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vcczar

What Makes a Great President?

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I just finished The Rating Game in American Politics, a collection of studies gathered together for a book in 1987. While the book is 32 years old, some of the criteria for greatness probably still exists today. I’ll list them, and then pose questions:

* Managed the nation brilliantly at critical junctions

* Strove to make society more egalitarian than opting to maintain the status quo

* Boldy protected what they deemed the national interests. 

* Had character, integrity, convictions, principles, etc, and we’re willing to defy their party and sacrifice personal opinion to maintain their integrity and principles  

* Active, courageous, pragmatic, innovative, positive, flexible, and charismatic administrators

* Keen perception and intelligence, exhibited shrewd judgment and astute political skills 

* Interpreted the Constitution broadly

* typically appointed able administrators and cabinet staff members  

* served more than one term, capitalizing on additional time to implement and further their domestic and foreign policy goals

* Had significant domestic and foreign policy accomplishments

* Had a long-range impact on the nation’s history 

All of the above are based on the mostly shared qualities of the “great presidents”.

Question 1: Are Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, Obama, or Trump great or near-great, according to these criteria?

Question 2: Which competitive Democratic candidate most has the qualities to become great or near great, according to these criteria?

Question 3: Considering these criteria were gathered from intellectual thought from 32 years ago, do these criteria still matter, and should any other criteria that is equivalent to these in importance be included?

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8 minutes ago, vcczar said:

* Interpreted the Constitution broadly

Oh so we're just gonna be partisan about it, nice

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10 minutes ago, Reagan04 said:

Oh so we're just gonna be partisan about it, nice

Their argument was that the great presidents broadly interpreted the Constitution in order to deal with historic crises. Someone that strictly interpreted the Constitution would James Buchanan the situations. There's a major difference--and you should know this--in broadly interpreting the Constitution and being unconstitutional. 

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1 minute ago, vcczar said:

Their argument was that the great presidents broadly interpreted the Constitution in order to deal with historic crises. Someone that strictly interpreted the Constitution would James Buchanan the situations. There's a major difference--and you should know this--in broadly interpreting the Constitution and being unconstitutional. 

Yeah but I'm guessing your definition of interpreting the constitution broadly begins where my unconstitutional does.

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1 minute ago, Reagan04 said:

Yeah but I'm guessing your definition of interpreting the constitution broadly begins where my unconstitutional does.

That would mean that you pretty much believe every president, almost every Supreme Court judge (those who interpret the Constitution), almost every Senator, and almost every voter, cabinet member, historian, etc commits or enables unconstitutional behavior on a regular basis. That just makes it seem like you're either living in an alternative history or wish to live in an alternative history. You're entitled to your own opinions, but they're clearly outside of the opinion of the historical and contemporary majority and of the opinion of the Supreme Court throughout most of history.  

There's no way in hell the Founding Fathers wanted to forge an inflexible document that made no allowance for a future passed 1787. We have clear allowances to be broad in the Constitution outside of the ability to create amendments. On top of this, we have extra-Constitutional modifications of the Constitution via court rulings from the Supreme Court and Federal Courts, which establish authoritative Constitutional interpretations. The fact that these can be reheard, overturned or altered ad infinitum through future rulings is a testament to the constitutionality of a broad interpretation. Other "unconstitutional" allowances are the contemporary powers and usage of the vice president. in the usage of using cabinet members or seeking advice from cabinet members for issues outside of their respective departments, etc. 

Not only do I think you--and others with a foolhardy view of a "strict" or "dead" Constitution-- are out of step with Americans and American history, but I think such a philosophy would stranglehold any government presiding during both critical times and during regular day governance in the 21st century. Such an off-base and incompetent philosophy of the Constitution would do more damage to the people and their country than Trump or Nixon. It's a Buchanan philosophy and leads to Buchanan situations. Ron Paul and other strict interpreters (I won't put Ted Cruz here since I think he'd use the established powers of his office if president) would be a disaster in a crisis. Imagine if he had been the first president? Or had been offered the Louisiana Purchase? Or had to deal with the Nullification Crisis? Or the Compromise of 1850 or Bleeding Kansas? Or states seceding and a Civil War? or the Great Depression? or Race Riots, mass urban poverty, and lynchings etc. leading up to the Civil Rights Acts and the Great Society? etc. etc. etc. 

While you are intelligent, this one opinion of yours is rather short-sighted, misguided, overall boneheaded, dangerous to America and its people, and also at odds with Constitutional authority. 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, vcczar said:

While you are intelligent, this one opinion of yours is rather short-sighted, misguided, overall boneheaded, dangerous to America and its people, and also at odds with Constitutional authority. 

Wow its really amazing how you extrapolated all that from the simple statement that you are much more liberal than I.

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What a president does is less important than what a president is.  To be president is to be a symbol of all that is best about the United States.  The president is the embodiment of our history, our culture, our morality, our pride of achievement, our ideal of a civilization.  The president should, in the harsh light of public scrutiny, exhibit all of our virtues and none of our shortcomings.

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2 hours ago, Reagan04 said:

Oh so we're just gonna be partisan about it, nice

Partisan? So, it's not like Lincoln, McKinley, Teddy, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, George W. Bush, or Trump didn't take a lot of liberties with strict views of Constitutional limits to get done their administrative agendas advanced - and unapologetically so? I think you have to stop pretending the issue the Constitutional originalism and strict adherence is a "partisan" one here. It doesn't bear out if you look at American political history.

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2 hours ago, Reagan04 said:

Wow its really amazing how you extrapolated all that from the simple statement that you are much more liberal than I.

Lol but tbh I lowkey agree with vcczar here

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3 minutes ago, Patine said:

Partisan? So, it's not like Lincoln, McKinley, Teddy, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, George W. Bush, or Trump didn't take a lot of liberties with strict views of Constitutional limits to get done their administrative agendas advanced - and unapologetically so? I think you have to stop pretending the issue the Constitutional originalism and strict adherence is a "partisan" one here. It doesn't bear out if you look at American political history.

You're right, I should have said ideological.

3 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

Lol but tbh I lowkey agree with vcczar here

I dont disagree with many of the things he said, I just don't like how he imposed those views upon me which he did.

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Just now, Reagan04 said:

You're right, I should have said ideological.

I dont disagree with many of the things he said, I just don't like how he imposed those views upon me which he did.

Given the many crises faced by the United States throughout it's history, it's very likely strict and unbending adherence to the very letter of Constitutional law would have eventually led to the death of the United States as a nation-state in the form be know it - permanent secessions and the adoption of radical new Constitutions, perhaps even new Revolutions, would have created something else (possibly more than one something else) in the place of the nation we know today. The U.S. Constitution, as written in a pure and strict form, is too fragile and brittle to deal with many of the great tumults the Founding Fathers could not have possibly foreseen, and the immense difficulty of amending the Constitution, would have almost certainly the nation "'falling on it's virtue" as an institution with such broad interpretation, as you so deplore.

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