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Monday, March 20, 2017

They're Dead Anyway

In which of the tiers below would you place each US President who has served in your lifetime? Try to recall the overall condition the country was in when the person first took office vs. the day that same person left the White House before placing them. And to help minimize online sniping, leave out the five living ex-Presidents - i.e. Carter, Bush I & II, Clinton & Obama, OK? Sorry to my daughter and her cohort; I know leaving out the last four Chief Executives leaves you with no one to place. 

Tier 1 is reserved for the historically venerated, like the four on Mt. Rushmore and anyone you'd add to that monument. Among the now dead Presidents who served during my lifetime, I place no one in that tier.

Tier 2 would be the middling group, i.e. the bell curve Presidents. Historically, I think here of John Quincy Adams, James Polk, Calvin Coolidge. For my money, all of the dead Presidents who have served during my lifetime reside in that middle muddle, except Gerald Ford. For the record, that group includes Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, & Reagan.

Tier 3 is for the real losers. In this dismal historical company, dullards like Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, and Warren G. Harding come to mind. I know at least one of my sisters will be unhappy I don't place Nixon in this pack (she might also be surprised I didn't elevate JFK to Tier 1) but all things considered, I'll stand by my placement of both of them in Tier 2. 

Tier 4 is the limbo group, i.e. Presidents who either had no chance for history to assess them because they died too soon - William Henry Harrison & James Garfield - or ... they were never elected but ended up a President anyway. Gerald Ford lies alone among the dead Presidents of my lifetime in this weird group.

Even though this Presidential scholar did not provide a rationale for the placement of his seven dead guys, if you comment here and put at least a few of your dead guys in tiers (who does this hurt?), I'll share my perverse logic with you. Deal?


  1. I am with your sister on Nixon and would elevate JFK to at least 1.5 although you might think that is splitting hairs. And if you can't accept that, make him a 1. He was so superior to the others. And Reagan wasn't particularly great in my opinion but not as bad as a Tier 3. He and Bush II are the most over rated former presidents (of my lifetime) in my opinion.

    1. Ines; Thanks for your comment. If I'd created a tier for the over-rated, Ronnie would have been my standard bearer.