Nick Ragone is an author, attorney and public relations executive in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of the Eagleton Institute of Political Science at Rutgers University (undergraduate) and the Georgetown University Law Center.

He is the author of three books: Essential American Government, Everything American Government, and President's Most Wanted. Nick is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business, the PIX11 Morning Show, and has a weekly appearance on the popular Raph Bailey Radio Show.  He co-anchored PIX11's five-hour live inauguration coverage with Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

Nick is a contributor to Donklephant.com, one of the most influential political blogs on the web, and  has written for US News & World Report, The Star-Ledger, Real Simple Magazine and RealSimple.com.  Nick has been quoted in over two dozen stories on politics, the presidency, and public relations.  In December of 2007, Nick was named one of PR Week's 40 under 40 to watch, and in May of 2008 was featured in "Profiles of Success", a book about public relations. Nick lives in Jersey City, NJ, with his wife and two children, and spends what little free time he has obsessing on the Mets.

Nick can also be found on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740817853




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I have a poor sense of timing ... but here are my rankings

My lasagna loving brother suggests to me today -- the day after president's day -- that perhaps I should post my presidential rankings.

The thought hadn't really occurred to me, but given how I dedicate four chapters in President's Most Wanted to rankings, maybe he has spandex pants from the eighties a point.

To much fanfare, C-Span released their rankings, which was "guided by a team of academic advisors" (translation: a bunch of tweed-wearing liberals).  Ok, so their team included Richard Norton Smith and Douglass Brinkley; my team included me, Frankie, and Frankie's Sponge Bob doll.

In the book, I divide the rankings into four chapters:

Great and Near Great

1. Abe Lincoln; 2. George Washington; 3. FDR; 4. Teddy Roosevelt; 5. Harry Truman; 6. Thomas Jefferson; 7. Andrew Jackson; 8. Ronald Reagan; 9. Dwight Eisenhower; 10. John F. Kennedy

The Good

11. James Polk; 12. James Monroe; 13. Woodrow Wilson; 14. William McKinley; 15. Grover Cleveland; 16. James Madison; 17. Chester Arthur; 18. John Adams; 19. Bill Clinton; 20. George H.W. Bush 

The Average

21. William Howard Taft; 22. Calvin Coolidge; 23. Marvin van Buren; 24. John Quincy Adams; 25. Gerald Ford; 26. Zachary Taylor; 27. Benjamin Harrison; 28. Lyndon Johnson; 29. Jimmy Carter; 30. John Tyler

The Bad & the Ugly

31. Rutherford B. Hayes; 32. Franlkin Pierce; 33. Millard Fillmore; 34. George W. Bush; 35. Warren G. Harding; 36. Ulysses Grant; 37. Herbert Hoover; 38. Andrew Johnson; 39. James Buchanan; 40 Richard Nixon.   I didn't rank Garfield (the president, not the cat) and William Henry Harrison because their terms were so short.

Keep in mind, my rankings were published two+ years ago.  The first five we got exactly the same, which was interesting.  Not surprisingly, I have Reagan higher; they have Wilson higher.  I was shocked, however, to see Andrew Jackson at 13; I had him at 7.  

The rest of the top-20 is pretty similar, with one HUGE exception: Lyndon Johnson ... the pointy heads had him at 11 (WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF?), while I correctly had him at 28.  Let's see: HE LIED TO GET US INTO A NEEDLESS WAR AND IN THE PROCESS TORE THE COUNTRY ASUNDER. Sound familiar?  This is where the academic historians show their liberal bias.  For the love of the peace sign, I can't figure out how anyone could consider LBJ anything but a miserable failure; to rank him as a near great is patently absurd.  I absolutely don't get it.  I'd love to interview one of these historians and talk this through.  In fact, I'm going to make that a goal next year -- to cross examine a few of the C-Span historians and figure out how they concluded that Lydon Johnson should be a near great. 

The rest of it is pretty similar, too.  I ranked George W. Bush at 34 (again, two years ago), while they had him at 36.  Of course, if I had known that the economy was going to fall off a cliff, I probably would have ranked him lower.  The other big difference is Chester Arthur.  I think he's the most underrated president in history, and deserves to be in the top-20.  The C-Span gang unimaginatively dumped him near the bottom, which I think is wrong.  We had Nixon different, too:  I have him last because he was emotionally unfit to be president, and posed a real threat to the Republic.  I don't think you can segregate out the good things -- China, detente, etc -- from the criminal behavior. 

Anyway, that's my list.  What's yours ...

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Reader Comments (3)

Fabulous post, and fabulous book--we highly recommend Presidents Most Wanted.

February 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterB


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