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Newsweek: Obama In Top 10 of Presidents Since Teddy Roosevelt

posted at 1:17 am on September 27, 2012 by

Obama at No.10 – really?

Despite having failed to stop let alone reverse the rising of the seas, Barack Obama has made Newsweek’s newest ten best presidents list, which gives readers a top ten of the chief executives since 1900. Newsweek, whose list unsurprisingly is dominated by liberal Democrats, gave this justification for selecting Obama in a caption in a photo slide:

Picking a sitting president in a tally of the best is tricky – history hasn’t had time to put things in a more sober context.  But the historic election of America’s first black president cannot be ignored.  That a man whose ancestors included a slave could become the leader of a nation founded to some extent in slavery is as much an achievement for the country as it is a marker for Obama himself.  Whether Obama stays or goes, his standing, as a fundamentally groundbreaking president will remain.

So, Obama deserves to be on the list simply because he’s black?!  Has affirmative action percolated into historical analysis? After all, such an honorable mention needs “a more sober context” with the passage of time to make an accurate and honest assessment.  Historians often talk about “what could have been” if a former head of state had lived.  You see this a lot with JFK, who is also on the list, and his 1000 daylong administration.

Of course, JFK steered the world away from nuclear disaster in October of 1962, proposed an across the board tax cut, and pushed our scientific community to engineer a mission to the moon.  By contrast, Barack Obama’s increased the national debt by $5 trillion, kept unemployment above 8 percent for over 40 consecutive months, and presided over the demise of the U.S. space shuttle program.

Newsweek staffers are making the rounds to promote the list. Contributing editor Sir Harold Evans — he’s also the husband for Newsweek’s editor Tina Brown —  appeared on yesterday’s Jansing & Co. program on MSNBC, where he said that the historians who formulated the list were looking for “active and effective” presidents who “enhanced” the ideal of what it is to be American.

Not surprisingly, government-increasing liberal Democrats like FDR and LBJ, as well as slightly more moderate big government Democrats like Truman and Clinton dominate the list.

Asked about why the list is predominantly Democratic in nature, Evans insisted that the Republicans in the 20th century were by and large uninspiring if not corrupt. In the process, he trashed free-market conservative Calvin Coolidge — who presided over an economic boom, low unemployment, and the reduction of the national debt — as unimaginative.

If by lacking imagination, Evans means a mind that dreamed up new bureaucracies and larger federal government, he’s correct. But the results speak for themselves, even if they don’t excite historians.


Originally posted on Newsbusters.

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a man whose ancestors included a slave is not correct. It should have read: a man whose ancestors included a slave(r). Obama’s Luo relatives in Kenyan sold their fellow Africans to Arab slave traders — they even converted to Islam. None of his relatives were slaves, at least not in the U.S.

As far as I’m concerned this is the most egregious omission from Obama’s bio. I wonder how this fact would resonate with the real ancestors of slaves.

erp on September 27, 2012 at 8:34 AM

He doesn’t even rate in the top 50.

Bitter Clinger on September 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM

There have only been 20 presidents since 1900. If you ignore McKinley (shot in 1901) then putting Obama at number 10 actually makes him a below average president.

Mahna Mahna on September 27, 2012 at 9:14 AM

In fairness, I would rank President Obama as one of the top 10 presidents of the last 50 years.

J.S.K. on September 27, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Worst. President. Evah.

Ace ODale on September 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Only number 10?


Jingo95 on September 27, 2012 at 9:30 AM

But…but…he’s our first Black Preezy…he’s cool…
What more do you want; you ungrateful, gun and bible clingers.

dirtengineer on September 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM

I would never consult Newsweek for the ten best of anything.

rickv404 on September 27, 2012 at 12:09 PM

@Ace ODale

Before you consign Obama to the “Worst.President.Evah.” perhaps you should make the acquaintance of one James Buchanan?

You know the President who presided over “Bleeding Kansas” and the creation of the Confederate States of America and the attack on Ft. Sumter by said Confederate forces?

So “Worst.President.of the last 30 years” certainly, “Worst President of the last century” probably; but unless we’re shooting at each other in organized groups in four months, sorry Buchanan still holds the “Worst.President.Evah” title.

History, it’s your friend.
It’s okay though, Buchanan was a Democrat too.

kenashimame on September 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Seriously, does Newsweek make anyone’s top 10 magazine list???

dentalque on September 27, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Obama is worse than Buchanan. Both presided over the destuction of America, but Obama’s actions are deliberate in their intent to destroy America.

pdigaudio on September 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Bleeding Kansas was 1854. That was Franklin Pierce, not Buchanan.

Side note: wasn’t Newsweek the publication that was sold for $1?

pdigaudio on September 28, 2012 at 1:43 PM