The Six Most Damaging Presidents in US History

Alternet, one of my favorite Leftist sites, recently ran an article titled, “The Six Most Evil Presidents in US History.”  It is a small wonder George W. Bush did not end up on the list although he made honorable mention.  In reverse order, they were:

  • James Buchanan- for allowing the country to descend into Civil War;
  • Andrew Johnson- for his Reconstruction policies that allowed the proliferation of Black Codes;
  • Ronald Reagan- for ignoring and failing to address the growing AIDS epidemic;
  • William McKinley- for starting and executing the Spanish-American War;
  • Harry Truman- for deciding to use nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and;
  • Andrew Jackson- for the forced evacuation of Native American tribes (the Trail of Tears).

Its easy for the “historians” at Alternet to develop these lists ex post facto through their rose-colored Utopian glasses of what should have been, rather than understand it through the reality of the times.  Regardless, the term “evil” is rather extreme given some of the actions that landed them on this list.  Apparently, the “fine” folks at Alternet read a lot of Howard Zinn textbooks.  Therefore, instead of evil, I thought it would be useful to list the six most damaging Presidents in US history.  Since the book has not been written on Barack Obama (he can wreak a lot more damage in 2 years), he is not included although I suspect that come 10-15 years, he will be at the top of the list.

#6. Richard Nixon-  There is much to dislike about Nixon from a conservative standpoint.  You can start with the creation of the EPA.  His wage and price control efforts were nothing but a dabbling in socialism.  The federal government became grossly involved in K-12 education and he expanded the federal bureaucracy on roughly the same pace as Johnson before him.

But most egregious was Watergate- not the actual crime but the fact it was based on his paranoid delusions.  There was no chance he would lose reelection in 1972 to George McGovern.  Hence, why the break-in?  If it never happened, he would have finished his second term and returned to California and there would have never been a Gerald Ford or a Jimmy Carter (see #2).

#5. John F. Kennedy-  In retrospect, Kennedy’s administration is clearly viewed through those aforementioned Utopian rose-colored glasses all the way back to Camelot.  But, a lot of the turmoil of the 1960s can be directly traced back to JFK’s ignorance or mishandling of events.  Kennedy was a great orator when it came to civil rights, but most of the achievements in this area came after his death.  He greatly increased our involvement in Vietnam.  And while he could claim ignorance or plausible deniability when it came to the Bay of Pigs or a coup in Vietnam, or spying on civil rights leaders, he nevertheless presided over these events.  Perhaps his greatest achievement was keeping his marital trysts from the front pages.

#4. Franklin D. Roosevelt-  This is probably the most over-rated President in American history.  The framework of today’s welfare state was started under the New Deal.  There are numerous studies showing that his alphabet soup list of solutions actually prolonged the Great Depression.  His admirers note that he reluctantly led the United States into World War II when our entry was anything but “reluctant.”  Meanwhile, that “reluctance” led to the deaths of many Jews in Europe at the hands of Hitler.  Remember: it was FDR’s ambassador to England, Joseph Kennedy, who was telling FDR that Hitler was not a threat.  Roosevelt was Rahm Emanuel before Rahm Emanuel: never let a crisis go to waste as his New Deal programs proved.  He was also Barack Obama before Barack Obama: great orator devoid of solid policy solutions.

#3. Lyndon B. Johnson– It is ironic that one of the most racist presidents is today known as a champion of civil rights.  Perhaps he had an epiphany along the way, but a more sober analysis shows that the seeds of the black community’s enslavement to the Democratic Party is what Johnson truly had in mind.  He was an unpopular person who needed the black vote.  Still, his greatest transgression was the Great Society.  If FDR laid the groundwork for today’s welfare state, Johnson completed it.  Whether it was ESEA, Head Start, Medicaid or his dismal mishandling of Vietnam, he should go down as one of the most obstinate President’s in US history and whose accomplishments were made possible by an assassin’s bullet.

#2. Jimmy Carter- This is the man who gave us the Department of Energy and Department of Education along with the Community Reinvestment Act, gas lines and rationing, an extremely large misery index and who lowered our standing in the world.  His foreign policy was predicated upon “human rights” which turned its back on allies and tried to negotiate with enemies.  Sound familiar?  The problem with Iran today can be traced directly back to Carter and his misguided foreign policy.  The best part of his presidency was that it lasted only four years, but it was a damaging four years and we are still paying the price.

#1. Woodrow Wilson-  Two words come to mind when I hear his name: liberal fascism.  Other than Obama, there is no other President who best epitomizes that term.  Critical of the German invasion of Belgium in 1914, he nevertheless ordered the invasions of Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  He created the Federal Reserve, the IRS, and Federal Trade Commission.  Under the guise of protecting American businesses, he sought and achieved onerous regulations.  Businesses were exempt if they played ball with his political aims.  So socialist was his administration that the Constitution had to be amended three times during his tenure- the income tax, Prohibition (great decision there…sarcasm intended), and the direct election of Senators.  With the latter, the “people” got two layers of protection; states were stripped of their’s.  But, this is usually what happens when you elect a product of eggheaded academia.  Sound familiar?

After entering World War I, he strode into Europe with his 14 Points and framework for world government, but this simply laid the seeds for World War II.  His actions against political dissenters domestically were worthy of the work of later fascists.  In fact, Wilson had much in common with his fellow fascists in Europe- Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy, and yes- Hitler in Germany.  Wilson’s policies were one of socialist nationalism and wasn’t that the official name of Hitler’s party?  Unfortunately, I see a lot of Wilson in today’s occupant of the White House.