“Barack Obama will go down as the worst president ever,” said Donald Trump in a recent media interview.
Before Obama, George W. Bush was accused of being the worst US president ever. Before him, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon were given that infamous label.
However, according to a survey of experts, Obama, Bush, Carter, and Nixon probably don’t deserve that dishonorable title.
James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce ranked consistently worse. These two presidents found themselves on the wrong side of the history on the slavery issue and were blamed for the events leading up to the Civil War.
Andrew Johnson also ranked poorly because he stood on the wrong side of history regarding civil rights issues after the Civil War.
Another president ranked consistently worse is Warren Harding, who was marred by a flood of personal and political scandals.
On the other hand, President Abraham Lincoln – who succeeded Buchanan and preceded Johnson – was credited with resolving the slavery issue and adroitly ending the Civil War. He is therefore ranked the best president of all time.
Other presidents who ranked highly include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.
For post-WWII presidencies, George W. Bush and Richard Nixon ranked the worst.
So far, only one ranking – the Siena 2010 poll rank – has included President Obama. That poll puts him at 15th out of 43 presidencies.
The rankings of the most recent presidents – Obama, Bush, and Clinton – are probably biased, however, because the events of their tenures are still fresh in people's minds.
Bush, in particularly, defended his presidency and claimed that history will vindicate him. If true, more objective evaluations in the future should give him better rankings.
Then again, history may not vindicate Bush. Harding’s attorney general said Harding was “a modern Abraham Lincoln whose name and fame will grow with time.”
History, however, continues to confirm that Harding is probably the worst president ever.