Tag Archives: President’s Day

For President’s Day, A Look at What Might Have Been…The Best and Worst Losers

So last year I did a list of the best and worst presidents for President’s day.  Not much has changed in a year.  I still

Currently inhabited by an idiot.

Currently inhabited by an idiot.

won’t rank Obama until he’s not in office (but I’m sure we can guess which end of the spectrum he’s going to end up on). So this year I thought we would look at some of the people who wanted the office but didn’t get it.

 

Gosh...how can I best kill my base and help Romney's?

One day he will be on the list of worst presidents…but not today.

Now most presidents are forgettable at best (at worst the majority are terrible)…and the also-rans are worse for the most part.  I went over the list.  Seldom were there truly horrific candidates who were actually worse than the people they ran against. And only a few times has there been someone of real caliber who lost to a terrible president.  Most of the elections can be classified as a race between Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber.  Most of the 1800’s is just semi-useless politicians for all parties, neither worthy of praise or dishonor, and just because there are bad presidents in the1900’s, the opposition didn’t always run particularly good challengers. Still let’s look at some of the people who could have been president.

I will cover the two groups, the bullets we dodged in not electing truly horrific candidates, and the great candidates we should have elected if we had had any brains.

 

(A quick disclaimer I tried going through all the history books I had and what reliable web resources I could get but the fact of the matter is that history tends to ignore the losers so I wouldn’t call this a definitive list because I’m sure there are issues and character traits I just couldn’t find out about.  It’s partly why the majority of the people on this list are from the last century, I know more about them…the other reason is that as we have gotten more towards a mob based democracy we’ve gotten a more erratic quality of candidate.)

 

Okay so here’s how I’m judging things.

 

 

1. Everyone on this list has not served as President. Yes we dodged a major bullet in getting rid of dim Jimmy Carter the 2nd time but we made the stupid mistake of electing him the first time and conversely another term of Quincy Adams would have been nice, but he served so he doesn’t get on this list.

2.  They must have been better for the greatest that “never were”  (and conversely worse in the “dodged a bullet” crowd) the person who did get elected. Whiny, idiotic, cowardly, and useless RINO John McCain would have been a horrific president, but disturbingly an even worse jackass got in.  Conversely Charles Pickney, Dewitt Clinton, and Rufus King would probably have made excellent presidents but they all lost to good presidents so it doesn’t really count.

3.  They must have actually run in the general election.  Rudy Giuliani and Steven Forbes would have made great Presidents, but they didn’t get the nomination…and I just can’t open myself up to looking at all the possible primary and convention candidates, it was hard enough doing the research I had to do.

4.  They have to have stood at least a semi-serious shot. I’m not going to count third parties that never stood a chance.  Yes Ron Paul would have let the world fall to evil and Ralph Nader would have been dumber and more corrupt than even Obama but we were never in any real danger.

 

 

So let’s start with the worst presidents that never were, the “Dear we Dogde A Bullet Candidate.”

 

WALLACE4. Strom Thurmond and George Wallace. Different elections but they’re terrible for similar Strom Thurmondreasons, namely that they were racist pieces of offal.  Yeah I know it was a bit of a stretch that these idiots could win, but they did get further than they should have.  The unlikelihood of them actually getting elected is why they’re this far down, despite how bad their presidencies would have been.  Want to wonder what having racist idiots who believe in using big government to further their beliefs that people should be divided against so as to gain even more power for themselves…actually that’s not to hard to imagine what their presidencies would have looked like.  (O ring any bells?)

 

3. Walter Mondale.

“My opponent will raise your taxes. So will I.”

A special kind of stupid.

A special kind of stupid.

Walter you sweet talker, be still my heart with your soft words.

Now, Mondale, VP for anti-Semitic trash, ran on a platform in 1984 of trying to destroy what recovery had started after his former boss, Jimmy “There’s never been an Islamist terrorist I didn’t support” Carter had done a swell job of destroying the economy. Remember that economic growth in the 90’s?…that was to a great degree because of the Foundation Reagan created.  You would have had none of that if Mondale had been President.  Remember that Soviet Union collapse?…would have eventually happened just not for several years more and unknown world destruction.

 

2.  Al Gore.

Think of Obama’s economics mixed with having issued an unconditional surrender on September 11th…that he would

Al Gore, wouldn't sell to Beck because he didn't agree with his values...did sell to jihadists hellbent on the destruction of America.

Al Gore, wouldn’t sell to Beck because he didn’t agree with his values…did sell to jihadists hellbent on the destruction of America.

have sold the country to the Islamists…like he’s done with other things.  Al Gore is so abhorrently immoral and unfit for dealing with foreign policy issues if he had responded by doing something other than attempting full isolationism after 9/11 (only to find that would have done nothing to stop the attacks) is he would have responded with the usual liberal overkill of striking everything he can…idiot probably would have launched nukes before we even knew who to blame.  Yes I am saying there is a good chance Gore could have started WWIII, I really think he’s that dumb.

 

1.  Aaron Burr. The man was one vote away from being president.  He later was tried (and acquitted) of attempting a coup against the US government. He may have been

Worthless litte piece of scum.  I wish Hamilton had had better aim.

Worthless litte piece of scum. I wish Hamilton had had better aim.

acquitted because of weak evidence, but no one in their right mind thinks this man wasn’t up to something.  And anyone who is willing to commit treason against the US, kill Alexander Hamilton, and be someone so despicable that Hamilton would vote for his arch-nemesis Jefferson over Hamilton…yeah, that man would probably have ended the union in its early days.

 

 

Dishonorable mentions: Bob Dole (RINO), William Jennings Bryan (Populist hack), anyone running against Lincoln who would have kicked the can down the road even further, John McCain (yeah the other guy is slightly worse, but let’s be honest here RINO McCain would have done everything Barry did but the GOP would get the blame).

 

Okay so that’s the pack of losers we should be glad didn’t get what they wanted…now onto the men we should weep that didn’t get.

 

The original Republican.

The original Republican.

4. John C. Fremont.  1856.  The first Republican candidate to run for President. None of Lincoln’s ambivalence about freeing the slaves (also none of Lincoln’s manic-depression).  Yeah he would have also caused a Civil War (and 4 years earlier) but I can’t believe he would have done things as ineptly as Lincoln (I know it’s an anathema to say such a thing but Lincoln couldn’t pick a general to save his life, couldn’t keep his cabinet or party under control, had no understanding of economics.  It’s truly a miracle we survived.)  I’ve looked over this and in a lot of ways I feel a Fremont presidency (in great part to circumstance out of his control) would have resulted in a Civil War that was significantly shorter, and probably less disastrous for the US.

 

3. Wendell Willkie.  1940. A pro-business, anti-isolationist, anti-New Deal candidate.  IWendell Willkie don’t agree with everything he believed in, but he was running against FDR, the man who sent a boat filled with Jews BACK to Germany to suffer and die.  Minor difference with Willkie compared to evil incarnate…oh, tough call.  A lot of Willkie support was hurt by the isolationist faction of the GOP (sounds vaguely familiar). To top it off the character in the great film State of the Union was loosely based on Willkie, which just make me like him more.

What would a Willkie presidency have looked like?  Well we still would have entered the war. He probably would have supported defeating the Communists in China after WWII ended (the benefits of that should be obvious) and hey there’s a fair possibility that he would have backed Patton’s idea to arm the Germans and head back in to take out Stalin (so the possibility that there would be no Communist or Fascist government after WWII). He was in favor of a world government body, but as president he probably wouldn’t have let it become from its inception the den of evil that it was and is.  And that’s just on the foreign front. He would likely have dismantled much, if not all of the New Deal apparatus which would mean that we would have been in an even stronger economic position before we entered WWII and a significantly stronger position after it.   Oh and he probably would have pushed civil rights even earlier than we did and we wouldn’t have had to wait for the Republicans in the 1950’s and 1960’s to do it (although Dems would probably still have taken the credit).

Would he have been conservative for my tastes on an objective level?  No.  But he was certainly more conservative than FDR and would have made a much better president.

 Barry Goldwater

2.  Barry Goldwater.  It should be obvious all the benefits here.  Better economy.  No War on Poverty, no slow down of the growth of the middle class, no welfare and Medicaid and Medicare driving us to debt.  A capitalist Vietnam.  A Soviet Union and China weakened even earlier.  Oh and to top it all off, no Nixon.  There are no downsides here.

 

Romney America1. Mitt Romney.  This should be obvious.  We have a treasonous, idiotic, tyrannical jackass in the office right now who dares to say we should protect our diplomats and intelligence officers overseas when he is the one who left them to die.  We are hurtling toward major economic problems and the growth of tyranny abroad.  Romney would have brought about an economic transformation that would have made Reagan look weak.  He would have held the line on tyrants overseas and driven back those who would impose their will by force. The nation and the world would have been a better place with Romney, it will be a worse place with Barry. I don’t think there has ever been a clearer choice in this nation where the people made the wrong choice. This will be viewed by history as one of the dumbest moments in history. And it pisses me off that those of us who aren’t idiots have to live through the incredibly bad choices of those of us who are.

 

Honorable mentions…no.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Conservative, Economics, Goldwater, GOP, Mitt Romney, Obama, Ronald Reagan

President’s Day reflections….

Now, I love a day off from work as much as the next person….however, I am not always a fan of what the holidays represent themselves.  And frankly there are few holidays I despise more than President’s Day.  Why, you ask?

First of all because it glorifies a single individual in a single post as worthy of admiration because of the post they hold, not because of the content of their character.  This is very disturbing…of the 43 men who have held that office I can think of 13 off the top of my head, without any research, that I feel completely content to see listed in the history books as having been charged, tried, convicted, and shot for their abhorrent behavior in office.  13 easily, if I did some research on some of the more forgettable ones I’m sure I could come up with another 9, which would make it half the people who have held the office worthy of execution (yes I have a very low opinion of most politicians).  Most of what is left is at best forgettable.

Further they are certainly not the most memorable men.  Even most of the great presidents had their best days before their term of office (when you’ve signed the Declaration or Constitution, serving a few years in an elected post is kind of an also-ran moment by comparison), not to mention men like Franklin and Hamilton who did more for this nation than most presidents could ever hope to.

Also it lends an air of power to a branch of government which is supposed to be the weakest of the three branches.  Yet we have no holiday for members of the Supreme Court…or god forbid the confederacy of dunces in Congress.

I have one last point but I’m going to save that for the end.

But in the spirit of the day…and in the spirit of how much I loathe some of our Presidents…I’m going to go through my favorite 5 and least favorite 5 presidents.

My criteria.

1)    That the president overall actually improved the nation/world from when they entered office by actions they actually took.  (Or conversely made it worse).

2)    That they took action rather than having it foisted upon them.

3)    The totality of their character and/or the acts outside of their presidencies should not be considered.

So let’s start with the worst.

#5  Andrew Jackson

AndrewJackson(1)

“King Mob” as he was unaffectionately referred to.  Some historians refer to him as the first president to be truly democratically elected…I prefer to think of it as first time mob rule of the rabble that the Founders tried to prevent was brought back into style.  Not only is this a man who unconstitutionally invaded Florida (without orders from anyone) and then executed foreign nationals in a show trial as a General, he didn’t do so great a job as President either.  Ignores a Supreme Court order, unconstitutionally saying the Supreme Court can enforce it’s ruling when it sends its army to enforce them (because in Jackson’s mind, might makes right).  Then of course there was what that case was about, illegally moving Indian tribes into Oklahoma in a genocidal forced march that would make Bataan look like a Sunday stroll.  And in addition to the man thinking he was a monarch above the Constitution rather than a public servant under it, he also in my mind had no understanding of economics in any way, shape or form.

He is also Newt Gingrich’s favorite president.

#4  Woodrow Wilson

A man who used a war to vastly expand government powers and didn’t pull them back.  A progressive’s progressive, and a virulent racist.  I quote a New York Times opinion piece trying to defend Wilson “He was opposed to female suffrage. He supported Jim Crow. He wrote about Anglo-Saxon racial supremacy. He makes a good bad guy.”  Wow, with a defense like that who needs a prosecution?  Granted, Teddy had bigger dreams of federal encroachment, but luckily he wasn’t able to get them passed.  And while I’ve always loved Wilson’s line about making the world “safe for democracy” his vision of democracy (as a socialist paradise under a single world government) is very different from my definition (a world of independent capitalist republics).  Oh, and his League of Nations and his utterly incompetent diplomacy laid the ground work for WWII.  Thanks Woodrow.

As a cherry on top his Secretary of State was a politician who usually makes my list of most hated non-presidents in U.S. history, William Jennings “The Cowardly Lion” “I do not think about things I do not think about” Bryan.  The man has been dead for almost a century and I still hate him.

#3 Dim Jimmy Carter

Most decent people don’t smile when holding up as book a vile as Mein Kampf in its anti-Semitism

Where do I begin?  Letting Afghanistan fall to Russia, because that didn’t start any long term problem.  Letting Iran fall to fanatics, no long term problems there.  Creating the worthless Departments of Energy and Education…Education especially seems to have turned out great!  Ruining the economy?  The boycotting of the Olympics—i.e. the single most inane and idiotic move in the history of foreign diplomacy.  It would be hard to imagine coming up with a president more inept at his job (but it looks like the Democrats did just that in 2008).  And how could I forget to point out that this piece of shit is a vicious Anti-Semite.

#2 LBJ

Any other bright ideas in how to ruin society?

The Great Society.  A typically bigoted liberal move that believe that minorities were incapable of helping themselves thus they needed to be helped.  Which is bad enough, until you consider it doesn’t actually work but actually makes the problem worse.  Oh, and by the way, I love sending thousands of troops over to a country, but telling them it’s a police action and they can’t actually fight back with the usual force the U.S. military can muster, making them little more than sitting ducks for the Vietcong.  Good call on that one.  Remind me how many countries fell to communism because this man didn’t want to actually fight a war?

And of course, the worst president of all time…

#1 FDR

What kind of man sends a boat load of Jews back to Nazi Germany knowing what will happen to them?  FDR.

What kind of man promises half of Europe to a butcher named Stalin? FDR.

What kind of man shreds the Constitution to create a socialist state and make people dependent on the government by preventing real growth?  FDR.

What kind of man has the hubris to be the first person to ever take 4 terms in office?  FDR.

What kind of man creates internment camps for loyal American citizens who just happen to be Japanese?  FDR.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt not just the worst president in the history of the United States, but in the running for worst American ever.

Dishonorable mentions: Nixon (do I need to explain why?), Teddy (progressive lunatic), Ford (worthless sack of well you know), Bush (pick either one)

A note on Obama.  While he will certainly be making the bottom 10, it’s unfair to judge his actual impact until, at the very least, his term of office is over.

————————-

Okay so the foul taste of that bunch of losers is done let’s move onto the top 5

This is a little harder because for #2, 4, and 5 all did their best work before their presidencies (and numbers 4 and 5 were certainly not perfect in their presidencies…but no one is perfect so I must be lenient)

#5

Thomas Jefferson

Granted, nothing he did in his presidency compares to writing the Declaration of Independence.  Nothing.  However, Jefferson held the nation to a usually strict diet of limited government, which luckily is a policy that the nation continued for the next few decades and wasn’t completely abandoned until the 20th century.  And I cannot chide him for the preemptive war against the Barbary pirates that established U.S. power abroad.  And while an un-Constitutional move, it’s hard to critique the Louisiana Purchase.

However, his pro-French bias is unforgiveable.  France during the Revolution and Napoleon was pretty much the worst nation on Earth, and to not recognize that is just a little insane and almost unforgivable.  That’s why he gets put down at #5.

#4

John Adams

Like Jefferson, his best days were during the Revolution.  And the Alien and Sedition Act, while understandable in the context of dealing with the insanity of the French Revolution was still wrong.  However, Adams kept the U.S. out of a war when we most needed to not be in a war.  He also appointed John Marshall Chief Justice of the Supreme Court…that point alone gives him a position at the top of this list, as the Marshall Court is almost entirely responsible for establishing the capitalist nature of this nation which in turn created all of the prosperity for this nation.  Thank you John Adams.

Oh and one last thing.  Adam’s last act.  After losing re-election, he left Washington.  The first time there was a transfer of power from one party to the next in this nation, Adams offered no challenge.  That seems second nature to us in this country, but think about a lot of other nations.  Leaving peacefully when you lose is the exception not the rule for most of human history.  John Adams, while not exactly graceful in his exit, set the precedent that would allow this nation to exist for over 200 years.

#3

Calvin Coolidge

A through and through economic conservative.  A man who broke the Klan’s influence in government.  A man who limited the scope of government.  And if it hadn’t been for Hoover the economy might have only had a slight hiccup in the late 20’s instead of a massive depression (which FDR only made worse).  If only we could have more like him.

#2

George Washington

The indispensible man.  Like Adams and Jefferson, who can doubt that his best days were during the Revolution?  But while his presidency was actually a little unremarkable it set a tone and style for all who would follow.  Need I say more?

#1

Ronald Reagan

I’m conservative, are you surprised about this one?  But let me justify this.  Reagan did something that almost no other president ever did.  Almost every other president did things in a reactionary nature.  Something went wrong, a President tried to fix it (or didn’t).  To a lesser degree every president before and after Reagan lived out Rahm Emmanuel’s statement of “never let a crisis go to waste,” although maybe not so cynically.  But Reagan did something no one else did.  Unlike the 14 other presidents before him who, to varying degrees, recognized the evil of communism and the danger it posed, Reagan didn’t just sit by and wait for a problem to fix to come up.  He out and out declared war on the greatest evil on Earth at the time…and he did it “without firing a shot” as Thatcher observed.

He did something because it was right, not because he was responding to an immediate problem.  This is long term thinking seldom seen in leaders or the general public.  Go on, name for me a president, who during their term showed this kind of long term thinking.  Yeah Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison all showed it in creating the nation, but not necessarily in their presidencies.  There is no question that the world is a better place for what he had done.

Oh, and for all the compromises he had to make with the Democrats in Congress, he cleaned up a lot of government spending and taxation problems.

Honorable Mentions:

James Madison, Grover Cleveland (called the last libertarian president), McKinley (if for no other reason than he saved us from a Bryan presidency), John Quincy Adam (for starting a plan of infrastructure to help the growing economy, although I would have preferred more private investment).

———-

A note on Lincoln and why he’s not in the Top 5

He did the right thing…but when the right thing was the only option open to him.  It’s like praising Obama for ordering bin Laden to be taken out…no sane person would have done differently.  Why would I praise someone for taking the only logical option open? No sane president would have let half the union go.  I have a hard time praising Lincoln for doing the sane thing.  I prefer to look at what else he did.  He couldn’t pick a competent general if he tried.  The best he did was when he offered the post to Lee…but there he botched the job at convincing Lee to take it, and I think that this was not an impossible argument to make (but I may be wrong)…that still doesn’t forgive the fact that the rest of his choices were subpar.  What were his best choices? Grant (a drunk’s drunk) and Sherman (who by any modern standard, a major war criminal).

And then there are his massive violations of the Constitution.  Which were necessary for the time and the crisis.  But while forgivable, violations of habeas corpus and the rule of law in some cases should not be praised.

His economic policy during the war was questionable at best…but what I can tell of his economic beliefs as a whole however suggests to me that if he had just let the South go, then after a year of living under his quasi-socialist leanings the Northern states would have probably joined the confederacy leaving Lincoln ruler of D.C. and nothing else.

There is his cynical attitude to slavery (free them in the Confederacy but not in W. Virginia) that makes me wonder if the 13th Amendment would have passed under a Lincoln presidency.

And then there is that little phrase “for the people.”  I cannot find that phrase anywhere in the notion of U.S. government before Lincoln.And that phrase is the justification for the entitlement state, for the gross expansion of power, for every modern attack on capitalism.  Government FOR THE PEOPLE, like it’s a service.  Thank Abe.

He saved the union, but I’m not sure it’s something any other president would not have done.  He responded to a crisis, but not particularly well.  He encouraged Sherman’s bloody war crimes across the South and I’m not convinced would have tempered the vindictive nature of Reconstruction (given the accusatory tone of his Second Inaugural).

He is considered great because people have a knee jerk reaction to making saints out of martyrs.  But he wasn’t a saint…or a particularly great leader.  He was a good leader, but not the best.

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