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Old July 4th, 2016, 02:59 AM   #31

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I'll start from Theodore Roosevelt since I only know much about 20th Century US Presidents. His best act would have to be establishing the modern Presidential model. His worst? Probably discharging the people in the Brownsville affair.

William Howard Taft... eh. His best was going even further than Roosevelt in his "trust-busting". His worst act was advocating and furthering the "Dollar Diplomacy" approach.

Woodrow Wilson's best was his WWI leadership and passing women's suffrage, although he did have to change his mind on that one. I personally find Wilson quite overrated and undeserving of being top 10. Anyways, his worst is definitely re-segregation, though his failure to follow up on things post-WWI like the League of Nations, and his failure to resign after the stroke all damage his presidential legacy.

Warren G. Harding's best act was actually achieving a "Return to Normalcy" and getting past the darker side of the Wilson administration. His worst was his blatant ignorance of all the corruption in his own administation.

Calvin Coolidge's best was restoring honor and integrity in the American presidency after the Harding scandals came to light, as well as promoting a more laissez-faire take on things. That said, his "limited governing" approach crossed into "no governing at all" at times, such as during the agricultural crisis.

Herbert Hoover doesn't have too many good things to choose from. He supported Prohibition and just about everything he attempted to contain the Great Depression compounded it. I suppose his goodwill tour in Latin America was a positive thing.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt has lots to choose from for his best, but I'lll just say it was essentially his overall leadership throughout the Great Depression and World War II - I find his New Deal policies a bit overhyped and mixed. His worst is the Japanese internment, though the Supreme Court packing comes up second.

Harry S. Truman's best was ending WWII with the bombs (a very difficult decision) and starting out the Cold War well with NATO, the Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, the Truman doctrine etc., but his worst act was getting bogged in the Korean War.

Hence, Dwight D. Eisenhower's best act was ending the Korean War. His worst was either planning the Bay of Pigs or the Iran Coup.

John F. Kennedy's best was probably the Cuban Missile Crisis, while his worst was the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Lyndon B. Johnson's best was all the legislation he got through, but if I had to choose one, then it'd be the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His worst, of course, is the Vietnam War escalation, which is the only thing keeping him from being one of the greats in my opinion.

Richard Nixon's best is a toss-up towards initiating detente policies with the USSR and reestablishing diplomatic links with China. His worst was probably Watergate because of how unnecessary it was and how it ruined the Presidential reputation for years, but his extension of the Vietnam War is right up there.

Gerald Ford's best was probably pardoning Nixon (which I know might be controversial). His worst might be his attempts at healing the economy, which were well-intentioned but didn't turn out well.

Jimmy Carter's best would've been the SALT II treaty if it actually did anything. As it is, his environmental/energy policies are probably his best. The Iran Hostages were the worst part of his Presidency which probably cost him re-election.

Ronald Reagan's best were probably easing US-USSR relations with his negotiations with Gorbachev. Iran-Contra was the big black mark on his presidency.

George H.W. Bush's best act was Panama, since post-1990 acts can't be included (Soviet relations and the Gulf War). His worst? Hard to say, since this is pre-1990, meaning his pardoning of those complicit in the Iran-Contra Affair and his decision to raise taxes (which killed off his attempt at re-election) can't be counted. I don't think he made any serious missteps before 1990, to be honest.

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Old July 4th, 2016, 06:09 AM   #32
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Best act - Nixon - resigning.
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Old July 5th, 2016, 05:06 PM   #33
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If being snide I'd say:

Worst act of each president - being sworn in. Best act of each president, standing down at the end of his term.
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Old July 5th, 2016, 07:16 PM   #34

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bump.
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Old July 6th, 2016, 07:17 AM   #35

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax Historian View Post
Best act - Nixon - resigning.
Let me start by saying I am not a fan of Nixon. To me, though, it is odd how his involvement in the Watergate cover up has branded him. Most presidents who have followed have , dare I say, misinformed (i.e., lied) to the American public and have probably been involved in some sort of espionage/shenanigans with the political parties/systems, be it domestic or foreign. Nixon's feeble attempt looks like kid's play to me.
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Old July 6th, 2016, 07:38 AM   #36

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Here are some good things Nixon did -

https://sites.google.com/a/lakewoodc...ccomplishments
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Old July 6th, 2016, 07:40 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodger View Post
Let me start by saying I am not a fan of Nixon. To me, though, it is odd how his involvement in the Watergate cover up has branded him. Most presidents who have followed have , dare I say, misinformed (i.e., lied) to the American public and have probably been involved in some sort of espionage/shenanigans with the political parties/systems, be it domestic or foreign. Nixon's feeble attempt looks like kid's play to me.
I don't know about all that, but Watergate was only one of many reasons I was glad to see him go.
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Old July 7th, 2016, 12:25 PM   #38

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See also -

?New revelations from the Nixon tapes - CBS News

He was suborning perjury. That's worse than committing perjury.
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Old July 8th, 2016, 01:44 AM   #39

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Reagan's stealing of Carter's notes prior to the 1980 debate could've well been another Watergate, if not worse, but I don't believe it was ever exposed at the time.

Anyway, the worst part of Watergate isn't even the immediate offense. It's the damage to the integrity and reputation of the US presidency, which wasn't healed until Reagan came along. Had Reagan's note-stealing or the Iran-Contra affair turned into another Watergate, the US would probably have lost all faith in the Presidency.
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Old July 10th, 2016, 01:39 AM   #40

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JFK-Moon landings/Bay of Pigs

Eisenhower- fighting Cold War/mishandling Suez (reputedly his biggest regret)

Truman-dropping the A-bomb/not taking reds under the beds seriously

FDR-fighting WW2/not standing up enough to Stalin

Hoover; his humanitarianism/mishandling the depression
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