Friday, January 16, 2009

George W Bush: The Worst President Ever?

I was over at Andrew Sullivan's site today and he thinks, as it stands now, W is even worse than James Buchanan.

I won't go that far. Buchanan watched the South secede without lifting a finger, deferring to President-Elect Lincoln to deal with it. Treason through in-action. You can't get worse than that, so he's still number one.

So let's weigh Bush: his massive government expansion; jaw dropping debts; two long, expensive wars that still aren't won yet (or maybe never); lowering the US image worldwide to an all-time low. This puts him in very clear contention for #2 all-time.

Let's compare a few of the other bad ones:

Jimmy Carter: Nearly destroyed the economy and thought being nice to people would solve international problems. Impotent during the hostage crisis. The old joke about Carter, from somebody marooned on a desert island for four years during his administration: "Next thing you're going to tell me is that he gave away the Panama Canal."

Richard Nixon: The only president to resign and escaped jail only with a pardon by his successor. Conservatives scoff at his liberal policies. Took five years to get Americans out of Vietnam. In hindsight, just how ground breaking was his recognition of China? Somebody was going to do it eventually.

Lyndon Johnson: The Great Government Expansionist before Bush. Started the Vietnam War that he didn't know how to wage and couldn't finish. At least he put through Kennedy's tax cuts and therefore enjoyed a good economy.

Warren Harding: Scandals and corruption but had the good fortune to die before he did too much damage.

US Grant: Administration was plagued with scandal and nearly bankrupted the country. Won the Civil War as a general, so all was forgiven.

Andrew Johnson: The drunken tailor from Tennessee was the only President impeached before Clinton. Had the bad luck to have taken office after the assassination of the greatest president ever, Abraham Lincoln.

It's a tough one. I think Bush takes #2. The US has bounced back from the others, but it looks like things are going to get much worse this time.


  1. I think you have to add James Monroe to the list. This guy attempted the invasion of Canada, with little success. In return Washington was burned to the ground. A lot is pinned on Buchanan that perhaps should not be. The Union of the States was always considered voluntary, until Lincoln. Lincoln imposed large export taxes on southern cotton exported to England. The South objected to the taxes, and fired on Fort Sumter, which started the war. In a democracy how do you justify military action to keep people in your Republic?
    There is also a lot of luck regarding the timing of Presidents. Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan all took office at the bottom of economic cycles. They left office with the economy doing well. Bush had the highest approval rating ever recorded, but when the economy turned down so did his ratings.
    All in all, I think Bush has to be near the bottom of the list. He is the biggest socialist of all time. Everything he did was either a lie, or completely wrong.

  2. True it is hard to justify military action in a republic to people who have made a free choice but Lincoln read the fine print in the Articles of Confederation about the "perpetual union" and ran with it. After a terrible war, the result was the USA remained intact. You can argue the means but not the end.

  3. A very interesting what if. If Lee had won at Gettysburg, what would the world look like? The battle was very close. It could have gone the other way. A few less mistakes, and if Stonewall Jackson(Lee`s right hand man) had been present, the South might have prevailed. The US would not have been a world power in WW1 and WW2. The US would have resembled a bunch of Latin American States. Our world would be so much different.
    I am a Lincoln fan, but there were very many negatives as well. Ford was a moron, but look at all the bad things he got through. NYC went bankrupt, Vietnam, the worse recession since the 30s, Watergate, the oil crisis, I mean my God this guy took on every bad thing possible, and is regarded as a bad President.