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2329Re: [prezveepsenator] Re: He's The Worst Ever

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  • THOMAS JOHNSON
    May 20, 2007
      I remember those discussions and was a little hesitant
      to rank him completely at the bottom, because (1 we
      lacked historical perspective and (2 he still had time
      to turn his presidency around a la Reagan in 86 and
      Clinton in 95. Historian Michael Beschloss spoke
      recently of the fact that we don't know how GWB will
      look in 30 years and beyond, but that it would be hard
      to imagine the events that would turn this presidency
      around. For me the telling point came last Dec when
      the Iraq Study Group offered him the political cover
      to save face and salvage some of his legacy. Instead,
      he rejected them and did the opposite of what they
      suggested and, sadly, it looks to me like we are
      living through the worst presidency in the history of
      the US. The amazing financial irresponsibility of the
      past 6 years has been obscured, and those chickens
      will be roosting with a vengeance.

      Tom


      --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

      > Back in 2004 I used to say that GWB would rank at
      > the bottom WITH his
      > great-great-great-grandfather Franklin Pierce
      > (D-NH), but after
      > Katrina I concluded that he beats Pierce and Harding
      > by at least a levee.
      >
      > Make no mistake that Harding was really bad. But he
      > only served two
      > years and then died gracefully, so it wasn't nearly
      > as catastrophic as
      > how we are having it.
      >
      >
      > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, THOMAS
      > JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > I've been interested about what historians are
      > saying
      > > about the current presidency, and here are some of
      > the
      > > thoughts I have gleaned. All are paraphrases but
      > > accurate to their intent.
      > > At the two Pulitzer prize-winning Arthur
      > Schlesinger
      > > Jr. memorial service last month, Schlesinger's
      > > daughter said the AS Jr. did not consider GW Bush
      > a
      > > worse president than James Buchanan but added " on
      > a
      > > good day, " inferring that some days he did.
      > > Pulitzer Prize candidate HW Brand wrote in the
      > March
      > > 2007 Texas Monthly that in the discussion on
      > whether
      > > Bush is worse than Buchanan, one would have to say
      > > that as bad a Buchanan was, his situation was
      > > inherited, where as Bush' troubles were
      > > self-inflicted. There are several contributors in
      > the
      > > article, including Robert Caro and Robert Dallek.
      > > 2004 Buchanan biographer Jean Baker began a talk
      > on
      > > Cspan in 2004 saying that 'James Buchanan is
      > widely
      > > considered the worst president in American
      > history..
      > > at least up until now.' It's my personal guess,
      > that
      > > her opinion has not improved since this was before
      > > Katrina, the war going so bad, the NSA spy
      > scandal,
      > > signing statements, etc.
      > > I'm not trying to be confrontational and would be
      > > interested in a sincere discussion on the matter.
      > >
      > > Tom
      > >
      > >
      > > --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > >
      > >
      >
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/01/AR2006120101509.html
      > > > He's The Worst Ever
      > > >
      > > > By Eric Foner
      > > > Sunday, December 3, 2006; B01
      > > >
      > > > Ever since 1948, when Harvard professor Arthur
      > > > Schlesinger Sr. asked
      > > > 55 historians to rank U.S. presidents on a scale
      > > > from "great" to
      > > > "failure," such polls have been a favorite
      > pastime
      > > > for those of us who
      > > > study the American past.
      > > >
      > > > Changes in presidential rankings reflect shifts
      > in
      > > > how we view
      > > > history. When the first poll was taken, the
      > > > Reconstruction era that
      > > > followed the Civil War was regarded as a time of
      > > > corruption and
      > > > misgovernment caused by granting black men the
      > right
      > > > to vote. As a
      > > > result, President Andrew Johnson, a fervent
      > white
      > > > supremacist who
      > > > opposed efforts to extend basic rights to former
      > > > slaves, was rated
      > > > "near great." Today, by contrast, scholars
      > consider
      > > > Reconstruction a
      > > > flawed but noble attempt to build an interracial
      > > > democracy from the
      > > > ashes of slavery -- and Johnson a flat failure.
      > > >
      > > > More often, however, the rankings display a
      > > > remarkable year-to-year
      > > > uniformity. Abraham Lincoln, George Washington
      > and
      > > > Franklin D.
      > > > Roosevelt always figure in the "great" category.
      > > > Most presidents are
      > > > ranked "average" or, to put it less charitably,
      > > > mediocre. Johnson,
      > > > Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Warren G.
      > Harding,
      > > > Calvin Coolidge
      > > > and Richard M. Nixon occupy the bottom rung, and
      > now
      > > > President Bush is
      > > > a leading contender to join them. A look at
      > history,
      > > > as well as Bush's
      > > > policies, explains why.
      > > >
      > > > At a time of national crisis, Pierce and
      > Buchanan,
      > > > who served in the
      > > > eight years preceding the Civil War, and
      > Johnson,
      > > > who followed it,
      > > > were simply not up to the job. Stubborn,
      > > > narrow-minded, unwilling to
      > > > listen to criticism or to consider alternatives
      > to
      > > > disastrous
      > > > mistakes, they surrounded themselves with
      > sycophants
      > > > and shaped their
      > > > policies to appeal to retrogressive political
      > forces
      > > > (in that era,
      > > > pro-slavery and racist ideologues). Even after
      > being
      > > > repudiated in the
      > > > midterm elections of 1854, 1858 and 1866,
      > > > respectively, they ignored
      > > > major currents of public opinion and clung to
      > flawed
      > > > policies. Bush's
      > > > presidency certainly brings theirs to mind.
      > > >
      > > > Harding and Coolidge are best remembered for the
      > > > corruption of their
      > > > years in office (1921-23 and 1923-29,
      > respectively)
      > > > and for channeling
      > > > money and favors to big business. They slashed
      > > > income and corporate
      > > > taxes and supported employers' campaigns to
      > > > eliminate unions. Members
      > > > of their administrations received kickbacks and
      > > > bribes from lobbyists
      > > > and businessmen. "Never before, here or anywhere
      > > > else," declared the
      > > > Wall Street Journal, "has a government been so
      > > > completely fused with
      > > > business." The Journal could hardly have
      > anticipated
      > > > the even worse
      > > > cronyism, corruption and pro-business bias of
      > the
      > > > Bush administration.
      > > >
      > > > Despite some notable accomplishments in domestic
      > and
      > > > foreign policy,
      > > > Nixon is mostly associated today with disdain
      > for
      > > > the Constitution and
      > > > abuse of presidential power. Obsessed with
      > secrecy
      > > > and media leaks, he
      > > > viewed every critic as a threat to national
      > security
      > > > and illegally
      > > > spied on U.S. citizens. Nixon considered himself
      > > > above the law.
      > > >
      > > > Bush has taken this disdain for law even
      > further. He
      > > > has sought to
      > > > strip people accused of crimes of rights that
      > date
      > > > as far back as the
      > > > Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence:
      > trial
      > > > by impartial jury,
      > > > access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence
      > against
      > > > them. In dozens of
      > > > statements when signing legislation, he has
      > asserted
      > > > the right to
      > > > ignore the parts of laws with which he
      > disagrees.
      >
      === message truncated ===
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