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Join the discussion: Is it impossible to be a successful president?

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  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    July 29, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    Sure it is...

    Look at Abraham Lincoln.

    In his day --
    1/2 of the Country loved him,
    1/2 of the Country hated him...to the point of Civil War,
    He was even SHOT for it.

    History is the ultimate judge of their sucess -- NOT talk radio.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 29, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    Is it impossible to be a successful president?

    If you are incompetent, inexperienced, and your only qualifications are your ability to campaign and sow division, like our current POTUS it is impossible.

    Open minded,
    “sure it is…”
    You are saying Lincoln was unsuccessful?
    By what definition?

    Maybe you need better filters.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    July 29, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    It may be even harder to define just WHAT constitutes a "successful" president.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 29, 2014 1:03 p.m.

    First need to define "Succeed".

    If "success" = "be popular in the polls"... then the answer is "no".

    As OMM pointed out, even Abraham Lincoln was not popular with about 50% of the country at the time. And they didn't even have "talk-radio" back then!

    The President will usually be un-popular with a percentage of the population. I don't care if it's Bush or Obama. It's just the way it is. Hard-core partisans even hated Ronald Reagan, and he's the most popular President we have had in my generation.

    I don't think you need to be popular to be a successful President. But we better define what we mean by "successful" before we get too far. Just to make sure we are all talking about the same thing.

    =======

    If the trend continues... Hillary Clinton won't be a "successful" President either.

    I don't know what could change this trend. NOBODY seems to have been able to do it in my generation (Except Bush for a few months after 9/11).

    Maybe we need a 9/11 in each Presidency to bring us together?

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    July 29, 2014 1:09 p.m.

    "Successful" is in the eyes of the beholder. Calvin Coolidge was considered by some to be successful - he had enough digits to sign what was placed before him.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 29, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    Bill Clinton was largely disliked by the right because of his personal moral failings.

    GWB was largely disliked by the left because of the wars he waged against terrorism.

    Obama is largely disliked by the right because of his "winner-take-all", uncompromising attitude. The country is very divided ideologically with about 50% on each side of many issues. The party in power should get its way more than the party which lost the last election. Something like 60/40 is a fair split of the political spoils. But Obama seems to think that because "elections have consequences" that his ideology should prevail 100% of the time and the opposition should bow to his every whim. He has yet to yield to any of the demands from the 50% of the country that disagrees with his leftist agenda.

    Hopefully, the next president (GOP or Dem) will be the president of all of us instead of just their base.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    July 29, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    Success.

    Getting us into two foreign quagmire wars designed to enrich the military industrial complex, implement and oversee a massive expansion of spying on American citizens, citizens in other countries, our friends and ally governments and, incidentally and sometimes, bad guys. Also, tank the economy and enrich the bankers...

    Yep, Obama has some way to go to be successful in the eyes of the GOP.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 29, 2014 1:27 p.m.

    No... As long as 50% of voters become convinced (thanks FOX and MSNBC) that a President who disagrees with them is an enemy (even evil), our representatives will not compromise with him/her or allow the POTUS a "victory." All agenda items must be stopped at all costs -- even if voters agree with some -- because potential successors will use party victories to stay in power.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 29, 2014 1:36 p.m.

    Popularity is only part of the formula for "success" of a President. The Constitution of the US is an ambitious ideal toward which we continue to strive, and provides the criteria by which every President (and public official) must be judged:

    "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity".

    Lincoln was not successful because of his popularity numbers; he was successful because he did more than most to preserve the Union while establishing justice (and equality) and securing those blessings of liberty to a generation of Americans and their posterity.

    Sure, Domestic tranquility suffered for a time, but surgery on any patient temporarily disturbs tranquility in order to save the life of the patient.

    IMHO, President Obama has done a good job "promoting the general welfare", establishing justice, and providing for the common defense in the face of divisive partisan gamesmanship, even at the expense of some unity and tranquility. With some immigration reform, he can be a partially "successful" President despite approval ratings.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 29, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    @Stormwalker,

    I don't know if you are aware of this but... Obama attacked more nations than Bush did. So you're probably going to need to get off that high-horse.

    The red-lines and military attacks Obama authorized weren't as big as Bush's, but he used the US Military as much as Bush did during his Presidency (in nations other than Iraq and Afghanistan).

    IMO Bush was unlucky to be President when all that 9/11 Terrorist stuff happened. It clearly was started and almost ready during the Clinton Administration. They had already attacked us several times (USS Coles, WTC Bombing, Attacks on our embassy's in Africa, etc) but they didn't do their BIGGEST attack until Bush was in office.

    But Clinton sent cruise missiles into Baghdad before Bush did. And Kosovo, and military attacks in Somalia, etc...

    But the high-horse on the wars... kinda doesn't work with me. Clinton started wars. Obama got America into wars. If you take the partisan glasses off... that pretense that only Bush got us involved in wars... doesn't work in the clear coolaid-free light of day.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 29, 2014 2:14 p.m.

    Since WWII...

    FDR would get an A grade
    Truman would get a B grade
    Eisenhower would get a B grade
    Kennedy would get an A grade
    Nixon would get a C- grade
    Ford would get a B- grade.
    Carter would get a D grade.
    Reagan would get an A grade. Probably THE best leader of all.
    Bush I would get a B- grade.
    Clinton would get an A- grade.
    Bush II would get a B+ grade.

    Barack Obama would get the ONLY F grade. The man is a disaster in every way. All of the above men (except Obama) were leaders to some degree.

    So YES a president CAN be a success - not perfect - but a success none the less IF he has the following attributes...

    1. Knows HOW to govern and compromise - has experience.
    2. Knows HOW to lead - either from war service or being a governor
    3. Puts the country FIRST ahead of his own ambitions even when unpopular to do so.
    4. Surrounds himself with smart and competent cabinet members.
    5. Has a good understanding of basic capitalistic principles.
    6. Is willing to take responsibility and not blame others.
    7. Puts the US constitution above all else

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 29, 2014 2:21 p.m.

    Stormwalker: "Getting us into two foreign quagmire wars designed to enrich the military industrial complex, implement and oversee a massive expansion of spying on American citizens, citizens in other countries, our friends and ally governments and, incidentally and sometimes, bad guys. Also, tank the economy and enrich the bankers..."

    I realized by the end of your post that you meant to direct this at GWB, but as I read through this list I thought you might be talking about Obama who did all those things too, but then you would need to add a few items...

    ...using the IRS to attack his political enemies, using the Senate Majority Leader to block votes on most legislative bills while accusing the opposition as the party of NO, blaming every scandal on anyone and everyone except the real cause...himself, failing to enforce laws mandated by his oath of office....

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 29, 2014 2:41 p.m.

    IMO Reagan changed the course of this Nation AND the World more than any President in my lifetime (He Presided over the biggest negative to positive turnaround I've ever experienced). But he had more to work with than any President in my lifetime. I don't know if we could have gotten much lower and still survived (economically, militarily, foreign affairs, the internal strife and malaise was felt by every segment of society in America, we were going down)... But then we turned around just before we nosedived into the ground... it was quite miraculous.

    I don't know how much of that Reagan really deserves credit for, but it was the biggest turn around I've ever witnessed.

    And even Reagan is considered to NOT have been a success... By many.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    July 29, 2014 3:34 p.m.

    patriot's report card would be more impressive if ALL the presidents who served in the period he described had been included.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 29, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    If you are a welfare recipient, Obama is the most successful president in history. If you are a taxpayer, he is a total failure!

  • David Centerville, UT
    July 29, 2014 5:38 p.m.

    "Obama emerged with his stirring 2004 Democratic convention speech, evoking the shared aspirations of red and blue America, and took office embodying convergence and reconciliation".

    It is difficult to refer to Obama's speech and honestly believe he has made an attempt to actually compromise and work with the GOP. After all, following Obama's first presidential victory he said "Republicans can come along for the ride, but they'll have to sit at the back of the bus."

    I cannot recall much evidence at all that Obama has worked with Republicans. Actually, Obama has been criticized by Republicans and Democrats in Congress for not attempting any type of relationship or communication with that branch of government. Obama has been described as pompous, arrogant, ideological. Hardly characteristics that endear one to others.

    Reagan was a great leader. As such, he was able win both presidential elections with landslide victories, drawing from the Democratic party.

    With the right leader today the country could be more united. The president can be popular, effective, and great...if he possesses true leadership characteristics. Obviously few do. Also obvious is that our current president does not.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 29, 2014 11:35 p.m.

    Successful president = Keeping us out of depression + keeping us out of war + allowing people to obtain health care

    Two out of three ain't bad.

  • prelax Murray, UT
    July 30, 2014 1:17 a.m.

    President 1st term...second term
    Dwight Eisenhower 69.6...60.6
    Richard Nixon 55.8...34.4
    Ronald Reagan 50.3...55.3
    Bill Clinton 49.6...60.6
    George W. Bush 62.2..35.5
    Average for US presidents 1938-2014 53%

  • Grammy3 SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    July 30, 2014 1:27 a.m.

    All I can say is in my lifetime I have never seen more of a failure that President Obama. I think one of the reasons for that is because he had no experience in Governing. He thinks that the main responsibility of a President is going on Vacations, Golfing, and fundraising. He talks a great talk but does not walk the walk. To me he is a failure of a President.

  • Ironhide Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2014 2:30 a.m.

    Hold onto those party lines with your life people, what will remain in your wake is a partisan blind mess from lack of compromise and "well at least I'm not as stupid as those who support the _________ Party". In the name of what you call "standing firm for principles and values", our country is struggling and will continue to until voters learn to not defend the people they voted for just because they voted for them. They are people and hence will fail but if you refuse to see the failure and hold them accountable for it, well, we get what we have. Republicans and Democrats are at fault, pretty much equally. Choke on it and change.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    July 30, 2014 5:51 a.m.

    Obama's problem is that his rhetoric exceeded his capacity to act. He has not lived up to a single item that he campaigned on and it is now pretty clear that he has no interest of doing anything with the exception of fulfilling his agenda and not that of his party or his country.
    Why is it that other Presidents have returned to their homes for breaks from living in Washington and worked and entertained world leaders from their own residence in Texas, Maine, California, Georgia, etc but Obama has never spent more than a night at his place in Chicago?

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 30, 2014 7:08 a.m.

    I don't think we will see another "successful" President for a generation. The political class has a vested interest in demonizing the other guy. It works, it motivates the base. Governance becomes impossible as a considerable minority will forever hate and despise the elected party.

    Another real problem is paucity of information and thought put into people's love or hate of a candidate. Bush was hated as a warmonger who found clever ways to evade Vietnam. Obama is hated as a socialist, not real American since he happens to be a person of color. Neither characterization is particularly true, nor particularly useful to the country as a whole.

    And thirdly, the big money has a vested interest in strife and discord in American politics. Do you really think the Koch brothers are worried about losing their billions through taxation? Nope, it is about power and control of the agenda.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 30, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    Marxist,
    Two out of three is not bad, but you have to ACHIEVE two for that to apply – zero out of three is horrible, which is where BO is

    Patriot,
    You gave JFK MUCH too high of a grade – C at best

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 30, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    You know, I wish these things were so simple. For example up above we have Nixon getting a C-, and it is easy to see at a glance why that would be. His personal judgement on certain matters was terrible, and yet on others, he ended nearly 30 years of hostilities between us and the Chinese. Carter, while many didn't like his domestic policies - that whole 55 mph limit was horrible - and yet he brokered a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt. And then you have the selective memory version of Reagan who did face down the Soviet Union, but also was one of the administrations with the most administration members convicted of crimes.

    As to Obama's legacy, that chapter hasn't been written yet. There is no way to apply a grade at this point. Economically, under Bush at this point the nation was doing fine, only to have the floor drop out in the last two years. We don't know what Obama's last two years will hold.

    What we do know though is no matter what happens, certain people will rate the current president an F, regardless of any real outcomes.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    July 30, 2014 11:17 a.m.

    Nope. It's just going to take someone who isn't in League with the Globalist and has Americas true interests in mind. We haven't had that since 1963.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 30, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    @marxist,

    Re "Two out of three ain't bad"...

    Are you willing to give REAGAN two out of three??

    I doubt it... And that's the problem, and the reason why we will NEVER have a "Successful" President (Hillary or whoever's next included).

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    patriot,

    I'm actually pretty impressed with your grading, and I'm frankly floored that you gave both FDR and Kennedy A's (personally, I would give them each an A-, but more on that later...). Obviously, you have an ax to grind with President Obama, which is certainly your prerogative, but it's pretty hard to argue that your grade for him isn't skewed, relative to the others.

    Here is how I would grade the presidents for that same period:

    FDR would get an A-
    Truman would get a B
    Eisenhower would get an A-
    Kennedy would get an A-
    LBJ (you missed him) would get a C
    Nixon would get a C-
    Ford would get a c
    Carter would get a C-
    Reagan would get an B+
    Bush I would get a B
    Clinton would get an A-
    Bush II would get a C+
    Obama would get an B-

    I didn't give any of them a "straight-A" because even the best of them had their foibles. Probably my only straight-A's would be the "Rushmore" presidents.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 30, 2014 5:58 p.m.

    Mountanman
    Hayden, ID
    If you are a welfare recipient, Obama is the most successful president in history. If you are a taxpayer, he is a total failure!

    5:27 p.m. July 29, 2014

    ========

    If you are a Corporate, WallStreet, Banker, Industrial Military Comples recipient, Bush was the most successful president in history. If you are a taxpayer, he is a total failure!

    BTW - patriot,
    Giving someone an F without even reading or grading them is Bigotry and Bias.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 30, 2014 6:25 p.m.

    "Is it impossible to be a successful president?"

    Of course it's possible to be a successful President.

    Clinton, Eisenhower, FDR, Truman, TR, and many others have proven that.

    But it is a mistake to equate opinion polls with success.

    GW Bush enjoyed a 90 percent approval rating, even as he was setting up this nation for failure. And Hitler enjoyed a greater popularity as a leader than that throughout most of his reign.

    In contrast, Lincoln was extremely unpopular at points in his Presidency as was Truman and others. And Eisenhower was considered just a so-so, unexciting President as he built the interstate highway system, presided over a 90 percent high tax bracket rate, balanced budgets, and set this nation up for success.

    Popularity does NOT equal success.

    In fact, high popularity with "Conservatives" seems to correlate more or less directly with extremely poor Presidential leadership.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 31, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    "Is it impossible to be a successful president?"

    Of course it's possible to be a successful President.

    Clinton, Eisenhower, FDR, Truman, TR, and many others have proven that.

    But it is a mistake to equate opinion polls with success.

    GW Bush enjoyed a 90 percent approval rating, even as he was setting up this nation for failure. And Hitler enjoyed a greater popularity with his people than that throughout most of his reign.

    In contrast, Lincoln was extremely unpopular at points in his Presidency as were Truman and others. And Eisenhower was considered just a so-so, unexciting President as he built the interstate highway system, presided over a 90 percent high tax bracket rate, balanced budgets, and set this nation up for success.

    Popularity does NOT equal success.

    In fact, high popularity with "Conservatives" seems to correlate more or less directly with extremely poor Presidential leadership.