Call it history’s conservative curse.
According to a University of Miami study, those historical rankings of American presidents that pop up every year or so are significantly weighted in favor of Democrats, thanks to the liberal leanings of academia.
Political science professor Joseph E. Uscinski, one of the study’s authors, said the new analysis shows that the overwhelmingly liberal academic community consistently ranks Republican presidents about 10 spots lower than the public would.
“I don’t think anyone is surprised,” Mr. Uscinski told The Washington Times. “Among the political scientists and historians that I work with, Democrats outnumber Republicans 8 to 1.”
What was eye-opening, he said, was the stark difference between the historians’ assessments of Republicans and the grades given by the public.
“On average, all the Republicans get the short end of the stick,” he said. “But the one it impacts the most is [Ronald] Reagan. It’s often difficult for people to fathom why he’s ranked as low as he is.”
The University of Miami report, to be published in the scholarly journal White House Studies, looks at presidential rankings from historian Arthur Schlesinger’s seminal 1948 survey through more recent polls, including the Wall Street Journal’s 2005 list and C-SPAN’s 2009 survey.
In the C-SPAN rankings - the focus of much of the University of Miami analysis - Reagan in 2009 broke into the Top Ten, behind Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, Dwight Eisenhower and Woodrow Wilson.
Downgrading the performance of Reagan and other Republicans, including Gerald R. Ford, Richard Nixon and both Bushes, George H.W. and George W., Mr. Uscinski said, has an impact on how people view the presidency today and in the future.
“When progressive or liberal presidencies dominate these lists, those attributes begin to be associated with the criteria of what makes a great president,” he said.
Most historians readily concede that, politically, their colleagues lean left. That doesn’t mean their conclusions or assessments are incorrect, though, historian Jeff Kimball said.
“When you’re talking about judging presidents, you’re talking about judging politics,” the professor at Miami University in Ohio said. Everyone, he said, has a subjective point of view.
“But does that mean that none of us are capable of a detached point of view? I don’t think that’s the case,” said the author of “The Vietnam War File: Uncovering the Secret History of Nixon-Era Strategy (2004).View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
David Eldridge joined The Washington Times in 1999 and over the next seven years helped lead the paper’s coverage of regional politics and government, Sept. 11, and the sniper attacks of 2002. In 2006, he was named managing editor of the paper’s Web site. He came to The Times from the Telegraph in North Platte, Neb., where he served as ...
By Elaine Donnelly
Extending sexual misconduct to combat units
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Video reviews of today's hottest trends in Minecraft (servers and mods) along with a look at the latest video games with your host MCairsoft14 (alias Jerad Zad).
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Contributions to the Communities Sports desk from readers.
Straight talk on climate science, energy economics, and public policy.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention