Friday, February 18, 2011

The problem with polls naming best presidents

THE HEADLINE on the POLITICO home page declared:

Americans rate Reagan best president

It then told us of a new Gallup poll that reported 19 pct. of those surveyed - 19 pct. - listed Dutch as their favorite. Lincoln came in second with 14 pct. And my hunch is that a majority of Americans couldn't name many presidents before Reagan of maybe even the first George Bush.

So what's the point?


FoxNewsFan84 said...

Or maybe Americans are just appreciative of everything President Reagan did to promote freedom across the globe and economic growth and job creation here at home.

Mencken said...

FNF84: Which American presidents didn't promote freedom across the globe ? But "freedom across the globe".... that's darn catchy.

As far as job creation, you might want to talk to the 11,000 air traffic controllers he fired in 1981, and then banned from working in their field for life.

Federal spending to boost economic growth is now considered wasteful socialism by guys like you. What would you call it when Reagan increased the deficit from $700 billion to $3 trillion? Or when he added 200,000 federal jobs? Or when he raised taxes in 1982,1983,1984,1985, 1986, and 1987?

Then of course there was that sticky Iran-Contra mess where his administration illegally funded Nicaraguan rebels by selling arms to Iran. Yes, the Iran we all know and love.. Paper shedder sales were way up though.

Again, you trot out your mythology here without doing your homework. Do you not care about facts or are you just lazy? And by the way, because you seem to value such things, Reagan's popularity rating averaged lower than Clinton's.

ScottWalkerFan84 said...


Every American president has promoted freedom across the globe. But only one had an instrumental role in bringing down the the iron Curtain and freeing millions of people. Take a poll of Eastern Europeans about their favorite American president and Reagan would top that as well.

The rest of your comment is just the usual left wing talking points. Yes, Reagan did push through small tax increases as part of routine political compromise. But they followed a historic, drastic reduction in the top marginal tax rates during his first year. That tax cut kick started the job creation and economic growth that we experienced in the 1980's.

God Bless Ronald Wilson Reagan.

PJJinOregon said...

I've never understood Conservative's adoration of RR. He ran budgets that were unprecedented (at the time) for the size of their deficits. He raised taxes in six of his eight years in office. And, of course, he had a wonderful smile and a professionally trained acting ability - not exactly the gravitas of Gingrich nor the wonkish demeanor of Paul et fil.

joe Hill said...

SW sycophant,

Nice attempt at revisionist history. So typical of your pathological type to claim myth as fact. Present us with some peer reviewed evidence and please spare us the nonsense that you claim as fact or your appeals to superstition.

The best thing I might say about the one who played second fiddle to a chimp is that he was one hell of a cheer leader. As far as the rest, it's mythology.

By the way, would RR be welcome in the GOP? I think not.

Mencken said...

Iran-Contra is a left wing talking point? You can't just blow off historical fact because it's inconvenient to your perception of Reagan's legacy. But consider Joe Hill's point for a moment, would Reagan's tax increases, his nebulous position on abortion, his immigration and free trade policies, his withdrawal from Lebanon after the 240+ Marines were killed.... would he be welcome in today's GOP ? I think that's a fair question for you.

What also is fair question again is why Reagan's deficits were sound economics and Obama's deficits are reckless in your eyes. For entertainment value, you might want to look up interest rates during Reagan's terms in office. At one point they exceeded 16%.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Menken, for your spot -on comments. I always love the way Reagan is credited for bringing down the Iron Curtain. The U.S.S.R.'s infrasctructure collapsed. It wasn't because Reagan magically declared, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

ScottWalkerFan84 said...

There you go again, Munchkin. Spouting off while showing very little understanding of the issues at hand.

There is no question that President Reagan would be embraced by the modern GOP. The small tax increases that you mention were part of compromises with a Democrat controlled Congress. Still, they followed the largest reduction in marginal tax rates in American history. The overall tax burden fell dramatically during Reagan’s presidency. Why is that so difficult for you to grasp?

As for the deficits, no one is denying their existence. But you have to remember that it was the height of the Cold War and most of those deficits were the result of a military buildup. The arms race played a monumental role in the Soviet Union going bankrupt and communism falling. Would you criticize FDR for the U.S. incurring massive debt during WW2?

Last, interest rates and inflation were sky high as part of the “malaise” that President Reagan inherited. I am not sure where you are pulling the 16% figure from, but by the time he left office they were far lower than when he was inaugurated. Virtually every economic indicator improved under President Reagan, including unprecedented levels of economic growth.

Sorry Munchkin, you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

Grumpy Abe said...

You can "pull" the first 16 pct. interest rate from what the bank paid me on an IRA, while giving me the choice to lock it in or roll the dice because they expected it to go higher. I, of course, locked it in.

Mencken said...

84, the height of the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, which was probably before you were born. 1962 was also the same year the U.S. Justice Department was investigating Reagan and his talent agency for unfair business practices. I doubt the Soviet Union started its collapse because of Reagan's business problems at the time.

The Soviet Union crashed for a variety of reasons. A huge investment in the Space Race, and the laughable inefficiencies and corruption of Communist system itself.

Much like the Roman Empire, the Soviet Union became too big and diverse to be ruled effectively, and quelling every uprising was costly both from a morale standpoint and economic one. How much money did they pour into Cuba a dozen other puppet governments every year?

The Soviet Union was already on its way out before Reagan. What finally did them in was their war with Afghanistan (Americans take note). Read up on the Afghanistan war's impact on the Soviets.

All these issues (and many more) contributed to the Soviets' downfall. Reagan merely pulled the shoes off the dead wicked witch after someone else dropped the house on her.

Your beatification of Reagan also ignores the efforts of Gorbachev himself to promote glasnost,
or freedom of speech and transparency in government. The Soviet government was so corrupt by that point there was little else they could try to save the system from itself. And what of the people actually living under Soviet rule? They get no credit for their struggles by resisting Communism?

Somehow the actor Reagan delivering the tear down this wall line carries more weight than their constant struggles and suffering?

84, worship Reagan all you want, but temper it with some realization that there were a lot of factors in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

joe Hill said...

Fine post that is supported by the historical record.

It is very apparent that the sycophant is well schooled in the Rovian politics. Blame the victim, pervert reality and create a crisis in order to destroy the opposition or to feed/steal at/from the public trough. Such is the game plan of corporate oligarchy and individuals like the sycophant are the tools.