Who do you think were the best and worst presidents of your lifetime? To any degree you want to elaborate, why? If you are not from the Unites States, you may specify an American president, one of your national leaders, or both. For that matter, if you are American and you are sufficiently impressed/unimpressed with some other world leader, feel free to mention that leader.

Suggested definition of "your lifetime" is any president that you directly remember (a compromise between completely second-hand impressions and informed adult impressions). In my case, that would be Lyndon Johnson, even though Eisenhower was president when I was born, and JFK was elected soon after. As long as you're willing to 'fess up, it would be useful to know the first president you remember.

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I'll start by chiming in with my own opinion.

First for the easy part: I may not have been around for some 80% of U.S. history, but not only does George W. Bush take the SNM prize for worst president in my lifetime by an overwhelming margin, I am not convinced that we have ever had a president worse than him. Obama will spend his entire presidency trying to recover from the dreadful legacy that was left to him. I could go on for pages, but let's just say I am pretty much diametrically opposed to everything the man represents, and he exploited unfortunate events and circumstances perfectly to maximize the damage he wrought.

Best president in the Johnson through Obama time frame is a little tougher. There is no standout like Bush 43. I think Carter was underrated, and under-credited for his accomplishments, yet still in many ways not nearly as effective as he should have been. I have to say that early as it may be in his presidency, despite some reservations, Barack Obama appears to be shaping up to possibly be the best president in my memory. He's been effective, taking full advantage of his popularity, and he's decisively leading the country in a positive direction. I don't know whether it's just the stark contrast and dramatic improvement over Bush that makes him look so good, but on balance I think he is the best possible president the U.S. electorate would be willing to put in office.

Still not sure what to make of him on matters of religion. He is refreshingly inclusive of atheists as fully represented citizens of this country, in speech and in his support of some issues that are important at least to me. Yet there are other things... I am uncomfortable with his continuing his flavor of Bush's "faith based initiatives." I am already involuntarily providing indirect financial support to churches by means of pitching in for their share of the tax burden. Many churches represent some pretty hideous things: suppression of science, advocacy of policies that cause suffering and cost lives such as opposition to the distribution of condoms that could help curtail the spread of AIDS and save lives, pushing abortion into the back alleys, bigotry toward gays and certain other groups, not to mention the tendency to harbor value judgements as to who is worthy of support and who is not. And lets not forget the prime directive, the "great commission" to go forth into all the world spreading superstitious and magical thought. Unlike Obama, I do not think it is appropriate to entrust even some special, non-proselytizing arm of such organizations with taxpayer money to distribute humanitarian aid.
Well, that's a tough one for me. You see, Mexico has had one bad president after another.
Let's see... the first one I remember, Salinas de Gortari, robbed the country blind. Then along came Zedillo, who was incompetent (Although, to be fair, he became president of an utterly screwed up country and managed to do some good things, thereby earning a nomination as least worst). Then our hopes went up seeing as how the official party's hegemony was broken after 70 years, only to see a devoutly religious, ignorant, and uneducated jerk become president (Vicente Fox, I'm sure you've heard of him). And as for current events, we have the ultra conservative Felipe Calderón (same party as predecessor, right winged, church-backed, conservative PAN) wreaking havoc with the economy, setting back social progress and declaring that Mexico is pretty much property of the church, when Mexico is a secular country.
Now, about US presidents, I agree with you, the lowest possible standard was set by George W Bush, so much that he was internationally disliked (to put it mildly). As for the best one, well, I really couldn't tell. To be honest, I'm not that well informed on the domestic governance of your former presidents to produce a good assessment. The interest came during Bush Jr's tenure, as his decisions drew my attention. If you'd like me to elaborate on the Mexican presidents I mentioned, feel free to ask.
I remember the excitement for Vincente Fox from here. I hope Obama doesn't fall in the same category. I hold a contempt for most politicians especially nowadays because all you have to do is to be charismatic enough to win.
There was actually good hope pegged on him, but he turned out to be little more than an uneducated idiot
Clinton was by far the best, even though he should have been jailed for the bombing of Serbia. No one had a record of sustained economic growth that could compare with his. Nixon was by far the worst, although the opening of China and detente with Russia were positive. The other presidents, Truman to present, have been just awful.

History will probably hold most highly the guys who just happened to be president when Gorbachev came along. It is he who has had the greatest effect on history in the last half of the 20th Century.
How odd, for an atheist not to mention Jefferson and Madison.
Being Canadian often means having to pay attention to the political climate of the states because we are so very influence politically to what ever is happening south of the 49th parallel.

That said

Best President in my time (ie that I can really remember) Clinton hands down, while not a great president, I got the feeling that he really cared about the country and the direction it was taking. And while he made mistakes, he certainly didn't deserve the vilification that was attempted on him by the republicans and the press.

Worst President... Dubya Bush... no need to say more his record speaks for itself.

Up here in merry old Canada City

Best Prime Minister... Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau (You gotta love someone with that many names). Love him, Hate him he was a maverick on our whole political scheme up here. I like the fact that he wasn't afraid to shake things up, and I truly believe that Trudeau represented the average Canadian and even cared about what they wanted. Even his clowning around with the press was great.

Worst PM... its a coin flip between Brian Mulroney and our current sitting PM Stephen Harper. Personally they both seem to be the kinda PM's that do what they want, rather then what might be in the best interest for Canada and it's Citizens. Mulroney's time in office was a roller coaster ride for Canadians. The National Goods and Services Tax (GST), The Meech Lake Accords, NAFTA to name a few, were all shepherded in during his days as PM.

Sadly I am related to one of Canada's historically worst PM's R. B. Bennett.
I was born in 1963 about eight months before the first Kennedy assassination. Kennedy is the most over rated. Johnson was pretty close as being as bad as Kennedy. Johnson said that he would not send people to Vietnam which then sent 40,000 Americans to their death, along with 4 million Vietnamese casualties.
My usual bad, I often leave post of incomplete thoughts.

Bush is still the worst I never liked Republicans, and I find that Democrats will only do as much to have some difference with Republicans so that they can say vote for us or else. But really our collective lives don't change that significantly when we replace R's to D's in front of politicians names.
I was born in 1979. For many years, I thought Reagan was one of the best Presidents we have had. However, over the last 6 years or so, I've become less admiring of Reagan. I now disagree with his foreign policy stances (the US playing the world's policeman) and his wreckless spending. The national debt skyrocketted under Reagan.

George Herbert Walker Bush was a mediocre President. Intervened in Iraq invasion of Kuwait, "read my lips...", Dan Quayle, single term and it ended in a recession.

I hated Clinton while he was in office. I didn't trust a word the man said, long before the Lewinsky scandal. I thought he lied about Jennifer Flowers, his past drug use, etc. Other than balancing the budget (which was a great accomplishment), I don't think he really achieved much success as President. However, personal life and scandals aside, I now think he did a pretty good job. Of course, in contrast to the man that followed him, he looked like a brilliant President. I do admire him and George H.W. Bush for coming together to help the Katrina and tsunami victims.

As for George Walker Bush, he was by far the worst President of my lifetime and possibly the worst ever. I voted for him in 2000, but he was the exact opposite of what I thought he'd be. He talked about fixing social security, said no nation-building, etc. Instead, he used 9/11 as an excuse to throw out his campaign promises and used fear to push his agenda that lead us to a costly and unnecessary war and stripped away our freedom in exchange for some temporary safety.

It is too early to judge Obama, but I will say that I disagree with his stance on the bailouts.
I don't like presidents. I wish we would just do away with it and have sovereign front doorsteps.
I am with you. I am more of an anarchist. Mostly because I feel that any authority will eventuly usurp the needs of common people.




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