Any thoughts on the new cspan presidents survey ranking?
I’m taking some time tonight and tomorrow to dive through C-SPAN’s latest rankings, both overall and in each of the individual characteristics, but I’ll definitely share my thoughts about them within the next few days. As I’ve mentioned before – particularly right around the time that I publish my own rankings of the Presidents – I think it’s impossible to accurately compare and contrast the performance of leaders who basically lived in completely different worlds and served as President as the Presidency itself evolved into a very different position depending on time, context, contemporary issues, ability, and personality. For those reasons and more, I’m not a big fan of Presidential rankings in general, but I understand why they are popular (and that’s why I force myself to do them every few years).
With that said, C-SPAN usually does a great job at putting together their rankings and use one of the better methodologies of any of the organizations that rank the Presidents. It certainly helps that they have three top-notch historians (Douglas Brinkley, Richard Norton Smith, and Edna Greene Medford) leading their efforts, and have surveyed a range of highly-respected historians. I’d definitely suggest checking out C-SPAN’s 2017 Survey of Presidential Leadership. And, in case you’re interested, here is the index to my latest edition of Presidential Rankings, from 2014. I’ll be updating my Presidential Rankings around the Fourth of July. (Also, why the hell didn’t C-SPAN reach out to me for this survey? I’m a little offended – and I’m going to blame Brinkley for it solely because I’m jealous.)