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Who Is the Best United States President in the Last 50 Years?

September 19, 2011
English: Presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon...

This photo may not picture ALL of the U.S. presidents, but there’s a good chance that it pictures the best U.S. president in the last 50 years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ranking U.S. presidents might be fun on a slow news day, but the problem is that the rater’s biases always kick in.  One group with biases may call Ronald Reagan the best president ever while another group with biases believes his policies hurt the poor.  One group thinks Abraham Lincoln saved the country while another group holds him responsible for the War of Northern Aggression.  One group loves Teddy Roosevelt because he saved football, while another group, usually wives and girlfriends, hates Teddy Roosevelt because he saved football. 


With an election coming up, the American people will decide who their/our next president will be.  When making that decision, we should look back on our recent presidents, determine which ones were most successful, then see which current candidate is most similar to our most successful former leaders. 

Plus, it gives us an excuse to take cheap shots at politicians. 


Are you delusional?  Rating all the presidents would mean researching presidents like Taft, Harding, and Fillmore.  Let the presidential historians do the research. 

In fact, presidential historians have devoted pages and pages (and even more pages) to presidential analysis when most people have already made up their minds and will never be persuaded to reconsider no matter what the overwhelming evidence may be.  To save you lots of time (and save us from writing a lot of stuff that nobody will read), we have our PRESIDENTIAL ANALYSIS AT A GLANCE! 


JFK- He might have turned out to have been a great president, but we’ll never know, so we can’t say that he was the best (unless you absolutely hate every other president… which would be understandable). 

LBJ- He chose not to run for a 2nd and ½ term because things were so bad, and his Democratic replacement got landslided, and nobody looks back at his presidency fondly. 

RHM (Richard Millhouse Nixon)- Yeah, he had to resign, but if he hadn’t begun normalizing our relations with China, who would be holding our debt right now? 

Gerald Ford- Too short a presidency to rate, and he lost to Jimmy Carter. 

Jimmy Carter-  A killer rabbit and “national malaise.”  If you’re going to create a negative catchphrase like “national malaise,” make sure your opponent gets stuck with it, not you. 

Ronald Reagan- Any president would be proud to have a “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” moment.  On the other hand, Iran/Contra was a mess, but the American public has a high tolerance for scandals that involve protecting the U.S. and destroying its enemies. 

George H.W. Bush- The American public looks back kindly on this former president, but he lost re-election, and you can’t be the best in the last fifty years if you lost your re-election bid. 

Bill Clinton- Yeah, the impeachment proceedings were a mess, but the U.S. public has a high tolerance for scandals that involve getting some extra-marital action and lying to federal grand juries about it.  Wait!  No, we don’t!  How did he manage to get away with that? 

George W. Bush- Maybe the American public will look on him more favorably twenty years from now, but when your approval ratings are in single digits, then you can’t be the best in the last fifty years. 

Barack Obama- Once again, maybe twenty years from now we’ll look back more favorably… okay, probably not.  Let’s see if he gets re-elected first. 


As stated earlier, political biases affect the decisions of whoever is rating the presidents.  To negate this, we need a president who can appeal somehow to both sides of the political aisle. 

Therefore, the best president of the last 50 years was the one who made monolithic debt-driven government spending possible (liberal appeal) while at the same time promoting self-accountability in government (conservative appeal).  And that president is… 

Richard Millhouse Nixon!!! 

President Nixon began the process of normalizing relations with China and bringing them out of communism-induced backwardness.  Without this outreach, no other country would have been able to handle all the debt that the U.S. has accumulated over the last 30 years.  So on one side of the political spectrum, President Nixon should be seen as great because he made huge, out-of-control federal spending possible. 

Also, President Nixon is the only president to resign in mid-term, thus sparing the country from an ugly impeachment battle.  No, he did not exit gracefully.  And maybe he did not resign for the purpose of promoting accountability in government, but he resigned, and the country (after a rough spell) recovered and has done better than ever (at times), proving that that no single person is so important that the country can’t function without him. 

A president that promotes self-accountability in government while also setting up the nation for out-of control federal spending?  This makes President Richard Nixon THE BEST U.S. PRESIDENT IN THE LAST 50 YEARS! 

The best part of this is that we can say “Tricky Dick!  Tricky Dick!  Tricky Dick!” and pretend we’re engaging in historical analysis.

From → Dysfunctileaks

  1. Ryan Kantor permalink

    Nixon is actually pretty terrible for taking us off the gold standard. I don’t care too much about watergate.
    I blog about politics too. I’m gonna subscribe to your blog.

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