Monday, February 18, 2019

The best and worst US Presidents

It's not a real President's birthday (Lincoln's was the 12th, Washington's is the 22nd), but everyone wants a day off.  So sorry Abe and George, we're taking it today.  But in the spirit intended for the holiday, let me offer up the annual 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  He repealed Adam's noxious Alien and Sedition Acts and pardoned those convicted under them.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 Donald Trump) 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, imprisoning US citizens in concentration camps, 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.


libertyman said...

I really like this post and you are the first person I have ever heard who has rated Lincoln as the worst president. Very thought provoking, and I enjoy sharing your view with my friends and colleagues to get their reaction.

I like your reasoning, and it is an excellent example of critical thinking.

Keep up the good work.

Daddy Hawk said...

I might quibble with the order of the best and worst listings, and Barack Obama deserves at least a dishonorable mention on the worst president list. However, I can’t argue that anyone entry on the list is unwarranted in any way.

waepnedmann said...

I appreciate your reposting of this every year.
It serves as a reminder that facts and logic have little to do with politics.

I have a similar annual post that I send to kith and kin on 29 April to remind them of exactly how thin is the veil that separates civilization from savagery:
Robert J. Avrech's "Jew Without a Gun" recounts his experiences on 29 April during the 1992 Los Angeles Riot
It is a cautionary tale worth retelling to the younger generation.

McChuck said...

I don't really blame Adams for signing the legislation that Congress passed. Yes, he should have vetoed it. But at least it wasn't his idea.

It's a shame that Andy Jackson didn't quite make the top five. We need more of his spirit in this day and age.

Richard said...

I have never understood Lincoln's reasons for not just letting the South go. He was slightly anti-slavery in 1860, though he had no especially strong desire to see free blacks in the US. He was a proponent of the Liberia solution. So if the South goes, so does most slavery in the US and the rest is unsustainable without the South. Slavery is an evil thing but we didn't invade Brazil or Russia or Morocco. So why invade the Confederacy.

Part of it was overconfidence, thinking that the Confederacy would be easily suppressed. His initial call for volunteers was 75,000 for 3 months. This was matched by overconfidence in the South. (I see the same attitude today when people are talking about CW2.) I think it may have been as much about the West as the South. Lincoln was always focused on the West. I think he didn't want a serious competitor for Western expansion.

Kinnison said...

My thoughts if the North and South had gone their separate wars instead of engaging in the Civil War, the South would have become part of the British Empire again instead of being independent. There wouldn't be a United States of America today and I believe the world would be worse off without it.

Unknown said...

Lincoln did not start the first draft. There was a limited draft during the American Revolution.