The worst president in U.S. history

Eric Foner at WaPo brings us “He’s The Worst Ever” and I could not agree more with that assessment.

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.


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


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.


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.


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.

The Worst President Ever!!!!!

Cross Posted from The Katrinacrat Blog

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8 Responses to The worst president in U.S. history

  1. Jonathan says:

    Wow, liberals will never go too far back to slander a name.

    Calvin Coolidge was overall a pretty good president. His average rank is 28.42/43 but that’s just because he didn’t believe in using presidential powers.

    Coolidge signed the bill giving citizenship to Native Americans. Coolidge’s pro-economy strategies presided over the biggest economic boom in history.

    Wheras who do you prefer? FDR? Economic depression which we only got out of because of the war effort. He dragged us into WW2 by embargoing the Japanese, then MOVING the fleet from California to vulnerable Pearl Harbour and FIRING Grand Admiral Richardson for disagreeing with him. The next G.A. Kimmel also voiced vulnerability concerns. The japanese even sent a 30 minute warning, but the telegram for some reason was labeled non-urgent.

    Your “greatest” President FDR, planned the deaths of 2,400 Americans. It’s a fact that would stand up in a unbiased court of law. He embargoes the Japanese, cutting off the oil they need to go to war, then moves the fleet to an exposed position, firing all the admirals that disagree. Then, sends the two most important ships, the carriers are out on a “training mission” conveniently the day of the attack. This all happening while FDR had already given sub attack orders to Destroyers in the Atlantic, and giving supplies to the Soviets and Brits. A good president would use words to rally the people to fight the Nazis, not sacrifice 3,000 people.

  2. Jonathan

    That’s some hearty RED KOOLAID you have been drinking. Thanks so much for sharing.


  3. Jonathan says:

    Oh and don’t forget FDR put Japanese AMERICAN CITIZENS into INTERNMENT camps.

    Go ahead and worship FDR who put AMERICAN CITIZENS into detention camps, and then cry about Bush detaining a few foreign combatants.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Is that Koolaid too Pamela?

    Did FDR not put American Citizens into Detention Camps?

    That’d be like admitting Hitler interned Jews but didn’t burn the Reichstag.

  5. Jonathan

    Did FDR admit he made mistakes as a president? Yes.

    Did Bush? No.

    Enough said.

  6. LOL Pamela, this one is sure to hit a nerve with the wingers. They just don’t want to admit to the truth! BTW Jonathan, exactly what country are you in? You somehow have missed something along the way. HEY KOOLAID!! Are you even in this country?

  7. Ginny Cotts says:


    Historians generally weight the pluses and minuses of every president somewhat differently. It gets far more complicated than you suggest and goes back even further. You cite “Coolidge’s pro-economy strategies presided over the biggest economic boom in history.” Which brought about the great depression- and then you fault FDR for only getting us out of it with the war.

    While American presidents have gotten us into wars repeatedly for false reasons, with many American and enemy casualties; FDR was up against a lot of isolationist pressure to stay out of the war in Europe. Meanwhile, Japan’s war against China, Britain, the Dutch and US had started in ’37 by invading China, Indonesia, and taking over Vietnam from the French.

    “The Chinese lost approximately 3.22 million soldiers. 9.13 million civilians died in the crossfire, and another 8.4 million as non-military casualties. According to historian Mitsuyoshi Himeta, at least 2.7 million civilians died during the “kill all, steal all, burn all” operation (sanko sakusen) implemented in May 1942 in North China by general Yasuji Okamura and authorized on 3 December 1941 by Imperial Headquarter” (Wikipedia)

    Although China was bloody enough, it is not well understood the Japanese actually outdid the Germans in killing people during this period:Japanese war crimes. FDR knew enough to realize they had to be stopped as well as Hitler.

    The historical deception of too many administrations (theLusitania in WWI, the Maine in the Spanish-American, the Gulf of Tonkin, etc) to get America into war is the primary reason to question every effort to get us into any war.

    Slander means spreading lies about an individual. What did you find false in Foner’s article, about Coolidge?

  8. Javelin says:

    I could sit and critique FDR and other Dems as well. Like someone else mentioned, they all had their plus and minus sides. Hell, even Nixon, who most liberals hate with a passion had a few good points. But as anyone who cares about the future of the USA can plainly see, anything accomplished in the last 6 years by this administration has been negligible, with a WHOLE LOTTA NEGATIVE to go with it.
    If you’re looking for support for Bush and something positive he can do, here’s your answer: he actually has more support for his ideas on immigration reform amongst the Dems! He could actually get it done in the next 2 years and then many in this country could have “something” to credit him with besides “he was strong in the days after 9/11″…. (BTW – which president WOULDN’T have been? I’ll say every prez GOP or DEM since 1900 would have had the same response!).