tv Lectures in History CSPAN March 19, 2016 8:00pm-9:16pm EDT
railroad fight. here is a document signed from 1869. we brought that out for fun. you can take a look. norton reamer: it says signed in new york -- newark. >> i want to thank the authors. thank you for coming, we will see you again soon. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> you are watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> on lectures in history, dickinson professor david o'connell examines president to legacies and what factors contribute to making a presidential term successful. he discusses rankings of
presidents done over the years, and compares the criteria and results. his class is about an hour and 10 minutes. : four scores are fathers said, -- with those words, there was a battlefield not far from where we sit today. the brilliance of those words is not recognized at the time. in fact lincoln was not the featured speaker at gettysburg. everett,tually edward a senator from massachusetts who spoke for two hours well lincoln waited to give his closing words. today we recognize the gettysburg address is perhaps the greatest moment of presidential speech and history. the fact that people did not see the speech that way at the time, lincoln was not the featured speaker points to the fact that lincoln's greatness was not
recognized at the time in general. we have to remember that when lincoln became president, he had not served in public office for 10 years. of dress, hisyle speaking, his self-education, all that meant that lincoln was looked upon with some degree of condescension from the eastern elite. perhaps not much was expected from his presidency. however, today, there is little dispute on lincoln's greatness. i was encourage my students to see political science not as a science. there are no laws. there are no findings. there are no discoveries. instead you have people making arguments that may or may not be persistent -- persuasive to you. i think that is important to note when we think about presidential greatness. we look at five different ways of measuring presidential greatness. we will see these academic studies involving hundreds of historians, political scientist, and others that there is a
consensus, lincoln was the great president. today we have some concern over the things he did. he certainly took liberties with the constitution. he suspended the right of habeas corpus. forcibly closed some newspapers that were printing material critical of the union effort. he spent money that congress had not appropriated. he raised the size of the military without congress approval. he did this for a great and, preserving the union at a time of maximum peril for the country. he gave the civil war a moral impetus with the emancipation proclamation. he never lost sight of what the u.s. was fighting for. there was a lot of pressure in 1854 to call off the presidential election. you cannot go through with an election in the time of war, and lincoln would be justified canceling the contest. lincoln said and what he believed was that if the u.s. were to do so, the rebellion and
have lost its character as a free to the credit people. -- free democratic people. i want us to think about presidential greatness. the whole class has been leading up to this. we have studied presidential power, and leadership, trying to understand how presidents are or to able -- were not able navigate his challenges. the whole point is to become great, to achieve greatness. what i want to do is think about how we might understand the -- presidential greatness. then we will look at ways that different scholars have tried to rank presidents. from one to 44. then we will talk about why potentially today, greatness is more difficult to achieve. we may never see another person like abraham lincoln. the modern presidents, have been weak. the levelnot achieved of greatness that people like lincoln have.
we want to understand why that might be. or there systematic reasons, is it held within individuals. one thing we know is that americans love to rank. i estimate that maybe 67% of the content of the internet are lists. here are some interesting rankings that i recently came across in the hard work that i've been doing is a professor. stupidinitive list of people on twitter, version 4.0. version 4.0 is much better than 2.0. the internet's worst passwords and what they say about you. if your password is on that list, it is saying enough. top 25 college football teams ranked by stupidity of fans. a definitive ranking of every big brother season. meames. best drake
definitive selfies, i look to that, the messages do not take selfies at funerals. americans also love ranking presidents. we read presidential power, the most famous book ever written on the presidency. it has been influential for scholars and presidents alike. somewhat of a machiavellian print. a guidebook. "in thet sentence, united states we like to rate a president. we measure him as weak or strong and call what we are measuring his leadership grid we do not wait until he minutes dead, we rate him for the moment he takes office." when we talk about americans approval of barack obama, the day after his inauguration -- that reading starts immediately -- rating stars medially. -- starts immediately. firstes the president's
100 days compared to other presidents. midterm elections. campaigns, the ultimate activity for voters to cast judgment. all in all you have pundits and colonists who -- columnist who are asking how anything a president does affects their legacy. even though we like to do this, ranking the presidents is actually really hard. there are some systematic reasons why it is difficult to try to rank presidents. it is difficult to rate performance. number one we are not neutral observers. we all have our own opinions and biases. that will affect how we evaluate a president's performance. research has shown that ideology plays a role in assessments of presidential greatness. conservatives will be more
likely to think ronald reagan is a great president. liberals will be more likely to think that john kennedy is the great president. the impact of our own biases does not stop there. it will also impact the criteria we use. are.our standards research has shown that liberals are more likely than conservatives to think of something like idealism is a standard for presidential greatness. those are two ways are biases will affect. it. we also know that context matters. presidents take office at different times, facing different leadership problems. that will also take into account. on one hand we might get presidents of the for taking office in a different -- difficult circumstance. if we think about barack obama, at the end of his presidency, we might want to step back and say, he took office at a time with a
massive recession, the united states was engaged in two wars. even if he did not achieve as much as other presidents, he deserves to be rated higher because the context in which he served with more difficult. we know the voters are capable of doing this. we saw that at the time of his reelection. voters had considered obama and responsiblequally for the country's economic condition, obama would have been popular. people seem to give leeway. difficulty is not necessarily a bad thing. crisis can actually be opportunity for greatness. i don't think it is a coincidence that the two greatest presidents in these rankings, the top three is always the same. it is accommodation commendation of lincoln, washington, and roosevelt. or roosevelt and then washington. two of those presidents served in perhaps the biggest crises that americans scene. the civil war, and world were to
integrate oppression. -- world war ii and the great depression. that doesn't necessarily mean they would meet those challenges, but it was something that they could potentially do that others could not. this is actually something that clinton has limited. after 9/11 clinton was said to have privately said that he wished he had been president at the time. because to be a great president, you had to have a signature moment of leadership. he never had the opportunity to do so. a third problem is that presidential greatness is not set in stone. , those rate presidents ratings will change over time as new information emerges, and as our own values change. an example of a president whose ranking has gone down over time, would be john kennedy. when john kennedy died, he was externally popular. he died under tragic circumstances. the first appraisals of his
presidency that were written were written by people like ted sorensen and pierre salinger, people who had worked in his residency, held him in high regard, and did not criticize anything that he is done. -- had done. over time we learn new things about kennedy that has affected our opinion of him. we have learned about his chronic womanizing. jeopardized his personal security as he was involved with prostitutes and other woman his staff procured for him. womanizing jeopardized his independence. his affair with a girlfriend of chicago mob boss. womanizing that today we should -- would consider to be sexual harassment. he was involved with other employees of the government. we learned he had some responsibility with the u.s. involvement in vietnam. a foreign policy that was not in america's national interest. we learned that a lot of the
frontier was or for show. we learned that kennedy did not much -- have much interest in foreign policy. all they talk is administration had about culture, were important to kennedy. he seems to be a president that in the critics eyes shows more profile when he needed to show more courage to play on his book title. as a result, and the last in 2014,e will look at john kennedy was selected as the most overrated. two presidents who have gone and the other direction, their reputations have improved our truman and eisenhower. when truman left office come he was unpopular, approaching where nixon was when he left as a result of watergate. in february of 1952, harry truman had 20% in public opinion polls. but since then, we have come to see his poor and -- foreign policy had wisdom. establishing nato.
shepherding the marshall plan through congress. these things were seen as essential members to soviet expansion throughout europe. at the same time, truman's demeanor, his plainspoken ways, we gain greater appreciation for that when he was succeeded by people like lyndon johnson who reportedly lied to the country about the involvement in the amount -- in vietnam. eisenhower said he was not occur, and he was. -- nick's and was not a crook, and he was. -- nixon said he was not a crook, and he was. eisenhower was called a provider, not a president. that was the image eisenhower allowed people to have of him. he works hard behind the scenes, to the point of pushing himself to a heart attack. he claimed to not engage in personality, but he manipulated people.
generally speaking we have developed an appreciation for his political skills people did not have the time. we also value some of the decisions that eisenhower made. back then, they did not seem significant. in 1954, the french fall in vietnam, there is a on eisenhower to intervene, he says no. a ground war in southeast asia cannot be won, and should not be fought. 10 years later, the u.s. begins to seriously get involved in vietnam. we had a decade-long conflict that does not work out in our national interest. that seemed to be a wise decision. similarly in 1958, people were arguing the government needed to boost the defense spending in response to sputnik. eisenhower warned against the industrial complex. another warning that seems pressing. this is why i also mention bush. not to say that bush will go down as a lincoln. the point is, we do not know
where he will go down. when bush left office, some people wrote columns, some scholars rated him as the worst of all time. that was preposterous to me because he had just finished his presence. -- presidency. so many of those things, we will not know the true impact until decades from now. if years from now, iraq and afghanistan become free democratic societies, it leads to freedom that ultimately does away with one of the key national security threats facing the u.s., terrorism, bush will go down as a great president. is that likely? right now it is not seen that way. we do not know. it is too early to see where he will fall. another problem with ranking presidents is, do you get points for trying? there are a lot of presidents that successfully identify key issues. they were on the right side of history.
they took important moral stances, but they did not do anything to fix those problems. 1948 -- truman supported a strong civil right plank. kennedy in 1963, finally comes out in favor of copper hensel civil rights -- conference of civil rights change in congress. he promised changes like ending discrimination of public housing. that did not take action until the pressure got to much in 1963. nevertheless, on the right set of the issue, but they do not get that through congress. it was not until lyndon johnson was president that we see that legislation. how does that affect the evaluation? do they get credit for being on the right side, or do we blame the more for not actually fixing it? the issue a credit is a problem in general. a lot of times the competence we are willing to tribute -- the accomplishments are willing to
attribute to a president are debatable. whether they have for me to do with those or not, is open to discussion. a lot of times people say the president was great because the economy was great when they were in office. this is often used for roosevelt. great accomplishment with ending the great depression. is that true? not really. some things that roosevelt did certainly helped the u.s. on a path of recovery. public works programs were needed in the aftermath of the depression. his financial reform legislation helped stabilize the economy. country fell back into a massive recession. unemployment was around 5%. -- 20%. the thing that pulled us out of the great depression was world war ii. can we say that roosevelt into the depression? -- ended the depression? that is to be able. -- debatable.
some scholars said that reagan winning the cold war was the greatest foreign-policy accomplishments of any president in the time. did reagan when the cold war? not really. did he think -- do things to help and it -- en the cold ward? absolutely. he forced the soviet union to engage in an arms race. internalgered steps to reforms in the soviet union that ultimately led to their downfall. but, other people had a role. gorbachev,aul ii, maybe we get a different outcome. you concern we argue the soviet union had internal vulnerability that meant he would collapse anyway -- it would collapse anyway. maybe reagan sensed that, that he did not necessarily cause it.
reagan is on the edge of the top 10 now. problem is, is it fair to compare premodern and modern presidents? we will put in the same system barack o, -- barack obama and george washington. the resources they had to lead were different. those premodern presidents, those before franklin roosevelt were more clerks. the main job of the president was to appoint people to government offices. it was a thankless task. i president even got assassinated in his role. james garfield was assassinated in 1881. there is no institutional support for the president. not until 1857, congress appropriated money for the
resident to hire a clerk. they pay their own staffers out of their own pocket. george washington hires his nephews to copy his letters. presidents have to take loans like thomas jefferson. that leads to andrew jackson saying that being the president was a situation of dignified slavery. it might be unfair to compare premodern presidents to modern ones. forget about the leader of the free will -- free world, teddy roosevelt left the country. do we judge the president by the standards of their time, rrs -- or ours? that will play a role in how we interpret what they did in office. things that may have not been controversial then, are controversial now. i call this the andrew jackson problem. by many standards, andrew jackson will be a great president. we define an age by him. jacksonian democracy.
he is a symbol. he is a frontiersman, who by reaching the presidency, since a message about what is possible in the country. his common rhetorical support for regular people. it changes the tenure of politics. he ended the federalist practice as treating government jobs like personal poverty they would hang onto their entire lives. he builds the first democratic party. it was forming out of his personal following. he was a slave owner. most closelys associated, in addition to his democratic impulses with backing forcible removal of native americans from their tribal lands in open defiance of supreme court decision. was the cherokee nation forced out of their historical lands in georgia, a fourth of them will die in the trail of tears. this leads to a lot of problems
in terms of how we interpret this. owning slaves, not treating native americans with respect, that was not something controversial in the early 19 central -- century. that is why you see state democratic parties, the typical fundraiser is the jefferson, jackson dinner. many have moved to change their names, not going to associate the fundraiser with those names. it is not inclusive. finally, can we really understand what it is like to be president? this is the monday morning quarterback problem. i watched the dolphins on , heay, as you all know throws an interception, i get upset, i have no idea what i'm talking about. i have never played quarterback in the nfl. i don't know why he threw that interception. it was the receiver in the wrong place. maybe the defense disguise themselves.
i can't blame him for that interception. similarly, can we blame a president for their failure? we do not know the pressures. we do not know what information they had at the time. it might be really kind of unfair of us to cast judgment on something we have no chance of understanding until we have walked in the shoes ourselves. that is why somebody like john kennedy, and talking with others was dismissive. saying, you do not know what is going on. i'm not prepared to do this now. i would knee -- need more study having been and -- in office for more time. now that we have said we cannot rate presidents, let's do it anyway. let's start by considering some theoretical ways of assessing greatness. the standard element. book, presidential greatness
argues a great president must be a democrat and a republican. what they mean by that is that you have to involve people in the process and teach people civic virtue. that is the democrat part. you also have to govern within the constitutional system and abide by research and on authority, that is the republican part. for the income of a mechanism to accomplish these tasks is a political party. a great way to mobilize people any the process, but also a natural check on the president's impulses. for them, presidential leadership required extraordinary partisanship. great presidents are those who built up their political party. people like washington, jackson, lincoln, and fdr are great presidents. you can see why andrew jackson is a great president using the standard. building the modern democratic party out of his following. if they include character, maybe
it will not mean that jackson is a great president. since fdr,t according to them has achieved this level of greatness. the two closest would be lyndon johnson and ronald reagan. becauseultimately fails his embracing civil rights splits the party. reagan fails because he is not interested in helping the republican party. he is more interested in protecting his personal popular. -- popularity. an alternative measurement would be "why moderates make the best president." the argues the key is muscular moderation. that does not mean doing what is popular. he attacks clinton for this. muscular moderation is boldly governing from the center. it is chartering a leadership
and building a consensus around your political position. this leads him to reinterpret the politics of fdr. fdr is seen as potentially the most liberal chief executive in the modern era. but, according to troy, he was a moderate. on the left he is dealing with people who want to create a socialist society america. -- in america. on the right, he is dealing with individuals who want to maintain a laissez-faire system. by charting between the two, he was quite moderate. something like social security, troy says is moderate. people on the right because it might destroy individual responsibility. people on the left do not love it because it is financed in a pay manner, where as the taxes of current workers go to pay the benefits of current beneficiaries. as a result, it is a moderate policy. regulating banks is another
moderate policy. the right want fewer regulation. roosevelt falls in the middle. moderation, according to troy, is not enough. you have moderate presidents like nixon and carter who bailed for reasons -- failed for reasons specific to themselves. these readings in particular because i think they illustrate the problem of setting standards of presidential greatness. these are diametrically opposed standards. one set of scholars is saying to be a great president you have to be partisan. the other say to be a great president you have to be the opposite. you have to be the middle. middle.e if we then try to actually rank presidents from one to 44, we have five really important historical studies that a try to do this. -- have tried to do this. 1988, they sent
questionnaires to about 2000 phd holding assistant professors of history who are listed in the american historical association guidebook. these questionnaires were intense. 19 pages, 180 questions. they took more than one hour to complete. askingere not only people to assign a level of greatness to each presidency, they were also asking specific questions about events and policies. right to -- was hoover right to balance the budget. by asking those additional -- we will not necessarily look at that part of the argument. i will focus on these evaluations of whether scholars assigned a ranking of great, near great, above average, average, or failure.
ultimately 846 surveyed. be aware this is not necessarily representative. only 59 women participated. their ranking goes abraham lincoln as one. asnken roosevelt is to -- two. george washington as three. thomas jefferson as four. they had an average of being great. near greats where theodore roosevelt, woodrow wilson, and harry truman. are interesting, john adams and lyndon johnson. you will not see these president on other rankings. thisps because partly in study, scholars tended to more favorably rate the presidents that served in the area -- in the era in which they did their research. if you did research on colonial america and the early american republic you would be more likely to think that john adams was a great president. we today, perhaps criticize him
harshly for the alien and sedition act. the criminalized dissent as the u.s. was gearing up were a potential war with france. on adams's lyndon johnson, another president who is going to be controversial. they like his domestic policies but find a lot of desire in the vietnam war where he can -- conceals the involvement from the public and makes decisions that undermine the chances of the united states. 1997, they take a poll of 719 people. 97 of these individuals were professors of american history. others would be public officials, attorneys and so forth. they are asking to rate
presidents on five different dimensions. leadership qualities, --omplishments and cop crisis management, appointments, character and integrity. they also asked to rank the importance of these five dimensions. if you think character is most important or leadership qualities, etc.. according to the system, lincoln roosevelt's 2. george washington is 3. thomas jefferson is 4. woodrow wilson is 6. harry truman is 7. andrew jackson is 8 three eisenhower 9. madison 10. roosevelt might have prevailed over lincoln if it weren't for concerns about his care. he was rated the 15th best
presidents in terms of character. he is one of two on the other dimensions. andrew jackson would rate higher if the wasn't for those concerns about character and appointments , a reflection of the spoil system where garment officials were fired and people loyal to in theser put positions. this leads to a lot of corruption in the long run. and eisenhower, you can see this was published in 1997. as we learn more about eisenhower you see his rating improve and he starts to emerge at the bottom of this list. he has taken a full of 32 experts. -experts and quotations. they are his friends. not that they are not experts but mostly they are prestigious story means -- historians.
some practicing politicians. participants are allowed to develop their own criteria for greatness of the article. justice potter stewart's definition of obscenity. you know it when you see it. the scholars will know greatness when they see it. people have to do is rate each great, average, below average or tell your they will be assigned the appropriate numerical score which allows us to come up with average. his father did an early study of ranking the presidents in 1948 published in life magazine. he is following in his father's house. according to this study lincoln's 1. washington is 2. roosevelt is 3. they achieve greatness averages. all 32 individuals gave lincoln a score of 4.
jefferson, jackson, roosevelt, wilson, truman, polk and thousand higher -- eisenhower. c-span did a presidential 2009.ship survey in common sense them because they talk about the scholars ourselves in this class earlier in the semester. historians are asked to rate the president on 10 different attributes. public persuasion, prices, moral authority, international relations, administrative skill, relations with congress, vision and setting agenda. and their performance within the context of their time. you may be saying that is a lot. 10 different attributes of leadership is a lot for any scholar and it tests the limits of the knowledge of even experts
. do people know enough about franklin pierce to assign him a score on all 10 of these dimensions? what happens is people wind up making a global judgment of greatness preset is going to affect their score on individual standards. if you think lincoln was a great overall you give him a great score on all 10 categories. participants sign a score. what will happen then is an average will be provided. if clinton was given an average of 8.2 for economic management that would be multiplied by 10. he will get 82 points. your total possible greatness for his 100 points for each category. system, abraham lincoln is 1 fifth a score of 902. george washington is 2.
franklin roosevelt 3. you can see the scores dropped off after that. kennedy 6. jefferson 7. appearance -- his first appearance. 2014 at 162 members of the american political science association. i participate in this survey. i can't tell you that much about it. it has not been published as far as i can tell. they've had newspaper stories about the research. they have e-mailed the participants in the study the final rankings but i don't really remember what it was like . it to me a long time. it took me 45 minutes to an hour.
i remember being surprised by decisions. i was more positive towards barack obama than i thought i would be when i was challenged to think about him and individual dimensions instead of a social judgment of his performance. wereof the attributes that measured would be diplomatic skill, integrity, military skill. that is somewhat reflecting a political scientist mindset when you include legislative skill. something we know clinical sciences have tried to address want of five. each president receives a score out of 100. the results, lincoln is 1. almost a perfect score. washington is numeral. roosevelt 3. the at our roosevelt 4. jefferson 5. truman 6. a first appearance for bill clinton. woodrow wilson 10.
down here these for its much lower even though they are not afraid of that far in rankings. the scores are actually quite low. patterns we may have noticed, lincoln is number one in all five rankings. consensus. lincoln is the greatest president. they agreed the top three greatest presidents are lincoln, washington and fdr. washington and fdr alternated between 2 and three. evenly split. jefferson and roosevelt did well. they were commonly 4 and 5. neither president fell lower than 7 in these rankings. we didn't look at this i thought you should know there is rough agreement on the worst president. the two worst president would be warren harding, who spent his time writing love letters to his mistress in the white house
while his friends rob the government blind. his most famous quotation, i am not famous for this office and i should not be here. and james buchanan. he did nothing as the country lurched towards the civil war out of a sense of constitutionalism. things, we arer not seeing many modern presidents post franklin roosevelt show up on these rankings. clinton shows up once. reagan shows up once. truman. eisenhower. they are at the bottom. it is not consistent. what i did is i took the president since roosevelt, then i averaged their score. these are taken at different times. the total number of presidents ranked is not constant throughout this.
thandents, there are more there were in 1988. that affects the average somewhat if great presidents came after that point. only 2 can see here is presidents had an average ranking in the top 10. harry truman and dwight eisenhower. both of them have enjoyed a renaissance of their reputation after they left office. even then rankings aren't that impressive. if you are the seventh greatest president of all time then you are not even in the top 20%. going down the list weekend seeing it gets pretty bad. nixon, 32. carter, 24.4. bush, 20.25. clinton 17. bush, 36. if we took the average ranking it is 19.
why is that? is that the results of individual flaws? to some extent, sure. i have been critical of jimmy carter. not out of personal opposition to anything he tried to accomplish but out of a criticism of his understanding of executive authority and the use of the power of leadership. not 25, 19,king is 27, 20. we canently mediocre identify specific reasons carter fell short of greatness that only he can be blamed for. the forder minding street of the presidency? -- is he undermining the prestige of the presidency?
it is important. that is the targeting. president going to be able to convince people that what he wants is in their own interest? did things like kerry's own luggage, ending the practice of playing hail to the chief. selling the presidential yacht. giving the national address in a cardigan sweater. business early understand these things make him seem more like a regular person instead of someone who was above the public. he made poor staffing choices. he decided to bring individuals who worked with him in georgia to washington. , with jeansmafia and shaggy haircuts. they offended washington. -- poorlyed prepared
prepared for no national experience that came to specific individuals. spitting drinks on women at bar making lewd comments about the cleavage of the wife of the egyptian ambassador, using cocaine at a disco. he appoints bert lance to run the office of management and budget. he's a friend from georgia who describes himself as a country banker. he is put in charge of shepherding the budget when he was $2 million in debt personally. he's going to be involved in a series of investigations about his personal finances that drag down the office. the third problem, he thought he could run the white house on his own. learned quickly you need a chief of staff, he comes into office and acts as
his own chief of staff. blocking carter in a series of unnecessary details. theer actually approve plane schedule at the white house tennis court -- playing schedule at the white house tennis court. why would he bother? he had some degree of arrogance. you got that in the reading you he where people disagreed said i would rather not talk with you if you disagree with me. he also had a mean streak which emerged in the 1980 presidential campaign brady said if reagan is elected .2 is c a return to segregation in the united states. into office, he have a democratic congress.
dick bove neil, that is a relationship he needs to cultivate. he says give me priorities and we will work on them. carter says here is 12. we will do all of them. no, i will do what worked with me in georgia. he ends up being aggravated by little slides. even nixon gave them breakfast. what winds up happening is gets primary by ted kennedy. a sitting president who has to fight for his own renomination within his party. that is a direct consequence of the way carter failed to nurture those relationships with democratic leaders in congress. he overestimated his speaking powers. he did try to govern over the head of congress on the subject of energy. he gave five national addresses. each to a smaller and smaller audience.
grossly power underestimated. the move issues opinions. carter didn't recognize that. great quarterbacks? i imagine you are going to say modern quarterbacks. tom brady. peyton manning. someone would have said dan marino. upy would have tried to suck to me and that would have been a good answer. .e was clearly the best he would have been the greatest president. these are modern presidents. modern quarterbacks. reasonable thing when you look at statistics. these are the top 10 quarterbacks in terms of yards
in a season. what we see is all of them besides dan marino for he threw for 5084 yards, besides that one year, they have all happened since 2008. great season in terms of yardage. simply areacks that not going to go down as great quarterbacks. matthew stafford, ben rothfuss berger. what was happening here? the game has changed to health quarterbacks. -- help quarterbacks. an emphasis to make it easier to throw the ball. they are going to police contact over the middle of the yield. brian dawkins, he said this is one of the reasons why. he could no longer play the position because he had to consular be worried about
getting a penalty. you can't touch a quarterback. you can't hit him high, you can't make contact with a helmet . he hit at the knees. that makes quarterbacks more comfortable in the pockets. easier to rack up yards. you are seen quarterbacks get to the nfl with more preparation. colleges have adopted sophisticated often system. prepared to read defenses when they reach that level theories you see a change in the personnel. he's the size of the defensive end and he can run like a wide receiver. all this has made it easier for quarterbacks to achieve greatness. try 8 million -- try aikman has lower ranking than the backup of the tampa bay buccaneers if we look at those changes, when it
comes to presidency, things have changed to make it more difficult for presidents to achieve greatness. one, congress has polarized. that is the roots of congressional polarization. you can data back to the 1960's as the democratic party embraces civil rights. you see a migration of those southern democrats to the republican harding and ultimately that is going to leave the party left with liberals. and in republican party left more conservative. you increase gerrymandering, you have these districts that mean a radical republican or democrat can win a seat of a wooden win if it was fairly drawn. you see congressional rules and procedures that create polarized outcomes when they may not naturally exist. all of this means it is more difficult to what they want out of congress.
actionation may speed up in a majoritarian house that slows it down. we have seen an increase in filibusters over time. the senate is the burial ground for any major presidential these of legislation. there is no possibility of compromise. if you want to be a moderate, who are you going to negotiate with? the affordable care act passes with zero republican votes. zero republican votes in the senate. how is obama going to get legislation through congress now that he doesn't have those huge democratic majority when he had in 2009? a divided government. when you have the president of one party in congress on the other, that is the norm. is a dividedseen government two thirds of the time since 1952. there is a debate about what this means. some argue it doesn't actually
have an effect on legislation. david mayhew has categorize laws in terms of significance by looking at if they were significance the time they were passed and if they were judged significant later over history. you see that about 11-12 laws are going to the adopted every two years. true, there is strong research that shows legislation is more likely to fail under conditions of divided government. 6.7 potentially significant flaws fail. divided government increases the odds of seeing legislation failing by 45%. presidents have to deal with a divided government with a congress controlled by the opposite party and polarized to
make it difficult to get your agenda through congress. the president had the worst relationship with the media. think of the things they covered up for john kennedy? they covered up his affairs, his health problems. they would have shocked the public if they had known at the time. he didn't write his books. it was only a bestseller because his dad bought thousands of copies which he stored in an attic. i have been unable to persuade my dad to buy thousands of copies of my book to make it a bestseller. that changes. you have things like the pentagon papers, a study about the extent of the night is his involvement in vietnam that shows residents had consistently misrepresent u.s. policy. you have the aftermath of watergate. nixon's lies about his involvement in a cover-up.
his press secretary is going to have to later say all previous statements were an operative. you see them because of the impact of exposing watergate, reporters want to be bob woodward. he want to break the next scandal. the media has become more hostile. if we look statistically we see the amount of negative news it present has to face has gone out. and the total share of news coverage has gone down. it makes it more difficult to lead publicly. that is related to this point problem. people paying less attention to presidential addresses. you watch a that speech on so many different , onforms, broadcast, cable your phone, on your tablet, on your computer, you will see higher ratings for speeches. that is not what has happened.
bysidents used to benefit having a captive audience where there were a few channels. if the president comes on, people would watch because what else are they going to do? talk with their families? i don't think so. but now you can opt out. if you are not interested you change the channel, fire the xbox, netflix, whatever you want to do. obama's recent state of the union had the lowest ratings in 20 years. 31 million people decided to tune in. i like to remind people of this problem with bill clinton in 2000 preparing to give a national address. coming on after who wants to be a millionaire, the hottest show of the time. i auditioned for it. 19 million people are watching. clinton comes on and 10 million people changed the channel.
another problem is the campaign is a permanent distraction. today, it isffice expensive. it costs money. these are billion-dollar campaigns. the president has to constantly raise money. barack obama has the fundraisers every 7.5 days. bill clinton attended his first fundraiser 12 days into his administration. however president supposed to govern when they are so busy raising money and engaging in political activities? they are too busy trying to keep their job to do their job. there are powerful fiscal pressures. today goes toget four things. medicare, medicaid, social security and payments on the national debt. throw in defense spending, something that can't be ingested
all that much, especially in light of recent events. that leaves little money for the president to fund new domestic policy initiatives. year if weing this are lucky a $400 billion deficit. those problems are only going to get worse unless we get control over the entitlement programs that threaten to submerge the budget. presidents threaten to deal with their administration. they can't get appointments confirmed. in way of confirmation has gone down over time. president like eisenhower would get every appointment confirmed. now you are going to be lucky to get 50-60% confirmed. and the time it takes to confirm a justice has gone up dramatically. the new york times had an editorial criticizing
republicans for not acting more quickly on the nominations obama has made since these seats are judicial emergencies where they have been vacant for years. executive at the branch they have run into obstacles numeral -- also. appointments,cess czars and so forth. we are talking about their staff. we can't get them to stick around. 30% of the white house staff is going to change jobs. if you add them together, you have a government of strangers. individuals who are not in their office long enough to learn the things necessary to do their jobs, to learn who they need to work with to get things done. they can't be an effective team when they serve such a short time. people say the way around this, to achieve greatness is to act
on your own. unilateral presidential power. this is a fallacy. they are consistently overrated. govern by executive order. only 15% of executive orders are significant. there are exceptions. truman desegregated the military. stem cell research. we know new presence can come in and change these things, sometimes they are durable like clinton changing the arsenic standards in drinking water. when bush was to go back to the previous standard because he thinks it is cost ineffective it looks like he wants more arsenic in drinking water. sometimes they are a good way to make policy. only 15% are significant. presidents are more likely governed at the inn of their
administration and when they are unpopular. it makes perfect sense. example.obama now his immigration plans are tied up in the court system and the outcome of all that remains to be seen. if you're talking about our, only according to studies, 80% of these are symbolic. 12% are significant. they tend to be on things like parks and trade and nothing else. we are talking about executive agreements. these are much less useful than treaties which are much more binding. so i would ask you is first, if we take a step back amount what are your standards
of presidential greatness? see how scholars have tried to define greatness. building political parties. moderation. reviewnt systems we include political skill, character, legislative skill and so forth. that would be the first question. then we will consider whether greatness is still possible. do presidential greatness was based off of whether a president was able to set and pass a meaningful legislative agenda quick we with things under their control. then whether they could mitigate national and international that would distract them from being able to pass their legislative agenda. theeast for me, one of issues with troy's argument and the ways we look at presidents is over time the ability to do things decreases.
see that in jfk's last two years of his presidency. he was unable to pass civil rights. he was a lot -- unable to pass domestic legislation. i look for action to prevent -- >> you think is an issue that a president ability to get things the congress is going to be out of their control depending on the numbers they have in congress? jonathan had a great advantage. he had huge democratic majority other presidents have had. flex -- >>'s don't think it really matters whether or not they have since dental majorities. hugeeagan who didn't have republican majorities. he was able to get through most of his agenda in the first six months using the budget process.
i don't think it really matters in actual numbers of people your party in congress. i think it matters whether or not you are able to use the process to get things done. >> reagan had some of those contextual factors working to his advantage. he was taking over after carter's failed presidency. he saw the peak of conservatism in american politics. he gets a key after his assassination attempt. other standards of greatness? >> great presidents come down to timing because of great events. we might think about going into the second world war, that made for greatness on his part. when president reagan came and office he was dealing with the economy that was tanking. president obama was able to pass something that other presidents
quittance, health care reform. those are great event that allow them to prove greatness. as much as it comes down to timing, circumstance. >> you agree with clinton that you need a crisis to be a great president? >> i do agree with the assumption you need a crisis or something you can prove yourself. you might have the potential that if you don't have the dance or event happens there is no way to prove you are a great president. to thes like the return football analogy. you don't know if a team is great until they be another great team. you need to have that challenge. other standards? >> it depends more on how you handle yourself as a person. i think it is great if you can't
get legislative matters through that to be able to manage that went other political advisers in the private scene, and in the public to portray this character of i have it under control and it is going smoothly. then to have those deals in private because of polarization. a good point. you have the public and private dimensions of leadership. you probably can't be successful unless you have navigated each part. what do people think? is greatness possible? or, is this average ranking just the result of individual notures, people like carter living up to expectations? >> i think with these and without, a lot of them, you can overcome. the powerful fiscal pressures, if you have a great president
you can overcome that and deal with that. for unilateral powers that stuff. the other things like divided government, i'm optimistic about this. i don't think they are minute are,tions in even if they you see presidents like obama and bush get an incredible amount on in their first year. that hasn't gone away which most presidents have been able to take advantage of. a great president can use those same momentum and overcome challenges you listed. >> we talk about polarization slowing down government and making it impossible to get things done but even obama had a productive first year. presidents are able to make the system work. not all the time. it becomes difficult later on. >> i think presidents nowadays can be great in certain areas i
don't think they can achieve greatness overall. a president can be good in the public sector of the private sector, using unilateral powers with congress through something like that. i don't think they can do at all. there are so many different roles to the presidency, i don't think one president can manage all of them. >> we know that these roles, the expectations often conflict. if you are chief of state you have to be broadly popular and participate in these symbolic representation but if you are chief executive and leader of your party you have to take top physicians and upset people, manipulate people and ultimately that can undermine your ability to be chief of state. >> the constant news coverage we
have today will bar us from having a great president. if they are under the same scrutiny like fdr, perhaps argue with the completely different faults we knew all the and idiosyncrasies maybe we would think they aren't all that great but they had the benefit of not having that. now we have constant news coverage. >> i think potentially the next president could be great in the sense that we are fighting terrorism seriously with our recent news that just happened. the identity of a republican is elected they are going to try to do something with the budget. those are serious things when they staff then. at the same time there are things that exist now such as abortion, and gary -- gay marriage aspects that are so different than people, if you don't tackle that issue versus tackling this issue, maybe i will think you are great but overall someone else will think
the opposite. >> you have the moral issues compromising. value shiftsaid over time great maybe our perception will shift and we will look back at bush and be -- maybe. going into iraq was a great idea. he did great. obamawe will look back on and his approval rating will go back. >> does anybody think there is a president in this post roosevelt aoup that is going to have rehabilitation of their reputation like truman and eisenhower? does anyone think there is a president that we are going to look more favorably at? >> i think that lyndon johnson is undergoing this shift in his or few tatian.
i think that will continue. soecially given congress is polarized and dysfunctional. like of people read his ability to get things done. obama is one that is overly criticized right now and his presidency is still going on. but iard to rank them think that for the situation he adopted when he became president , and all he has done in his first year, or whatever else he has done socially, he has accomplished a lot for what he had to deal with and the time he has been tested in. i think he is maybe one that will be less critical as we realize all that he has accomplished and faced in his presidency. potentially all the
presidents recently will undergo this in some circumstances, considering now we have what has happened immediately after. as time goes on we will see these issues aren't as drastic as they once were. goingstance, with bush into iraq, no president has had to deal with that type of terror attack. wasn't as wecision originally thought. >> one of the things that help, they played this post presidency now, every president has a long time out of office where they can take on new challenges that often rehabilitate their reputation. >> an important difference is people know a lot more about what the president is doing now. part of it was at the time they didn't know. people didn't have that much information. with the media, we know what the
presidents are thinking. we didn't know in the moment. we know more currently. we can look back and know more about bush than they could have with the older presidents immediately afterwards. there is not as much to rehabilitate. scandals.t, the any -- there is not going to be any scandals. >> we are not going to have these revelations like with kennedy that really hurt their image over the long-term. we already know that stuff. clinton's indiscretions were revealed at the time, not years later. i will see you all on thursday. join us as we join students and
college classrooms to hear lectures on topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. they are available as podcasts. or downloadbsite them from itunes. >> this week the c-span cities tour takes you to montgomery, alabama to explore the sister he is culture. >> we showed you a house that was the turning point for scott and zelda. the idea was to regroup. it was a landing pad. it was a regrouping stage. it wasn't the place where you are going to find scott and zelda engaging in domestic activities if you will. it was the place where they were going to be planning their next
move. >> what happens in the 1958 topaign is wallace does try reach this racial moderate and tries to campaign for the poor and working-class alabamians. he gets the support of the naacp. unfortunately if he loses to john patterson, he is devastated by this loss. all he wants to be is governor. he is upset by this loss. he considers it a failing. when people asked him what they take away from the 1958 campaign as, he says i tried to talk about progressive improvements. i tried to talk about good roads and schools and no one would listen. when i talked about segregation,
everybody stopped and started listening to me. >> the c-span cities tour. >> the supreme court is vested with power and with that comes responsibility. you have an individual sitting on the court for 30, 35 years. it doesn't pass the smell test when it comes to a modern democracy. talks about changes he would like to see at the supreme court including opening up oral arguments to cameras and imposing term limits, requiring justices to adhere to the same code of ethics others follow. >> the decisions affect all americans. all americans are aware of the third branch of government.
it has become so powerful. i can go on and on. these issues that congress and the executive branch would get together and figure out, that doesn't really happen anymore. the buck stops with the supreme court in a way that is unprecedented in our history. is changewe could do accountability. >> next, a designation that ensures historic preservation of the b