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And You Get Another Presidential Ranking!
The Oprah Winfrey Show debuted on this date, 35 years ago. To celebrate, reach under your chair; you’ll find nothing there, but click on this link, and you get another presidential ranking to read!
Oprah Winfrey, the Swiss Army knife of talent and humanitarianism, aired the first episode of her wildly successful television talk show on this date, September 8, 1986.
Aptly named The Oprah Winfrey Show, the title character showcased interviews, reviews, self-improvement lectures, and various pop-cultural segments over the 25 years it aired. The premiere episode focused on marrying the person of your choice, which I probably need to check out.
Oprah has diligently worked her way to becoming a billionaire. I once missed a trivia question about a billionaire born in Mississippi, using some good old racial bias to never even think of Oprah as the answer. Unsurprisingly, my team got destroyed.
Winfrey has the Midas touch regarding products, even though she doesn’t have any endorsement deal. If she happens to look at something, say a random, not too bad, blog about American history, it would take off and cause the person writing it to stop working and focus entirely on developing his side project—just an example.
In 2006, Oprah endorsed a little-known but memorable speech orator, Senator Barack Obama, for president, even though at that point he wasn’t a candidate. She reiterated that support a year later and launched Obama into a place on the Dake Presidential Power Rankings.
Now we all get the next round of presidential rankings!
23: William Taft
2017 Ranking: 23
2019 Ranking: 23
2021 C-SPAN Ranking: 23 – YES!
Term – March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
Taft was a staunch anti-monopolist, using the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to break up big gas, oil, and steel companies. Taft was also a supporter of free immigration and vetoed bills passed by Congress supported by organized labor by imposing literary testing on unskilled workers.
Taft nominated an old Confederate General to the Supreme Court. Come on, man. He also put a judge on the circuit court who ended up impeached and removed from his seat due to taking bribes from coal interests.
Um - Okay:
There’s a story that Taft, who was quite large, got stuck in the White House bathtub. It’s not true. But Taft is also the answer to the question, which presidents are buried in Arlington Cemetery? He is also the last president to have facial hair.
Why did I rank him here?
Taft is another interesting guy. He was never elected to anything before the presidency. He was simply appointed – governor of the Philippines, governor of Cuba, Secretary of War, etc. He also had quite a breakup with President Teddy Roosevelt. Taft was a smart guy but somewhat “meh” when it comes to presidencies.
22: Barack Obama
2017 Ranking: 20
2019 Ranking: 20
2021 C-SPAN Ranking: 10 – Um, no.
Term – January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017
Obama swept into office based on Hope & Change. After the disaster that was George W. Bush’s leadership, Obama inherited a financial mess, along with military entanglements we have only begun to get ourselves out of. He navigated a difficult Republican lead Congress and a fully operational right-wing media conglomerate that has perfected painting him a poor light. Despite that, Obama holds two of the best speeches in the past 100 years, but neither come close in my book to the eulogy he gave for one of the people murdered in June 2017 at Emmanuel African Methodist Church.
He was far from perfect. Particularly regarding announcing when we would leave areas of conflict, which allowed our enemies to simply wait us out. Obama upset many people, but mostly if you took the time to educate yourself outside the 7-11:00 p.m. timeslot of Fox News, that anger you felt was a disappointment, rather than the rage that he was fundamentally changing the country.
Um - Okay:
Obama passed good, but not great, healthcare. He steered us towards more equality with the LGBTQ+ community, although you could argue reluctantly. He was the first African American elected president, so the bar is set pretty high.
Why did I rank him here?
I’m still smarting from Obama’s decision not to close Gitmo, along with a bunch of other choices. Read A Crisis Wasted by Reed Hundt, and your disappointments will be confirmed. He did some good, but this pick is trending down. If you are a fan of moderate conservativism, then Obama will soon become your hero. Also, the man has become entirely too bougie over the years. The National Archives will not run his presidential library, and please, don’t get me started; let’s just move on.
We are halfway through our latest round of presidential rankings. What are your thoughts?