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He's The Worst Ever

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  • Ram Lau
    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
    Message 1 of 9 , May 19, 2007
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      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. His administration
      has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that
      have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world.
      Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing
      judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The
      court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on detainees indicate
      how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law.

      One other president bears comparison to Bush: James K. Polk. Some
      historians admire him, in part because he made their job easier by
      keeping a detailed diary during his administration, which spanned the
      years of the Mexican-American War. But Polk should be remembered
      primarily for launching that unprovoked attack on Mexico and seizing
      one-third of its territory for the United States.

      Lincoln, then a member of Congress from Illinois, condemned Polk for
      misleading Congress and the public about the cause of the war -- an
      alleged Mexican incursion into the United States. Accepting the
      president's right to attack another country "whenever he shall deem it
      necessary," Lincoln observed, would make it impossible to "fix any
      limit" to his power to make war. Today, one wishes that the country
      had heeded Lincoln's warning.

      Historians are loath to predict the future. It is impossible to say
      with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in
      his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of
      leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed
      predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the
      worst president in U.S. history.

      efoner@...

      Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton professor

      of history at Columbia University.
    • THOMAS JOHNSON
      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
      Message 2 of 9 , May 20, 2007
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        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.
        > His administration
        > has adopted policies regarding the treatment of
        > prisoners of war that
        > have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually
        > the entire world.
        > Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has
        > refrained from passing
        > judgment on presidential actions related to national
        > defense. The
        > court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on
        > detainees indicate
        > how far the administration has strayed from the rule
        > of law.
        >
        > One other president bears comparison to Bush: James
        > K. Polk. Some
        > historians admire him, in part because he made their
        > job easier by
        > keeping a detailed diary during his administration,
        > which spanned the
        > years of the Mexican-American War. But Polk should
        > be remembered
        > primarily for launching that unprovoked attack on
        > Mexico and seizing
        > one-third of its territory for the United States.
        >
        > Lincoln, then a member of Congress from Illinois,
        > condemned Polk for
        > misleading Congress and the public about the cause
        > of the war -- an
        > alleged Mexican incursion into the United States.
        > Accepting the
        > president's right to attack another country
        > "whenever he shall deem it
        > necessary," Lincoln observed, would make it
        > impossible to "fix any
        > limit" to his power to make war. Today, one wishes
        > that the country
        > had heeded Lincoln's warning.
        >
        > Historians are loath to predict the future. It is
        > impossible to say
        > with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say,
        > 2050. But somehow, in
        > his first six years in office he has managed to
        > combine the lapses of
        > leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of
        > his failed
        > predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to
        > rank him as the
        > worst president in U.S. history.
        >
        > efoner@...
        >
        > Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton professor
        >
        > of history at Columbia University.
        >
        >
        >
      • Ram Lau
        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
        Message 3 of 9 , May 20, 2007
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          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.
          > > His administration
          > > has adopted policies regarding the treatment of
          > > prisoners of war that
          > > have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually
          > > the entire world.
          > > Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has
          > > refrained from passing
          > > judgment on presidential actions related to national
          > > defense. The
          > > court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on
          > > detainees indicate
          > > how far the administration has strayed from the rule
          > > of law.
          > >
          > > One other president bears comparison to Bush: James
          > > K. Polk. Some
          > > historians admire him, in part because he made their
          > > job easier by
          > > keeping a detailed diary during his administration,
          > > which spanned the
          > > years of the Mexican-American War. But Polk should
          > > be remembered
          > > primarily for launching that unprovoked attack on
          > > Mexico and seizing
          > > one-third of its territory for the United States.
          > >
          > > Lincoln, then a member of Congress from Illinois,
          > > condemned Polk for
          > > misleading Congress and the public about the cause
          > > of the war -- an
          > > alleged Mexican incursion into the United States.
          > > Accepting the
          > > president's right to attack another country
          > > "whenever he shall deem it
          > > necessary," Lincoln observed, would make it
          > > impossible to "fix any
          > > limit" to his power to make war. Today, one wishes
          > > that the country
          > > had heeded Lincoln's warning.
          > >
          > > Historians are loath to predict the future. It is
          > > impossible to say
          > > with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say,
          > > 2050. But somehow, in
          > > his first six years in office he has managed to
          > > combine the lapses of
          > > leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of
          > > his failed
          > > predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to
          > > rank him as the
          > > worst president in U.S. history.
          > >
          > > efoner@...
          > >
          > > Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton professor
          > >
          > > of history at Columbia University.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • THOMAS JOHNSON
          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
          Message 4 of 9 , May 20, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            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 ===
          • Ram Lau
            ... You had an accompanying Congress that went along with it as far as financial irresponsibility goes. History will remember that Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and
            Message 5 of 9 , May 21, 2007
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              > the US. The amazing financial irresponsibility of the
              > past 6 years has been obscured, and those chickens
              > will be roosting with a vengeance.

              You had an accompanying Congress that went along with it as far as
              financial irresponsibility goes. History will remember that Olympia
              Snowe (R-ME) and John McCain (R-AZ) and Jim Jeffords (I-VT) stood tall
              as the reckless tax cuts were passed.
            • THOMAS JOHNSON
              I d forgotten that those 3 showed the courage to do that. If Jeffords was an independant at that point, then that means that the Dems controlled the Senate and
              Message 6 of 9 , May 21, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                I'd forgotten that those 3 showed the courage to do
                that. If Jeffords was an independant at that point,
                then that means that the Dems controlled the Senate
                and were enablers, which may be why they don't raise
                the issue much. I doubt that history will be kind to
                any of the recent Congresses.

                Tom


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

                > > the US. The amazing financial irresponsibility of
                > the
                > > past 6 years has been obscured, and those chickens
                > > will be roosting with a vengeance.
                >
                > You had an accompanying Congress that went along
                > with it as far as
                > financial irresponsibility goes. History will
                > remember that Olympia
                > Snowe (R-ME) and John McCain (R-AZ) and Jim Jeffords
                > (I-VT) stood tall
                > as the reckless tax cuts were passed.
                >
                >
                >
              • Ram Lau
                ... The compromised version of the 2001 tax cut: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=107&session=1&vote=00170
                Message 7 of 9 , May 21, 2007
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                  > I'd forgotten that those 3 showed the courage to do
                  > that. If Jeffords was an independant at that point,
                  > then that means that the Dems controlled the Senate
                  > and were enablers, which may be why they don't raise
                  > the issue much. I doubt that history will be kind to
                  > any of the recent Congresses.

                  The compromised version of the 2001 tax cut:
                  http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=107&session=1&vote=00170

                  A good number of Democrats voted for it at the end, but for the 2003
                  tax cut only Zell Miller (D-GA) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) sided with the
                  Republicans while Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), John
                  McCain (R-AZ) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) voted Nay with the Democrats:
                  http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00196

                  Chafee just slipped my mind. The 2003 tax cut was passed 50-50 with
                  Dick Cheney casting the tie-vote.
                • THOMAS JOHNSON
                  Thanks, Ram.. I guess I need to amend my statement of the Dems being enablers.. I counted around 30 Dem votes against the tax cuts and it lists Jeffords as
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 21, 2007
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                    Thanks, Ram.. I guess I need to amend my statement of
                    the Dems being enablers.. I counted around 30 Dem
                    votes against the tax cuts and it lists Jeffords as
                    still a Republican, so the Republicans were the
                    majority party.

                    Tom


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

                    > > I'd forgotten that those 3 showed the courage to
                    > do
                    > > that. If Jeffords was an independant at that
                    > point,
                    > > then that means that the Dems controlled the
                    > Senate
                    > > and were enablers, which may be why they don't
                    > raise
                    > > the issue much. I doubt that history will be kind
                    > to
                    > > any of the recent Congresses.
                    >
                    > The compromised version of the 2001 tax cut:
                    >
                    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=107&session=1&vote=00170
                    >
                    > A good number of Democrats voted for it at the end,
                    > but for the 2003
                    > tax cut only Zell Miller (D-GA) and Ben Nelson
                    > (D-NE) sided with the
                    > Republicans while Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Lincoln
                    > Chafee (R-RI), John
                    > McCain (R-AZ) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) voted Nay
                    > with the Democrats:
                    >
                    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00196
                    >
                    > Chafee just slipped my mind. The 2003 tax cut was
                    > passed 50-50 with
                    > Dick Cheney casting the tie-vote.
                    >
                    >
                  • Ram Lau
                    ... You can blame Ben Nelson (D-NE) for enabling the 2003 tax cut. Without his vote, the bill would have been defeated 51-49 and Cheney wouldn t have been able
                    Message 9 of 9 , May 22, 2007
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                      > Thanks, Ram.. I guess I need to amend my statement of
                      > the Dems being enablers.. I counted around 30 Dem
                      > votes against the tax cuts and it lists Jeffords as
                      > still a Republican, so the Republicans were the
                      > majority party.

                      You can blame Ben Nelson (D-NE) for enabling the 2003 tax cut. Without
                      his vote, the bill would have been defeated 51-49 and Cheney wouldn't
                      have been able to decide its passage.

                      Ram
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