February 19, 2012

Ronald Reagan was the most influential President of the last 50 years.

Say 40% of Americans. Bill Clinton is in second place, with a mere 16%. If you add Clinton, JFK, and Barack Obama together, you'll get to 41% and beat Reagan. Oh, basically, the country's split in 2, Republican and Democrat, but the Republicans' minds lock easily and immediately onto the same man.

87 comments:

chickenlittle said...

From the link: Americans continue to believe Ronald Reagan is the most influential president of the last half century, but they are a bit more divided over which president should be next in line to be honored by a federal holiday.

I'd like to see the question #8: "Are there too many federal holidays already, not enough federal holidays or is the number of federal holidays about right?"

bagoh20 said...

Reagans influence is pretty clear - he made the conservative case and reversed decades of liberal dominance.

What was the influence that Clinton brought, or any others since Reagan for that matter?

edutcher said...

Sounds like there may be 2 1/2 Conservatives for every Lefty.

And I thought Presidents' Day took care of that whole Birthday thing.

I mean, do the stores stock up on little cherry treats and hatchet novelties for Feb 22 any more?

Zach said...

Wouldn't LBJ be the most influential Democrat? The Great Society plus the Vietnam war are hard to beat for impacts on subsequent US history.

Mitchell said...

Reagan stands head and shoulders above the others for the way he threw a silver dollar across the Atlantic, and then across the Pacific, two years later.

bagoh20 said...

Domestically, there really is only one political question: Bigger government or smaller government?

Almost all politicians end up bigger government regardless of what they say, so to be exceptional you have to do the smaller government thing to stand out.

This used to be a big part of what made America exceptional too, but now it's only our military and foreign policy that's still exceptional.

Holmes said...

Plus, a number of the Democrats were split between Jimmy Carter and Obama, not being able to tell the difference between the two. These polls are always so unfair.

Alex said...

Honestly we overrate Presidents. America only elected Reagan because Carter was so awful.

Jess said...

Clinton and Obama have both been very influential; each turned a solid majority for their party in the House into a minority. In that respect they rank up there with George W. Bush. But Clinton's achievement was greater, because many of his voters hadn't been alive at the last time the Republicans had been the majority.

- Jess the robot

David said...

Influential?

Where's Obama?

History is going to see him as highly influential.

Unfortunately.

Alex said...

Like it or not, Obama looms large in American history. He's a pivot point. The Democrats will be in a disastrous state once he's done his 2nd term. There is no successor to Obama. He's one of a kind.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

edutcher said...

And I thought Presidents' Day took care of that whole Birthday thing.


There is no such thing as "President's Day", except among mattress salesmen. Officially, the holiday is Washington's Birthday, and I don't get it off.

caseym54 said...

You could also say the country is split into two camps: those who name the obvious choice, Reagan, and those who will not.

I imagine that if you asked folks about the previous 50 years, they'd all pretty much agree on FDR (although this might be because of ignorance of any other name and quite a few might name Lincoln).

I ♥ Willard said...

The correct answer is Nixon. His presidency changed the political landscape--particularly the way the American people view the role of government--more than any other president since FDR.

mariner said...

I think Teddy Roosevelt was the most influential Democrat.

mariner said...

;)

garage mahal said...

Ronald Reagan was the most influential President of the last 50 years.

Not bad for a tax raising RINO!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'm gonna have to go with Clinton on this one.

Carnifex said...

Garage is right. A decent semi-conservative president like RR blows away ever other Big government Socialist president since.

So just think how nice it would be if we ever got a REAL conservative in office.

And yes, now Obama will be considered the most influential president EVER, let alone any number of years. Because of his taking the country right down the cloaca maxima.(shit hole)

Hey! We can bring back Reagans' catchphrase!..."Are you better off today then you were 4 years ago?"

Obama-worst president ever.

S said...

I'm with Zach and Willard - LBJ's spending and escalation in Nam and Nixon's regulatory state deserve more recognition than they're getting. I'm not sure what impact JFK made.

Seeing Red said...

It's the economy stupid!

Lem said...

Without Reagan Obama's presidency would have been more unlikely.

Severely unlikely.

ricpic said...

Reagan was a blip. The country wants more goodies. There is really no other way to explain the equanimity which the great majority have shown as government has been transformed from limited to monstrous. They want goodies. But it's almost as though they also want to be relieved of the burden of liberty. Ergo the steady march from FDR to LBJ to Obama. Bush too. He was only too happy to be a part of that march.

chickenlittle said...

But it's almost as though they also want to be relieved of the burden of liberty.

Devolution "Freedom of Choice" released in 1980. Coincidence?

I agree with Willard because Nixon connects us back to Ike and the normalcy and decency that the left really loathes. But the media has taught us only to hate Nixon.

edutcher said...

garage mahal said...

Ronald Reagan was the most influential President of the last 50 years.

Not bad for a tax raising RINO!


This again????

Reagan cut a deal with the Demos - tax increases for spending cuts he wanted.

The Demos passed the tax increases (surprise!!!) and reneged on the spending cuts (even bigger surprise!!!).

That the Lefties have to lie about it shows that even they know it makes them look like schmucks.

But, of course, the Lefties know they can't win on facts, so they have to lie.

They'd like to do it to Walker, but, since then, Conservatives have learned you never trust a Democrat.

Chip S. said...

Reagan was a blip.

The USSR says hi.

traditionalguy said...

The USSR had a European limited nuclear war and occupation all set up to go by 1983, hoping to save themselves from a coming economic collapse.

But that doofus Reagan stood up to the USSR's surrogates who were loudly calling for Nuclear Freeze and opposing new mid-range nuke delivery rockets for Europe.

And the rest is history.

AJ Lynch said...

Who were the last two presidents who made most Americans unabashedly proud of our country? JFK and Reagan.

That is the job of a real leader- let's not get bogged down in the details of programs like Medicare Part D, Great Society, Obamacare, welfare reform- those things don't make us proud - they did not unite the country so they are not what I view as great accomplishments.

AJ Lynch said...

This new wv sucks bigtime. Took me 6 tries to read the damn 2nd word.

Chip S. said...

I think it's Althouse's way of getting a younger commentariat--weeding out people with presbyopia.

Simon said...

These polls are invariably answered a "who do you like best," and who else will we say?

edutcher said...
"Reagan cut a deal with the Demos - tax increases for spending cuts he wanted."

Sounds like the kind of pragmatic and literally Reaganesque compromise that someone should have suggested last year. Oh. Wait. We did, and House Republicans rejected it.

AJ Lynch said...

"Presbyopia" ...fear of Presbyterians?

Chip S. said...

AJ, Missing the days of wv humor?

Me too.

S said...

<< "Reagan cut a deal with the Demos - tax increases for spending cuts he wanted."

Sounds like the kind of pragmatic and literally Reaganesque compromise that someone should have suggested last year. Oh. Wait. We did, and House Republicans rejected it. >>

The tax increases stuck a lot better than the spending cuts. The Reagan deal was widely cited on the right last July in a "fool me once" context.

I'm not saying everyone would have gone along with a proposal that only implemented tax increases after and conditional on the implementation of the spending cuts, but many of the skeptics would have.

Mind you, I'd rather see credible deficit cuts conditional on economic recovery than attempts to clamp down on the deficit right now -- I don't think we should throw money in a ditch and set it on fire, a la ARRA, but we should expect to run a deficit when the economy is stagnant. But in the long run, I'd happily trade Clinton-era tax rates for Clinton-era spending levels.

Saint Croix said...

When I signed up for the war on terror...

nobody told me that it would involve word verification.

traditionalguy said...

Presbyopia could be the fear of a predestined cooling.

Lem said...

I agree with Garage..

Reagan was a RINO... nothing like the republican establishment that gave us Dole, McCain and Romney.

Beldar said...

If bad influence counts the same as good, or more, then Obama might rank up there close to Clinton.

Prof. Althouse, I for one leave fewer comments with the current anti-robot puzzle than its predecessor, and I therefore check back for replies less often. This is costing you a non-trivial volume of page views and comments, don't think it doesn't.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Reagan was often times uplifting and was good at making Americans feel good about citizenship, tradition and achievement. This, in stark contrast to the more-often-than-not dour and dissatisfied left.

I liken Reagan to the party goer that everyone likes to have a beer with; unpretentious, amiable (of course), positive and secure, with a ready smile and an encouraging, can-do attitude.

And then there are leftists.

MadisonMan said...

Good PR

garage mahal said...

Reagan was often times uplifting and was good at making Americans feel good about citizenship, tradition and achievement.

Fast forward to today where Republicans are lead spiritually by reprehensible dirtbags like Rush Limbaugh.

Carol_Herman said...

Now, in the year 2012, Ronald Reagan is dead. And,Bill Clinton has pushed his wife into Obama's administration.

That's really how politics "works."

While the GOP, for no known sane reason, has gone bonkers over abortions. (Which are allowed by law since Roe V Wade.)

And, using their own money, you're watching candidates appealing to the Christian right.

If it wasn't for Ronald Reagan? Then, Jimmy Carter would have won his second term.

What if a Mickey Mouse Toilet Seat Cover could run against Romney, in 2012? And, the toilet seat cover wins?

Patrick said...

Beldar,

Given the apparent effort involved in the comments, fewer comments (fewer comments generally, not fewer by you specifically) may be viewed as a feature, not a bug.

But, the same applies to me. Not page views, but comments.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

garage

Sad, how breathtakingly ignorant you and your leftist ilk, are.

Carol Herman

Incoherence is yours. What time did you start hitting the bottle today?

Sheesh.

AJ Lynch said...

In my dictionary, reprehensible is defined by elected officials like Schumer, Pelosi, Wasserman Schulz, Chis Dodd, Kerry, Maxine Waters and any DEM from Illinois.

Unlike Garbage, I am less troubled when free speech is exercised by a private citizen such as Limbaugh or Soros.

Though I am perturbed on a daily basis by the many MSM news readers who spout their DEM party talking points.

Lem said...

CAPTCHA tip.

If you are having trouble reading the words, hit the circular arrow immediately to the right of the query box.. you may be asked by Explorer if you want to Leave this page or Stay on this page Click Leave this page and fear not.. "Leave this page" will only refresh the test words.

This message has been brought to you by ARRRO.. Americans Rescuing Ronald Reagan from Obscurity.

As this post will attest.. we have been very successful.

hombre said...

"This is costing you a non-trivial volume of page views and comments, don't think it doesn't."

Not to mention Amazon purchases. Typing single WRs over and over even when you got them right was the pits, but with two words ...?

DaveW said...

I'm not sure how you pick anyone but Reagan as most influential in the last 50 years.

Reagan did big things. He bankrupted the Soviets and won the cold war. That changed everything. If you lived during those times then you know how different they were, with both sides having 35,000+ nukes on hair trigger 24/7.

I ♥ Willard said...

garage
Sad, how breathtakingly ignorant you and your leftist ilk, are.

Carol Herman
Incoherence is yours. What time did you start hitting the bottle today?


What a pleasant gentleman! Which reminds me... Doesn't this prove that we conservatives are "unpretentious, amiable (of course), positive and secure," especially compared to "dour and dissatisfied" libtards?

Yes,I'm convinced, this is another example of our superiority.

Chip S. said...

civility bullshit

Cedarford said...

It's a stupid poll for ill-informed cattle.

By any measure, the two most consequential Presidents of the last 50 years, measured in the scale of now-permanent institutions they brought in and foreign relations - were Nixon and LBJ.
With arguments either way on who was the more consequential.

Then Reagan, who will likely be tarnished by the great economic, fiscal damage wrought by he and his successors in applying "Voodoo Economics" and deregulating Wall Street and the financial community, plus the damage Free Trade has had on the middle class.

Then Clinton.

Then HW Bush. (For his tremendous skill in managing the Gulf War and in handling the collapse of the Soviet Union).

Then JFK, far too overrated. Inspiring, but short on actions. Save the Missile Crisis which people now think he precipitated by appearing weak and ill-informed after meeting with the Soviets in Vienna.

OK for the nation, but not too consequential - Gerald Ford

Left the country worse off for their time, consequential in a bad way - Jimmy Carter, Dubya Bush, and Barack Obama though he might do better in a 2nd term if the Christian Right gives him a gift-wrapped election.

DaveW said...

Obama has the chance to win though, as he's bankrupting the United States, which is a helluva lot bigger accomplishment than bankrupting the Soviets.

AJ Lynch said...

Willard- Even if you could use the smartest people on the planet, you could not make a credible case that you are superior to anyone.

You are a maroon.

rhhardin said...

Even great thinkers like Stanley Cavell at the time were terrified of Reagan, and Vicki Hearne as well.

Those are two people who consider themselves on the left but who write consistently on the right unknown to themselves.

They're working off a leftist stereotype of the right when they consider themselves on the left.

Roman said...

President Reagan is also the best president of my lifetime! Second isn't close.

Michael Haz said...

Is America stronger or weaker now, compared with when Reagan was president? Is western civilization stronger or weaker now?

For many, the answer is that America is a weaker country now, and western civilization is losing strength in the face of socialism and jihadism.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I heart Willard

Your post is most prescient (not).

Reagan was eminently positive, and for that I am grateful.

It is amusing, your failed attempt to contrast my acknowledgement
of Reagan's positive attributes against my disdain for utterances not attributable to you. This, in trying to smear conservatives as falsely 'superior'.

Sad indeed, I heart Willard.

I ♥ Willard said...

Mr Tread -

I think it's great that you set such high standards for the behavior of conservatives. The fact that you fail miserably in meeting those standards just goes to show how high they really are!

Have a super day!

Don't Tread 2012 said...

You too, I heart Willard.

Toodles!

chickenlittle said...

By any measure, the two most consequential Presidents of the last 50 years, measured in the scale of now-permanent institutions they brought in and foreign relations - were Nixon and LBJ.

LBJ did more for the trouser inseam measure and male anatomy than any other POTUS--I'll grant him that.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

It's really a testament to Reagan's incredible acting skills.

He convinced a generation of Americans that conservatives aren't necessarily callous, nasty, disingenuous douchebags.

Luckily we've got an entire commenting community on this blog who remind us every day of the gaping chasm between that plotline and the real truth. ;-)

Chip Ahoy said...

My favorite part was where he channeled the Panama Canal up through Sea of Cortez and through the fat part of Mexico right along the Rio Grande and into the Gulf of Mexico which was renamed Gulf of Ronnie but also drove all that sea-faring traffic into the Houston and to New Orleans ports thus revitalizing previously blighted areas. But it's the way the statue that they built strides the Gulf that impresses me so deeplyy, with one foot on Cancun and the other on Key West with his giant steel pee pee dangling over Cuba. Now that was a statement.

I'm not all that concerned about his canonization. If it's just a matter of a couple of miracles, that should be easy enough to clear.

Robert Cook said...

"...now it's only our military and foreign policy that's still exceptional."

Exceptional, how?
Exceptionally ruthless, dishonorable, lawless, and brutal?

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Now now, Rob. You know that conservatives need their absolutes. Nothing in this world worth doing a thing about unless you can reduce everything to black and white, good and evil, etc.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Us versus them.

Steve Koch said...

The country is split in 3, not 2. You forgot to include the indy group, which contains more voters than either the GOP or the dems.

It would be interesting to know who indy voters think was the greatest prez.

Jason said...

Reagan's domestic policy success is worth celebrating, but many people - including many Republicans - forget that most of Reagan's greatest accomplishments came in foreign policy.

bagoh20 said...

Reagan took me from a liberal to a conservative. I voted for Carter when Reagan first ran. Now Carter is my least favorite and Reagan my favorite of Presidents in my lifetime. So for me, that's pretty influential.

I can distinctly remember the depressed, almost embarrassed feeling of decline many of us had about our country under Carter, after Ford, Nixon and LBJ.

Soon after Reagan took office, pride and confidence returned for many millions of us and the nation as a whole.

I can't think of anything other than the man himself, his words and attitude being responsible for that. It was an amazing and powerful accomplishment in itself, even if nothing else changed.

I believe that change in attitude alone in the American people is what made the decades of prosperity that followed possible.

I know Reagan did many un-conservative things in office, but influential? Definitely and powerfully. I think people just don't realize his effect, because it was what happened to us, and our self-image - not what happened to our government.

bagoh20 said...

"It would be interesting to know who indy voters think was the greatest prez."

They need to see the results of the poll first.

Seeing Red said...

Exceptional, how?
Exceptionally ruthless, dishonorable, lawless, and brutal?

Brutal. LOLOLOLOLOL

Seeing Red said...

Awww, Ritmo, you don't like living in the real world? It's the EUtopian bubble, the trying to create Heaven on Earth perfectability of man progressive who does the ultimate damage.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

What's a matter, Seeing Red? Are you butthurt over how miserably Europe's "conservative" austerity measures are failing them when compared to the U.S. stimulus?

Ooops. A fact slipped out. Of course, facts should be no problem to someone as realistic in their dystopianism as you. Does ignorance help?

O Ritmo Segundo said...

I just noticed that this sentence actually doesn't make any sense:

the trying to create Heaven on Earth perfectability of man progressive who does the ultimate damage.

Does someone need to run that through Babblefish a second time? Google Translate?

Someone as reactionary as yourself should be careful not to give the impression that English isn't your first language. Next thing you know, you'll be /ahem/ persuaded, to "self-deport".

Here, I'll do you a favor and run it through the "Redneck" dialectizer. The crowd here will feel much more at ease:

th' tryin' t'create Hevvin on Earth puffickability of man progressive who does th' ultimate damage.

Now speak in a manner this ignorant each time you show up here. Remember, it's not just that your ideas are simple-minded and wrong, but you have to misspeak in the wrong way also!

Bart DePalma said...

After FDR, Reagan was the most influential president of the 20th Century. Every GOP candidate claims to walk in his footsteps. Clinton and even the socialist Obama have campaigned as Reagan-lite.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

I believe that change in attitude alone in the American people is what made the decades of prosperity that followed possible.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs wouldn't beg to differ?

The creators of ARPANET?

Really? All that was inspired by Reagan?

Man, what good acting will do for a country! I mean, other than keep an obvious phony like Romney from clinching the nomination. You guys must be asking him to be authentic or something.

One question about Reagan... Even though you say his "motivational speaking" is what mattered, you do seem to say that he should have been more ideological. How about the following bargain: If everyone else can blame what they see as his (apparently few) shortcomings on his Alzheimers, can you find it in yourself to allow that forgetting to be too much of an ideological douchebag might actually be a good thing?

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Bart, the title of your book sounds interesting. But the important part about not letting a crisis go to waste would be the part where you remind the Republicans to spend a decade before 1929 and 2008 making one. Don't forget that part! It's the best one!

Let's thank Republicans for doing their part to remind the country that they're infallible!

It makes their self-righteousness that much easier to maintain.

Don't forget, it's all about them!

O Ritmo Segundo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seeing Red said...

Dude, I'm not the reactionary. I think history has shown feudalism doesn't work. I learned the lesson.

bagoh20 said...

""I believe that change in attitude alone in the American people is what made the decades of prosperity that followed possible.""

"Bill Gates and Steve Jobs wouldn't beg to differ? "

No, I don't think they would. They enjoyed the benefits of the nations new found optimism and confidence like the rest of us.

I don't think they were big on stagflation or a high misery index.

Gates and Jobs were a very small part of the prosperity, high profile for sure, but more for riding it than for making it. Millions of small business people and entrepreneurs were the engine.

Seeing Red said...

---What's a matter, Seeing Red? Are you butthurt over how miserably Europe's "conservative" austerity measures are failing them when compared to the U.S. stimulus----



All our butts are going to hurt cos the Bamster's policies are going to make us land harder than was necessary.

Ohh, Europe needs oil. If we only had some extra somehow.

Alan said...

36.3% of Americans say Obama was most influential.

Matthew said...

I think it is too early to tell whether Reagan or Bush II's presidency was more influential. Both had world shattering events during their terms.

JFK just can't cut it; the Cuban Missile Crisis pales in comparison to the actually ending of the Soviet Union (though Vietnam might count, but I think his assassination cuts him out of the running). Likewise, Clinton's bombing of Iraq pales in comparison to either the Gulf War or Operation Iraqi Freedom. Obama has a chance, with Libya and killing OBL -- two things which, I'm sure, he won't mind being known for.

It's just a fact that foreign, world-wide events are more influential than legislative policy.

Jay said...

O Ritmo Segundo said...
What's a matter, Seeing Red? Are you butthurt over how miserably Europe's "conservative" austerity measures are failing them when compared to the U.S. stimulus?


Hysterical.

Um, the "stimulus" is 3 years old and we now have a higher unemployment rate than when it passed and have fewer people working than we did in 1984.
Want to guess how much the population has grown since 1984, bozo?


Additionally, we have more people on food stamps than ever before and the number of workers who have been unable to find a job in 27 months or more has shot up 83%, with their ranks now at 5.5 million.


If that is "success" then I don't want any more of it.

Ooops. A fact slipped out.

Not fact, fart, idiot. "Fact" doesn't mean what you think it means.

Fen said...

"What was the influence that Clinton brought?"

Clinton taught us that all the feminist harping about sexual abuse in the workplace was just horseshit.

Clinton got the feminist left to go down to their knees and swallow, all in exchange for a veto of a partial-birth abortion ban. Who knew women were so cheap?

Rusty said...

I ♥ Willard said...
Mr Tread -

I think it's great that you set such high standards for the behavior of conservatives. The fact that you fail miserably in meeting those standards just goes to show how high they really are!

Have a super day!


It's not that his are so high, just that yours are so low.

I ♥ Willard said...

It's not that his are so high, just that yours are so low.

I find it's very easy to exceed the standards set by Althouse readers. Who am I to argue if you think those standards are low?

Thank you for caring.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Spelling problems wearing on your tiny brain, Jaytard?

I really see this whole "Obama caused the recession and made it worse" argument of yours is going nowhere fast. Of course, you don't care because you know that no one listens to you in real life; you just insult with random numbers and stupid non-analogies on the internet, pretending context doesn't matter, pretending that anyone with a brain can't compare two different policy approaches that actually occurred in two different parts of the world, and with DIFFERENT results!

But we know. If you actually compared one policy to a different policy then you might come to a real conclusion. Better instead to talk your stupefied self into believing that Obama IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING BECAUSE HE IS EVIL!!!1!1!!

It was fun watching you talk to yourself like this. I bet when you masturbate (which probably occurs quite often) you convince yourself that you're really having sex.