Historian: Just like Obama, Hoover rode into office on a wave of popularity

Historians in the News

Democrats might not like this comparison, but one historian thinks that President Herbert Hoover and President Barack Obama have two significant things in common: both rode a wave of popularity into office and both will likely see hard economic times mark their presidencies.

Obama, however, has the chance to learn from Hoover’s mistakes. And the things he did right.

“This might be a warning for President Obama and others in the future,” Hoover historian and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee history professor Glen Jeansonne said. “Entering office on a great wave of popularity is no guarantee of maintaining it when you leave office.”

Jeansonne’s comments, as well as those of Hoover Library-Museum Director Timothy Walch, come after C-SPAN on Feb. 12 released a ranking of all 42 former presidents, with Hoover earning a spot at No. 34.

His ranking puts him ahead of John Tyler, George W. Bush, Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding, William Henry Harrison, Franklin D. Pierce, Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan. But both Jeansonne and Walch think Hoover ought to be much higher, perhaps in the upper half.

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