Monday, February 16, 2015

The best (and worst) Presidents

This is from three years ago, but since people are taught red, white, and blue cardboard for history, this is a public service.

It's not a real President's birthday (Lincoln was the 12th, Washington is the 22nd), but everyone wants a day off, so sorry Abe and George, but we're taking it today.  But in the spirit intended for the holiday, let me offer up Borepatch's bestest and worstest lists for Presidents.

Top Five:

#5: Calvin Coolidge

Nothing To Report is a fine epitaph for a President, in this day of unbridled expansion of Leviathan.

#4. Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson is perhaps the last (and first) President who exercised extra-Constitutional power in a manner that was unambiguously beneficial for the Republic (the Louisiana Purchase).  He repealed Adam's noxious Alien and Sedition Acts and pardoned those convicted under them.

#3. Grover Cleveland. 

He didn't like the pomp and circumstance of the office, and he hated the payoffs so common then and now.  He continually vetoed pork spending (including for veterans of the War Between the States), so much so that he was defeated for re-election, but unusually won a second term later.  This quote is priceless (would that Latter Day Presidents rise so high), on vetoing a farm relief bill: "Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character."

#2. Ronald Reagan

He at least tried to slow down the growth of Leviathan, the first President to do so in over half a century (see entry #5, above).  He would have reduced it further, except that his opposition to the Soviet fascist state and determination to end it cost boatloads of cash.  It also caused outrage among the home grown fascists in the Media and Universities, but was wildly popular among the general population which was (and hopefully still remains) sane.

#1. George Washington

Could have been King.  Wasn't.  Q.E.D.

Bottom Five:

#5. John Adams.

There's no way to read the Alien and Sedition Acts as anything other than a blatant violation of the First Amendment.  It's a sad statement that the first violation of a Presidential Oath of Office was with President #2.

#4. Woodrow Wilson.

Not only did he revive the spirit of Adams' Sedition Acts, he caused a Presidential opponent to be imprisoned under the terms of his grotesque Sedition Act of 1918.  He was Progressivism incarnate: he lied us into war, he jailed the anti-war opposition, he instituted a draft, and he was entirely soft-headed when it came to foreign policy.  The fact that Progressives love him (and hate George W. Bush) says all you need to know about them.

#3 Lyndon Johnson.

An able legislator who was able to get bills passed without having any real idea what they would do once enacted, he is responsible for more Americans living in poverty and despair than any occupant of the White House, and that says a lot.

#2. Franklin Roosevelt.

America's Mussolini - ruling extra-Constitutionally fixing wages and prices, packing the Supreme Court, and transforming the country into a bunch of takers who would sell their votes for a trifle.  At least Mussolini met an honorable end.

#1. Abraham Lincoln.

There's no doubt that the Constitution never would have been ratified if the States hadn't thought they could leave if they needed to.  Lincoln saw to it that 10% of the military-age male population was killed or wounded preventing that in an extra-Constitutional debacle unequaled in the Republic's history.  Along the way, he suspended Habeas Corpus, instituted the first ever draft on these shores, and jailed political opponents as he saw fit.  Needless to say, Progressives adore him.

So happy President's Day.  Thankfully, the recent occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue haven't gotten this bad.  Yet.


Kgaard said...

I have warmed to FDR over the years. What happened in Germany could have happened here, but didn't, thanks to FDR's move to devalue the dollar in '33, thereby ending Depression Part I. His craziness on the fiscal side in 36-37 ushered in Depression Part II, but that, at least, got semi-fixed.

I agree on most of the rest of the choices, though one could easily put Obama in at 5th worst in place of Adams (who did some good stuff, such as keeping us out of a war we couldn't win).

Rev. Paul said...

Thankfully, the recent occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue haven't gotten this bad. Yet.

Just give 'em time. The current occupant is doing his darnedest.

waepnedmann said...

Once again, I see you are using logic, reason, common sense, and historical perspectives in your thinking process.
This, of course, is a Hate Crime with no statute of limitations.
Thanks for the repost.

Ken said...

I'd put Wilson top of the list for his "help" in giving us the sorry spectacle that was the rest of the 20th Century, but that is a matter of opinion.

Old NFO said...

+1 on Rev... sigh... And Carter deserves an honorable mention on the worst list for what he did to the military...

juvat said...

I think I'd add another point to LBJ for his handling of Vietnam in general and the Air War in the North specifically.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Honestly, I'd rearrange the "best" list a little:

#1 - George Washington (Like you said, Q.E.D.)

#2 - Calvin Coolidge ("Nothing To Report" is the best epitaph for a President.)

#3 - Grover Cleveland (That quote is second only to "Nothing To Report" for a President. And it's a very close second.)

#4 - Ronald Reagan (He at least tried to slow Leviathan, but ending the Cold War - even if it was the only "good" way to do it - made that all but impossible.)

#5 - Thomas Jefferson (Repealing the Alien and Sedition Acts and the pardons were good enough to get him to the top five, and the Louisiana Purchase was good for the Republic, but it was still extra-Constitutional and therefore violated of his oath of office, which should knock him down to the bottom. One could argue that it should knock him out of the top 5 completely, but I'm not sure who would take the #5 spot, then.)

Anonymous said...

I would like to add President Harrison to the list of Top Presidents

Only 31 days after assuming office, William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, dies of pneumonia at the White House

Didn't have time to screw anything up.

burkdoggy said...

Those of us that grew up in the north half of the country, were spoon fed that Lincoln was great because he freed slaves. The parts you mentioned were all conveniently left out. Realizing on my own what he did was a little like when I realized that not all colonists wanted to be free.

Thank you for this post. I'll be sharing it with other conservatives.

kx59 said...

No arguments on the rankings.
All President's day means to me is my commute time is shorter because the banks are closed and the government employed leaches are off for the day.

Knucklehead said...

IIRC, Jefferson cleared the national debt and removed all taxes except the excise variety. I could live with that. Puts him high on my list, certainly top 3.

NotClauswitz said...

Didn't Woody Wilson also re-segregated the Army and the Civil Service, besides supporting Eugenics, ensuring that LBJ would have his day strong-arming his own side in an effort to make his own bones?