In an online forum, a professor asks where to place Trump on a list of world leaders. Most likely blinded by Trump derangement syndrome, the professor concludes Trump comes in ahead of Stalin. Another forum participant has a better analysis:
Professor ZZZ asks: “[W]here [would] you put Trump?”
No new, major land war(s) in Asia—so Trump is ahead of LBJ.
No missile crisis risking an exchange of nuclear weapons with a superpower—so Trump is ahead of JFK.
No move to war after foreign power made full, reasonable efforts to amicably settle reasons for dispute—so Trump is ahead of Madison (War of 1812). Under Madison, we burned down the capital of British North America (York/Toronto), and they returned the favor in Washington. So Trump beats Madison.
No wars against native American tribes—so Trump is ahead of [fill in the blank—many such presidents could be listed here].
No wars based on poor intelligence or to prop up foreign absolute monarchies—so Trump is ahead of both Bush I and Bush II.
Trump has not interned 100,000s of US citizens based on race—so Trump is ahead of FDR.
Trump has not allowed a U.S. state or territory to go into civil war and then allow its government to be hijacked by the brigands who engineered the civil war—so Trump is ahead of Buchanan (Bleeding Kansas).
I still don’t know why President Clinton blew up an aspirin factory or why Secretary Clinton permitted NATO forces and materiel to blow up Libya—so Trump probably comes out ahead of both of them too.
Trump is ahead of Woodrow Wilson: World War I, and his resegregation of the federal civil service. I grant you that being ahead of Wilson is not saying much…but then, the nation survived Wilson, and no one today thinks of Wilson as having lowered the bar vis-a-vis future presidents. ((I do… he was more openly hostile to the Constitution than any president before him — Jemison)) Professor ZZZ seems to be worried about this. He wrote: “Having a POTUS so publicly awful along those lines lowers the horrible bar so dramatically that we will pay for years to come.” Really?—Will we pay for it in years to come, or is this just a shabby slippery slope-type argument? …
If words and pretty speeches are the measure of a president, then Trump comes up short. The question is whether that is the correct standard for measuring presidents in a dangerous world.
This is why knowing history is indispensable — it provides essential context within which to understand the present. As for the last point in the quote, I remind those who gauge world leaders mainly by their oratory that Adolph Hitler was a rather gifted and mesmerizing speaker by all accounts. For all his bluster and distracting patterns of speech, Trump has consistently pursued exactly what he promised to do during his campaigning. In a world rightfully cynical about politicians who routinely fail to do that, this performance counts for a lot among his supporters. It’s the key reason many voters are willing to overlook the baggage of Trump’s many personal shortcomings. That our self-professed elites can’t understand that says more about them than it does Trump or his supporters.
A final thought: it appears Trump has survived one of the most nefarious political plots ever contrived against a president. If that’s the case, and he successfully brings to public account the unelected bureaucracy that attempted it, his administration may well be remembered as one of the most consequential in our nation’s history.