Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Top 5 Worst U.S. Presidents

After reading a lot about Hunter Thompson's Nixon-hate, I figured I'd exercise my history muscles and try to come up with this one. It was a bit harder than I first anticipated.

Dan's Top 5:

1. James Buchanan - The man who probably did the most to destroy the United States. Bleeding Kansas, Dred Scott, and the disintegration of the country. Historians in 2006 voted his failure to deal with secession the worst presidential mistake ever made. Probably the worst thing you can say about him is that Abraham Lincoln's presidency was so exceptional because Buchanan destroyed the country for him, like when you see some asshole kid who challenges you to a game of 52 pickup.

2. Richard Nixon - The man who probably destroyed my faith in the presidency, if I ever had any. He became the father of the modern imperial presidency by encroaching on Congressional power, which I think is part of the reason the U.S. government can accomplish so little these days (The other reason is that it's the U.S. Government.) Then there's that Watergate thing. There was a poll shortly after Watergate that showed that even if the American people knew about Watergate heading in to the 1972 election, he still would have won in a landslide. Maybe it's my faith in the public that should be destroyed.

3. George W. Bush - Eventually, I suspect that he will be ranked higher on this list. I wouldn't be surprised if he's eventually tried for war crimes or something. Think of how well this country was doing back at the turn of the century. Of course, part of the blame could also be put on terrorist attacks and the fact that Congress was controlled by Republicans, allowing Bush to get away with more. Allow his "legacy" to sink in, and he'll probably be regarded as one of the worst presidents of all time.

4. Andrew Johnson - The other half of the Buchanan-Johnson Oreo cookie, with Lincoln secure in his status as the excellent cream filling. He opposed the Reconstruction movement and the establishment of civil rights. He also actually worked to block the Fourteenth Amendment, which is probably the most cited amendment in history (except that 24th Amendment.) He even once wrote, "This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men."

5. Warren G. Harding - He once said, "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here." I never did learn much about his administration apart from the Teapot Dome scandal, but for what I can gather, he didn't have much control over anything. I'm happy to let him speak for himself here.

Ryan's Top Five

1. George W. Bush - Jesus, Christ. Keith Olbermann says it better than I could ever hope to right here:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Worth the 12 minutes.

2. James Buchanan - I mean, really every president from 1840-1860.

3. Andrew Jackson - He gets the spirit award for A) being such an outrageous racist (I'm sorry, I don't forgive people for the times they live in, fuck that) and B) being well too-admired by critics.

4. Richard Nixon - Douche.

5. George W. Bush - In the interest of being topical, I will rank him twice. In the years (decades) to come we will realize his Legacy of Pain. A murdering liar.

Honorable mentions: There are very few that I actually respect.

Tim's Top Five:
1. Ronald Reagan - This was the face that launched a thousand idiots. Before Ronald Reagan, we had a trade surplus, we were making things and selling things. Ronald Reagan shows up, decries how unions are destroying our ability to compete, effectively ends organized labor in the United States, and now we make nothing and buy everything from other countries, with our only domestic industry being arms. He is the face of the military-industrial complex and has millions of Republicans in lockstep behind anyone who can claim to be a buffoon. He is responsible for #2 on this list, and cannot possibly fall any lower on this list.

2. George W. Bush - He created a fake war, destroyed the last lingering belief that this country was guided by the principles he constantly belabored, and got re-elected by dropping our elections to an all-new low. He helped create the new economic depression and was so bad that he convinced a lot of Republicans to vote for Barack Obama. Read that twice. And he's not sure about evolution, understandably, being the best argument against natural selection that we've seen recently.

3. James Buchanan - Such a bad president he couldn't even get a woman to marry him.

4. Sarah Palin - I don't want to have to edit this list in a few years, so I might as well just get it right the first time.

5. William Henry Harrison - It's hard to be a caretaker president when you spend your entire tenure being taken care of. You shouldn't have let Akira Kurosawa write your speech.

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