardless of that.

I’d say the best post-WWII Presidents were the two immediately following it: Truman and Eisenhower. I’ve come to that view on Eisenhower much more recently, as I had a view of him as a mediocre President for a long time.

It seems pretty accurate to me. I don’t remember Carter well, but in terms of leadership ability Obama is simply bad. When dealing with world leaders, he comes across as wishy-washy & inconsequential, and consequently the US seems to have pretty much zero clout these days. (The fact that our current Secretary of State is a used animatronic figure from Disney World probably enters into this, but Obama himself isn’t doing us any favors, either. And he nominated Kerry.) Look at how recent major events have played out:

(1) Syria uses chemical weapons. Obama gives a stern “Bad boy! Don’t do that!” Syria shrugs us off, and in the end it’s Russia who convinces the Syrian government to declare its chemical weapons and ship them out for destruction.

(2) Russia invades the Crimea, and stirs up trouble in eastern Ukraine. Obama gives a stern “Bad boy! Don’t do that!” Russia says “Fuck you!” annexes Crimea, and is still stirring up trouble in eastern Ukraine, albeit with a bit more sublety than before.

(3) Iraq is falling apart. The Iraqi government askes the US for help against the rebels. Obama yawns and says “Well, I dunno, maybe we can find some advisors or something. I’ll see if anyone’s not busy today.” As a result, Iraq turns to Iran (of all people) for help, and it just said it’ll get help from Russia if the US won’t help them.

Aside from international matters, there’s also the fact that Obama simply cannot work with Congress. Yes, there are a lot of Republicans trying to stop him, but Obama himself doesn’t seem to be able to compromise or negotiate. He’s a “my way or the highway” type of leader. And as a result, he tends to get the highway.

And yet, around the world, Obama and ‘American leadership’ rate much, much higher (in international polling) than they did under GW Bush, even though the numbers are lower than when Obama was first elected.

No US lives lost, and main goal is accomplished (no more chemical weapons for Syria). Big win here. If he fumbled the optics, I don’t really care – nor do I care that Obama’s constant critics call him “weak” no matter what he does.

No US lives lost, and no idle threats made. Sanctions instituted that have real bite. Not a big win, but short of invading, there’s nothing else that could have been done. Obama handled it properly. What should he have done differently?

No US lives lost, and no significant military commitment. Obama fulfills status of forces agreement negotiated by Bush admin, and gets us mostly out of Iraq. Good! I’m very glad we’re not offering more “help”. Our track record of “helping” in Iraq is very, very bad. Obama handled it properly. The Iraq war was never “won”. McCain and co are wrong, as they nearly always have been (including their vaunted surge) on issues in the region.

This is complete nonsense. He bent over backwards to compromise and negotiate – and Republicans wouldn’t take “yes” for an answer. They made it very, very clear that their number one goal (before 2012) was to ensure Obama is not re-elected, and their number one goal after 2012 is to ensure, as best they can, that nothing Obama wants done gets done.

For most Republicans in Congress, their ideology is “if Obama is for it, we’re against it”. That can’t be negotiated with.

Something else to keep in mind here: Americans are deliberately forgetful about their own history. For some reason it’s part of the national character- due to our awesomeness, I’m sure.

I think the big question for us lefties is whether - 20 years from now or so - we look back on Obama with the same retrospective love and admiration that the 'Pubs exert for Reagan. I think the passage of the ACA certainly makes that likely, though to what I extent I wouldn’t know.

Which isn’t a measure of leadership at all. I bet the members of the Axis rated Neville Chamberlain a lot higher than they did Winston Churchill. The President you’re looking to for a good example of international leadership is Dwight Eisenhower. He was expert at conveying quiet, firm, strength. No bluster, no bullshit, but he worked behind the scenes to let countries know that he was in fact the most powerful man in the world, but in a way that kept America at peace but from a position of strength. Both of those things are equally important. The alternative is “war from a position of strength” or “peace from a position of weakness.” Both are much worse than peace from a position of strength. This is similar to the “walk quietly but carry a big stick” doctrine of Theodore Roosevelt, which also mostly avoided major wars.

So you don’t care that we’re not taken seriously by other foreign powers? That’s one of the worst things that can happen in foreign relations–and has fuck all to do with GOP critics.

No U.S. lives would have been lost if we had remained neutral during WWII, either. Not saying we should have gone to war with Russia, but I am saying that you can’t look at every situation and start with “were U.S. lives lost.” If you’re not willing to lose lives, you aren’t a leader, and might as well shut down the military, open the borders, and let the barbarians storm the gates.

The sanctions instituted against Russia have no bite whatsoever, the only real harm in them was the market response from fretful investors, but the lack of follow up sanctions with real teeth will mean that response has limited long term impact. I don’t really disagree that Obama couldn’t have done better, because we were outmaneuvered due to poor positioning on the Ukraine that goes back years and years, and Europe bears the blame for that as well.

The only way to avoid that situation would have been a more proactive long term strategy toward Russia, but that also would mean less attention on other things that are probably more important than Russia long term. It’s certainly not a win though. It’s basically just reality. The one thing we can and should fault Obama on is not being more robust in increasing our presence with actual troops into the Baltics and Poland. We needed to send a stronger message that former WP NATO members were going to be protected the same as Germany.

You’re talking about separate things here. The withdrawal from Iraq was a foregone conclusion, Obama tried to negotiate a BSA (like we have been with Afghanistan) to keep some number of soldiers there as advisors/trainers, and with it would have come some level of security commitment. When Maliki rejected that, there was no other choice put to pull up and leave.

The current troubles in Iraq is basically a de novo issue. Without a BSA in place there is no reason to materially assist the Iraqi government. In fact there are reasons not to–it sends a message that if you shun American help when you feel comfortable doing so, you shouldn’t expect it when things get bad.

And yet, we’ve still passed negotiated debt ceiling increases and budget CRs. Obama has no control over Harry Reid, if he did we would have had a “Grand Bargain” on taxes and spending years ago, but Reid decided it made more political sense to not have that and to continue his personal war with Republicans.

There is certainly a lot of “oppose anything Obama does” in the GOP, but both the Senate and House Republican leadership has demonstrated repeatedly that they are willing to ignore that wing of the party if the President is willing to compromise. He bears at least a good chunk of partial blame for not being willing to compromise and for not being able to corral his party’s leadership in the Senate when it’s time to compromise.

Much of conservative anger toward Obama is about things he didn’t do. People foward emails on how Obama painted Air Force One with his campaing logo, or how he promoted the Muslim postage stamp, or cancelled the National Day of Prayer, or a whole litany of things that feed on right wing xenophobia and racism. So you’ve got a whole segment of the population all ginned up to hate everything Obama does, tries to do, or just plain either didn’t do or had nothing to do with. This hard core of Obama hate is going to distort every poll of the sort. Perhaps the Hillary hate will be just as great, we’ll just have to see.

Do both sides do it? Hardly. The left hated Bush for things he actually did- like cutting taxes for billionaires and started two unnecessary wars.

It will really depend I think. The ACA needs fixed immensely, but it has some steps in the right direction, some steps in the wrong direction, and some things that are just bad policy. If/when it gets fixed, if it’s done by another Democrat in flashy fashion it’ll probably largely overshadow Obama, and he’ll be seen as the guy who could get the ball rolling but couldn’t get it finished. Sort of like how Kennedy is seen to Johnson, in terms of policy implementation. (Kennedy is almost universally beloved over Johnson for totally unrelated reasons, like his handsomeness and the fact he was assassinated–Obama is a decent looking guy but he’s never been that “Camelot” President and Secret Service protection is a lot better these days so thankfully Obama will not be martyred.)

Obama is kind of like a Clinton, but take away all of Clinton’s good legislative achievements he had by negotiating with the House Republicans, and take away Clinton’s generally firm but not-bombastic stance on international relations. What are you left with? Not much. Then all of his personal failures on leadership matters push him down to Carter levels.

Like I said, I think Obama is a decent Democrat President in terms of the policies he supports and pushes, but policy positions and leadership aren’t the same thing. Clinton to me didn’t have a lot of clear policy positions, but he understood leadership and performed capably, as a contrast to Obama. Reagan had really good leadership qualities, but a mixed bag of policies. But part of Reagan’s leadership at least to me is he wasn’t a slave to his policy positions, thus why he was willing to actually raise taxes when it was seen as necessary.

Well said. 100% agreement.

This sounds like Halperinesque pundit-speak. By which I mean it says pretty much nothing. I realize conservatives don’t think Obama projects manly strength, I just don’t care, nor do I think this criticism is valid. It’s meaningless. I care about what gets done and what happens, not about nebulous, poorly defined concepts.

It also has fuck all to do with reality. I see no evidence that we’re “not taken seriously” by foreign powers.

“Were US lives lost” is not the only metric of success, but it’s an important one, and in these particular cases, a very important one. I see no evidence Obama is not willing to lose lives – just that he’s not willing to lose lives for no purpose, which I think military engagement in either Syria or Ukraine would have resulted in.

There can be valid disagreement on the sanctions, but the “outmaneuvered” and “poor positioning” is just more meaningless punditry blather.

I do not think this would have sent any stronger of a message. We’re committed to NATO whether we have troops in Poland or not. I don’t believe a token force in either country would change the behavior of Putin at all, and a large force would be needlessly provocative, IMO.

I’m fine with this, and I’m glad we left.

Fine with me. I’m glad we’re not committed to getting involved. I’m not even sure if the military advisors sent are worth the risk.

I disagree strongly on who is responsible for this.

When has it been “time to compromise”? What could he have accomplished with compromise? What would Boehner, who through most of his term has been in constant fear for his speakership, have been willing to give on important issues? Obama has undoubtedly made some tactical political errors, but I think the blame lies far more with the opposition that has no interest in immigration reform, no interest in making the ACA better, no interest in any realistic debt/deficit reduction, etc. Everything that has happened has happened in spite of Republican efforts and leadership, not because of them.

Exactly. They like Obama because he doesn’t actually do anything to advance America’s interests.

Complete nonsense.

Not at all. Other world leaders can advance their own interests, because Obama isn’t doing anything to push ours. From their POV, he’s great. We’d love it if Vladimir Putin was a rotten leader. But unfortunately for us, Putin is a truly excellent leader.

People who don’t like Obama are prone to this kind of laughably oversimplified analysis of foreign affairs, I’ve noticed. I think the main problem is that they really believe the U.S. is always super-powerful and strong enough to get other countries to do whatever it wants, so whenever it doesn’t get what it wants, it’s Obama’s fault. That’s not how things work on planet earth, though. To make matters worse they seem positively offended by it.

Voters want all kinds of stuff they don’t want to pay for. In that sense, Reagan was ideal for that group. Bush, well…

Yeah, 33% foaming at the mouth hatred seems about right for this political clime. That’s the problem with these partisan surveys. A large percentage of people will just put down whatever they think will make their party look the best and the other party look the worst. If you put out a poll as to whether Obama sacrifices babies every full moon you would probably get a 25% positive response.

None of this is factual. Obama has done plenty to “push” American interests – such as disentangle us from costly wars, bring us closer to an agreement on nukes with Iran, bring to justice various terrorists (including OBL), sign treaties like the Nuclear START treaty, etc. You might not like some of his policies, but it’s only your opinion that Obama is not pushing our interests.