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Posts posted by RFK/JFKfan

  1. Presidents:

    1. Obama

    2. Clinton

    3. Trump (as of yet he's more of a Harding than a Nixon)

    4. W. Bush


    1. Obama (excellent campaigner, one of the best ever)

    2. W. Bush (captured the national spirit of the times, at least where it mattered)

    3. Kerry (would have been a winner if not for a lack of charisma)

    4. Trump (unprofessional...but managed to tap into something that perhaps no other Republican could have done so that year. The fact that the 'something' is quite ugly is besides the point, IMO, for this ranking)

    5. McCain (the Palin pick and the resortment to mud-slinging brings him down several notches)

    6. Gore (ran a tin-eared campaign and essentially missed an open goal)

    7. Romney (the defining moment was the 47% tape)

    8. Hillary Clinton (just awful, and made all the more awful by not exactly being a political novice)



    1. Obama

    2. Bush

    3. Kerry

    4. Trump

    5. McCain

    As for the rest, Hillary Clinton should rank pretty low here too. She blew clear frontrunner status in 2008 and even struggled to win against a self-described socialist who hadn't previously been in the Democratic Party in 2016. Romney also made heavy weather of winning the nomination against poor opposition in 2012, so he should rank quite lowly too. 


  2. Bill Clinton - Charismatic

    Al Gore - Uncharismatic

    George W Bush - Likeable 

    Dick Cheney - Uncharismatic

    John Kerry - Uncharismatic

    John McCain - Likeable

    Mitt Romney - Charismatic (in a somewhat artificial way)

    Sarah Palin - Charismatic

    Barack Obama - Charismatic

    Joe Biden - Likeable

    Donald Trump - Unlikeable

    Mike Pence - Likeable

    John Kasich - Likeable

    Ted Cruz - Unlikable

    Marco Rubio - Likeable

    Jeb Bush - Uncharismatic

    Bernie Sanders - Likeable

    Hillary Clinton - Unlikeable

    Tim Kaine - Likeable

    Pete Buttigieg - Likeable

    Elizabeth Warren - Likeable

    Andrew Yang - Charismatic

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - Charismatic


  3. 1) Considering Boris Johnson has suffered two defeats by Parliament, defections in his party, and is the first PM to lose power to parliament since 1894 (or is it 1896), how would you rank Boris Johnson as Prime Minister if his premiership ended today?

    If it ended today, he would be a failure on his own terms. If you don't achieve the fundamental goal that you promised when you entered the job, then you can't be regarded as anything else. Blaming those who oppose Brexit is akin to blaming the enemy when you lose a war. 

    2) Who has been the worst Conservative PM since they took power?

    Cameron, like his two immediate successors, was concerned primarily with tactics over strategy, but his relative longevity makes him the most damaging for the country. 

    3) Who is likely to be PM a year from now?

    My gut tells me that Johnson will have either worn himself out or will have lost power via a general election, or maybe even have been forced out by his own party while it's still in power. I'd say either Corbyn or Gove. 

    4) What do you think happens to Brexit?

    This I have no idea on. But I wouldn't rule out a May-style deal eventually passing via Labour votes, which leads both the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems having solid 20-25% support in the polls for the foreseeable future. 

  4. 6 hours ago, jvikings1 said:


    Cameron was actually decent besides the European issue.


    This seems like a "other than that, how was the play Mrs Lincoln?" kind of statement. There's a very real chance that his decision to make the referendum pledge in 2013 (which he didn't expect to have it keep, thus making it even worse) may lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom. It has already caused levels of political polarization approaching those seen in the United States.


    Brown was worse for the Labour Party than he was for the country. He actually handled the biggest issue of his premiership (the financial crash) well. 

    May was probably never going to be a success given that she doesn't actually believe in the thing that she was elected to implement. Regardless of Brexit's merits and flaws as a concept, big decisions and reforms need to be implemented by people who genuinely believe in them. Thatcher genuinely believed in privatisation, Bevan genuinely believed in a National Health Service, Churchill genuinely believed in defeating fascism etc. 

    Blair, like Thatcher, simply stayed too long. Domestically, however, his government had the best record of any of the past twenty years, even if that's not saying much. 

    As for Johnson, it seems quite likely that he'll go for a 'nuclear option' of holding a general election in the autumn. I suspect that the result will be similar to 2017, even after favourable opinion polls, thus destroying his authority and rendering him a lame duck. Michael Gove probably takes over in the summer of 2020 and leads the country to a 'soft Brexit'. This could all be hopelessly inaccurate. 

  5. 2 minutes ago, Patine said:

    To be pedantic, there's a fairly large school of thought that believes that Zachary Taylor was actually the first assassinated U.S. President - by poison rather than gunshot, but it was unable to be proven then (there wasn't even significant suspicions at the time), and it's far too late to definitively prove it now, and, if it's true, the assassin, and whatever group they were working for or associated with, got away with it and good.

    Indeed, and Taylor's body was exhumed for the purposes of this theory. This was the inspiration for the Simpsons episode 'Lisa the Iconoclast'. 

  6. On 7/16/2018 at 12:55 PM, pilight said:

    No, it's really not.  There are many age specific problems that don't affect people in their 40's and 50's, regardless of era.  Nobody worried that FDR was senile or that Lincoln would break a hip from osteoporosis.  People in their 70's and older are far more prone to cognition problems than those in their 50's.

    Except of course that life expectancy was 20 years or more lower in nineteenth century USA than it is now. Higher infant mortality rates do make the statistics on this somewhat misleading, but nonetheless, fifteen presidents have passed away prior to reaching the age of 70 without the assistance of an assassin's bullet. Of these, fourteen (or thirteen if you discount Theodore Roosevelt, who did suffer at the hands of a gunman several years prior to his death) were born prior to 1900. 

    Eleven presidents have reached the age of 80. This list is much more mixed, as it includes H. W. Bush, Carter, Ford, Reagan and Nixon, but it also includes both of the Adams presidents, Jefferson, and Madison. Most of the early presidents, however, hardly came from the most humble of backgrounds. 

    On the point about Lincoln and FDR, people didn't worry about their health for similar reasons as to why people didn't question the sexual orientation of James Buchanan, or the faithfulness of Warren Harding to his wife; it simply wasn't something that people either had much information on nor cared about, as the media wasn't as tabloidised as it is now. 

    As for cognition problems, here is an interesting article on dementia in the nineteenth century: http://www.dementiatoday.net/article/dementia-during-the-nineteenth-century/

    A key paragraph: 


    Together with his student Georget, Esquirol supported a ‘descriptivist’ approach, at least in relation to some forms of mental disorder. He reported 15 cases of dementia (seven males and eight females) with a mean age of 34 years (SD = 10.9), seven being, in fact, cases of general paralysis of the insane, showing grandiosity, disinhibition, motor symptoms, dysarthria and terminal cognitive failure.

    This is qualified somewhat by a later paragraph, which states that selection bias may have played somewhat of a role, but it's probably the case that concerns over mental health were not as dominated by age th as they are now. 

  7. On 7/12/2018 at 9:37 PM, Patine said:

    At least Thatcher, while many (read most) of her policies I find quite objectionable, had a head on her shoulders and was actually a far better LEADER (in terms of leadership qualities, barring platform or ideology) than Macron - or May, Merkel, Trudeau, and CERTAINLY Trump, today.

    Thatcher's cabinets were also much more impressive than May's. May's have included Priti Patel, Amber Rudd, Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson, Matthew Hancock, Penny Mordaunt, Chris Grayling and Liam Fox. Thatcher's included Geoffrey Howe, William Whitelaw, Lord Carrington, Douglas Hurd, James Prior, Michael Heseltine, Keith Joseph, Nigel Lawson, Norman Tebbit, and John Major. 

  8. On 7/12/2018 at 10:36 PM, pilight said:


    I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?

    Being a 70-something today is roughly equivalent to being a 40-/50-something in the time of Abraham Lincoln (who was 56 when he first took office). Putting aside age, however, many of the greatest presidents suffered from numerous health issues during their presidencies - FDR, Lincoln, JFK, Reagan, Eisenhower, to name the more obvious examples, and they encompass a fairly wide range of ages. Unless someone wishes to correct me, the likes of Buchanan, Pierce, W. Bush (also a fairly wide range of ages) etc had relatively smooth states of health during their times in office. 

    As I said in another thread, political nous is the most important factor in a successful candidate, and probably also in a successful politician. Experience/location/age/ideology/health/position/ pale in comparison. 

  9. Putin easily outranks the rest of these in terms of political ability. Xi is a distant second. Merkel peaked around five years ago. Francis has little business being on here, given that he's primarily a religious figure.

    Bibi and Assad are mid-rankers, perhaps upper middle on their good days. Kim is lucky that he's leader of North Korea. In just about any other country the bureaucrats would walk all over him. Trudeau is vastly inferior to his father, both politically and intellectually. He's just a telegenic, mushy centre-left liberal. Macron's politics are similar to Trudeau's, but he has perhaps somewhat more potential. May is quite clearly the most inept of this bunch, other than Trump. Trump is however a better campaigner than May. 

  10. Political nous.

    As long as they have that then nothing else really matters. LBJ had it, JFK had it, Reagan had it, Nixon had it, FDR had it, TR had it, Bill Clinton had it, Abraham Lincoln had it. Some of those were charismatic, others less so. Some were telegenic, some not really telegenic at all. Some were quite old, others quite young. Some were senators, some were governors, others were vice presidents. Some were from the South, others from the North, others from elsewhere. Some were liberal, others moderate or conservative. 

    But they were all elected, sometimes against significant odds. And all achieved a lot in office. 

  11. On 7/6/2018 at 7:07 PM, pilight said:

    Biden is nearly as old as Sanders.  Warren will be in her 70's in 2020.  The Dems need to get as far away from Boomers (and older) as they can.

    I disagree. Very few people vote on the basis of the candidates' age, and arguably more are willing to vote against someone on the basis of being young and untested than of being old and seasoned, hence Reagan's quip to Mondale in one of the 1984 debates. 

    Nancy Pelosi needs to be replaced, however. Not because of her age, but because she is a proven failure at winning House majorities, just as William Jennings Bryan (whose career peaked at a relatively young age) was a proven failure at winning presidential elections. 

  12. 5 hours ago, Wiw said:

    If that happens, the last safe haven for the left will be gone! The whole world will have been gripped by right-wing fever - and freedom will die.

    Canada isn't notably 'left' - it's main social democratic party has never been in government at the federal level. The Liberal Party is fundamentally a party without principle - it can be left, right or centre depending on time and province. The Conservative Party is also to the right of most other First World mainstream centre-right parties. 

  13. On 6/10/2018 at 8:33 PM, wolves said:

    The Ford's are definitely worse than Trump, atleast Rob Ford was. Doug Ford is just a big mouth populist but he does have """experience."""

    'Experience' isn't necessarily re-assuring. There's a good chance that Trump would be worse if he had served twenty years in Congress prior to his presidency. 

  14. 14 hours ago, Patine said:

    Assuming that WW2-era Churchill was a 5, what number would you give Macmillan personally?

    My ratings for each would be:

    Churchill - 5

    Attlee - 2 (perhaps 1.5 if possible)

    Eden - 3 

    Macmillan - 3

    Douglas-Home - 1.5

    Wilson 3.5/4 (certainly a 4 in 1964)

    Heath - 2.5/3 (hardly a charming personality but could speak passionately on his day)

    Callaghan - 3.5/4 (underrated in terms of his charisma; very avuncular but wasn't dealt a great hand as PM)

    Thatcher - 4

    Major - 2/2.5 (slightly higher than one might expect due to his soapbox campaign of 1992; of course it all went downhill after that)

    Blair - 4 

    Brown - 2 (he can give an excellent speech when he wants to, hence he's not lower)

    Cameron - 3/3.5

    May - 1.5 



  15. As far as post-war PMs go, I'd rate Macmillan above Attlee, Douglas-Home, Heath, Major, Brown and May in charisma terms. In many ways he is quite similar to Cameron - from a well-to-do background, on the centre-left of the Conservative Party and managed to lead the party to a net increase in seats as the governing party. Both were also succeeded by vastly inferior media performers (Douglas-Home in Macmillan's case and May in Cameron's case). 

  16. No way was Dewey more charismatic than Truman, even if he was better-looking. The main reason for Truman closing the gap is because he ran a more energetic campaign, whereas Dewey's was bland and uninspiring.  One great anecdote I've read about the 1948 campaign is the stark contrast in their styles of speeches - Truman would speak along the lines of "hey guys, what don't ya give a huge round of applause to my wife?". In contrast, Dewey would say "It is now my honour to introduce to you my wife." In other words, Dewey's way of speaking was much more uptight and snooty. Dewey was essentially a middle-of-the-road New York politician along the lines of Nelson Rockefeller, Andrew Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg. Yes, capable of winning many votes, and yes, a competent administrator, but not the kind of politician to bring out huge crowds. The most charismatic of the 1930s and 1940s' Republican nominees was, by some distance, Wendell Willkie, although he still had little compared to FDR. 

    Of course the most obvious example of 'the more charismatic candidate losing' would surely be 1896. 

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