Ranking the Presidents

Just in time for Presidents Day, C-SPAN has an updated survey of 91 historians that ranks the presidents from best to worst.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. George Washington
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  4. Theodore Roosevelt
  5. Dwight D. Eisenhower
  6. Harry S Truman
  7. Thomas Jefferson
  8. John F. Kennedy
  9. Ronald Reagan
  10. Lyndon Johnson

Of our most recent presidents, Barack Obama is currently ranked 12th, Bill Clinton is 15th, George H. W. Bush is 20th, Jimmy Carter is 26th and George W. Bush is 33rd.

Not My Presidents Day

“Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to attend demonstrations across the country to rally against President Trump on President’s Day,” The Hill reports.

“Rallies are scheduled to take place in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, among other cities. More than 47,000 people on Facebook have said they would attend a rally in New York City, and tens of thousands of others have said they will attend other rallies nationwide.”

The GOP’s Long-Term Structural Senate Advantage

Stuart Rothenberg: “These days, Republicans have a structural advantage in the fight for the House because of how district lines were drawn earlier in the decade. But the party’s current structural advantage in the Senate may be even more important, since it doesn’t depend on state legislators drawing favorable lines, and the Senate has responsibilities that the House doesn’t.”

“The GOP’s structural Senate advantage is simply a matter of numbers – the number of states that are reliably Republican or Democratic.”

Why Polls Differ on Trump’s Popularity

Nate Silver: “Here’s what we can say for sure: It’s unprecedented for a president to face so much opposition from the electorate so soon. Recent polls show that anywhere between 43 and 56 percent of Americans disapprove of President Trump’s job performance. Even if you take the low end of that range, Trump’s numbers are much worse than any past president a month into his term.”

“But beyond that, there’s a lot of seeming disagreement in the polls about exactly how unpopular Trump is — and even whether his disapproval rating exceeds his approval rating at all.”

“What’s the real story? The differences between the polls aren’t random, or at least they don’t appear to be based on the relatively limited amount of data we have so far. Instead, Trump’s approval ratings are systematically higher in polls of voters — either registered voters or likely voters — than they are in polls of all adults. And they’re systematically higher in polls conducted online or by automated script than they are in polls conducted by live-telephone interviewers.”

Joe Piscopo Mulls Bid for New Jersey Governor

New York Times: “While the daily whiplash out of Washington commands almost all the political attention, New Jersey is one of two states that will elect a new governor this year, as the eight-year reign of Gov. Chris Christie, once a national darling and now with historically low approval in his home state, comes to an end. And Mr. Piscopo is hoping to parlay his Jersey credentials and rising political profile — he campaigned for President Trump, and his radio show focuses on conservative politics — into a long-shot bid for governor as either a Republican or an independent in a state where Democratic voters vastly outnumber Republicans.”

“For the moment, the seriousness of Mr. Piscopo’s potential run remains shrouded in a statewide listening tour of sorts — meetings with union leaders, industry experts and elected officials, sprinkled with the occasional keynote at Republican county dinners or cable news appearances. If he decides to jump into the Republican primary, he has an April 3 filing deadline.”

The Crazy Driver

Graydon Carter: “Trump fatigue has set in, and set in hard. Even the Republicans, who have ridden this stalking horse into office, holding their noses in the hope that they can manipulate him into furthering their agenda, are now mulling their options.”

“Perhaps we’re all wrong, though. Perhaps the president is playing a game of chess and the rest of us are simply moving checker pieces around. Perhaps he intended his Muslim ban to create such havoc and misfortune that we would be looking the other way as he went about the business of dismantling the assets of proper governance. Perhaps he has just taken the crazy-driver approach to new extremes: when there is an erratic, swerving driver up ahead on the highway, you tend to pull back and give him the road. At a certain point, though, you wait for your moment and pass him, relaxing only when you can see him in your rearview mirror. Or perhaps he’s just trying to figure out which chess piece is which, and he really is a crazy driver.”

Wave of Democrats Run In Virginia

“Buoyed by a wave of progressive activism that began after the election of President Trump, Virginia Democrats plan to challenge 45 GOP incumbents in the deep-red House of Delegates this November, including 17 lawmakers whose districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton,” the Washington Post reports.

“In some districts, multiple candidates will compete in Democratic primaries for the chance to challenge a Republican incumbent. And at least one Democratic incumbent from Northern Virginia will face a primary challenge, from a local school board member who said Clinton’s defeat helped propel her to run.”

Putin Briefed on Trump’s Psychological Makeup

A dossier on Donald Trump’s psychological makeup is being prepared for Russian President Vladimir Putin, NBC News reports.

“Among the preliminary conclusions? The new American leader is a risk-taker but can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser.”

“It is normal for any president or leader to be fully briefed before entering negotiations for the first time with a rival leader, but preparing a detailed dossier on the mind and instincts of a U.S. leader is unusual.”

Democratic FEC Commissioner Steps Down

“Ann Ravel, a Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission, submitted her resignation letter to President Trump on Sunday with a plea to embrace campaign finance reform,” Politico reports.

“Ravel’s last day will be March 1. If the six-member commission loses two more commissioners, it will lack a quorum and be unable to take key actions — raising pressure on Trump to fill the upcoming vacancy.”

Rick Hasen: “I cannot begrudge Commissioner Ravel for wanting to leave an agency that is so dysfunctional, and where morale is among the lowest at any federal agency. And yet, things may now get much, much worse with her departure.”

Rough First Week Gives DeVos Glimpse of Fight Ahead

New York Times: “By the end of her first full week as the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos had already sparred with a middle school and a former schools chancellor in Washington, accused some of the school’s teachers of passively awaiting instruction and said she would be pleased if the department she currently runs did not exist in the future. She encountered an immediate display of the type of fierce resistance she will face as she tries to set new policies for the Education Department.”

Mattis Says There’s No Plan to Take Iraq’s Oil

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States does not intend to seize Iraqi oil, shifting away from an idea proposed by President Trump that has rattled Iraq’s leaders, Politico reports.

“Mattis arrived on an unannounced visit in Iraq as the battle to oust Islamic State militants from western Mosul moved into its second day, and as the Pentagon considers ways to accelerate the campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria. Those efforts could be complicated by Trump’s oil threat and his inclusion of Iraq in the administration’s travel ban — twin blows that have roiled the nation and spurred local lawmakers to pressure Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to reduce cooperation with Washington.”

Paul Slams McCain for Criticizing Trump

Sen. Rand Paul blasted Sen. John McCain over his criticism of President Trump, saying the nation is “lucky” the Arizona senator is not president considering his foreign policy views, ABC News reports.

Said Paul: “Everything that he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he has got running with President Trump [over foreign policy], and it should be taken with a grain of salt because John McCain is the guy that has advocated for war everywhere. He would bankrupt the nation.”

He added: “Actually we’re very lucky John McCain is not in charge because I think we would be in perpetual war.”

British Lawmakers to Debate Trump’s Visit

“British lawmakers on Monday will debate whether to withdraw an invitation to President Trump for a state visit — ­an offer extended with un­precedented speed,” the Washington Post reports.

“The debate, to be held in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, was triggered after a petition calling on the British government to cancel the state visit amassed more than 1.8 million signatures. A counter-petition urging the government to support the visit, signed by 300,000, will also be debated.”