From Pine View Farm

Worst President Ever? 3

Now that my company has finished moving, Pine View Farm is cleaned, and this week’s class is over, I have a little time to catch up on my reading after packing for my return flight tomorrow.

I just finished reading two articles from Rolling Stone:

Paul Alexander’s 1999 article, “All Hat, No Cattle” and Sean Wilentz’s recent “The Worst President in History.” I commend both articles to your attention.

As my two or three regular readers know, I have little liking for and absolutely no trust in or respect for the current Federal Administration. They have sold the United States of America to the highest bidder and sacrificed our children for a lie.

They speak with forked tongue.

Frankly, George Bush makes Richard Nixon look good. Nixon at least did some things right.

I was particularly struck by this passage in Mr. Wilentz’s article.

How does any president’s reputation sink so low? The reasons are best understood as the reverse of those that produce presidential greatness. In almost every survey of historians dating back to the 1940s, three presidents have emerged as supreme successes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These were the men who guided the nation through what historians consider its greatest crises: the founding era after the ratification of the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and Second World War. Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.

Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties — Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush — have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures — an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance.

God help us all.



  1. Chip Irons

    May 23, 2006 at 3:24 pm


    You say you “have little liking for and absolutely no trust in or respect for the current Federal Administration. They have sold the United States of America to the highest bidder and sacrificed our children for a lie.�

    I suggest it was 40 years of Democratic rule that sold this country out to socialism, significantly increased personal income tax, invented the pork spending tacked on to bills, and taught Congress how to heavily borrow from the future (sacrificing our children).

    In reference to the article, historians?.….. please. Nonpolitical? C’mon. Without government programs and liberal grants toward their subject matter, where would historians be? (gas station attendants?) They love those who support them.

    It seems hypocritical to first denounce these Bush things when there are much larger fish to fry. That is, the federally sponsored anti-Constitutional items like personal income tax (Ohio was not a state when its vote was needed to pass the 16th Amendment), the ATF, the FDA, the Energy Dept, the Education Dept, social programs, personal rights violations (most recently including the Patriot Act), etc. Need I go on?

    I would argue that FDR was the worst president ever. For god’s sake, he nearly served four terms and during that time he totally violated the Constitution by putting in place federal programs (including social programs) the Constitution never authorized and, therefore, should have been left up to the states. (10th Amendment)

    As a Libertarian, I believe in freedom. Personal freedoms and financial freedoms. Take care of children and “challenged” adults. Treat adults as adults and let them do what they want as long as they do not harm or defraud others.

    Chip Irons
    Middletown, Delaware

  2. Frank

    July 14, 2006 at 8:08 pm

    Hi, Chip. I will first comment you for posting under your real name.

    Now . . .

    I finally caught up with this post.

    Tell me, have you ever discussed how to make tomato juice out of catsup and water with someone who lived through the Great Depression? Or met someone who slaved in the cotton mills and died of white lung?

    I have.

    The purpose of government is to enforce a social contract. If the government steps back, as you suggest, there is no social contract, because there is no entity to protect the little person from the big person.

    You can argue that FDR was the worst president ever. You can argue that, because you have a full belly and a good job.

    But without the protections that FDR and other progressive thinkers have put into law, your hold on either would be tenuous.

    Any contract cuts both ways.

    And so does the social contract cut both ways–the government has a responsibility to the citizenry and the citizenry has a responsibility to the government.

    Libertarians deny the second clause of that sentence. They want there privileges, but deny their responsibility.

    Those who call themselves Libertarians want the contract to operate only one way. Those who call themselves Bushies also want it to operate one way, but just the other way.

    I submit that Libertarianism is a delusion for the well-fixed and a covert cover for those who want Libertine-ism.


  3. eric

    July 14, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    I agree with “Chip Irons”.  The government exists only to protect
    individual rights–to protect John from Peter.  The rights
    endowed by our Creator (or by Nature) are negative rights–the
    right to be left alone by the government to own property, and
    pursue happiness.  There are no “positive rights”; I.e.,
    obligations that we do X, no matter how noble X is.

    It would’ve been better that some more died during the Great
    Depression to have preserved Freedom, than to save a few
    people and wreck the Constitution.

    The only responsibility I have is to defend the homeland
    and or government from attack, provided its operating
    according to the Constitution.

    Perhaps you should have planned ahead a bit better to avoid
    eating tomato juice.  Or, even if it were inevitable, I would
    say, tough.  It’s the price of liberty for the rest of the nation
    that a few fall through the cracks (at their own hand).

    You familiar with the “switch in time that saved nine”?  It’s
    how your great dictator FDR got his programs passed.