Now out of office, Barack Obama can officially be ranked by C-SPAN's tabulation by presidential historians, and the man from Hawaii ends up in the 12 spot, maybe not Mount Rushmore territory, but certainly one of the better chief executives we've had.
Former President Barack Obama was ranked 12th best among 43 former presidents in in C-SPAN’s third-ever survey of dozens of presidential historians.
The network asked 91 presidential historians to rank every former president on 10 leadership attributes. C-SPAN also performed the survey in 2000 and 2009.
Obama ranked favorably compared to his immediate predecessors: George W. Bush ranked at No. 33 (up from 36 in 2009), George H.W. Bush was No. 20 (down from 18), and Bill Clinton held steady at No. 15.
Ronald Reagan was judged the ninth best president of all time, up from No. 10 in 2009.
In a press release accompanying the results, historian Richard Norton Smith, an academic adviser for the project, noted that five of the top 10 judged presidents in the American pantheon served between 1933 and 1969.
“It reinforces Franklin Roosevelt's claim to be not only the first modern president but the man who, in reinventing the office, also established the criteria by which we judge our leaders,” he said.
The full list:
So yeah, for those of you playing at home, Dubya moved up a few notches into "C-plus Augustus" territory, and James "Oops I accidentally The Civil War" Buchanan still sets the nadir for the office. Reagan, still silly overrated, and Big Dog's still hanging at 15. Jimmy Carter is in the middle of the pack at 26, and Poppy Bush rounds out the top 20.
One has to wonder where The Donald will end up on this list. I'm betting south of Hoover.