The 3 Worst American Presidents

1.Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1968- The All Time Worst. A total failure at home and in foreign policy. Started the US on the road to financial ruin with all his expensive Great Society Social Programs and the humiliating Vietnam War defeat.

2.George W. Bush 2000-2008 - Another failure with the economy and foreign affairs. Presided over the fiscal collapse started by LBJ and carried a similar unpopular expensive war in Iraq. Helped destroy the Republican Party. Responsible for the election of a Socialist President.

3. Jimmy Carter 1977-1981 - A totally incompetent fool who presided over 21% interest rates and runaway inflation. A foreign affairs embarrassment in which US service men held captive by Iran for half of his presidency.

No other Presidents come close to these 3 in failing both at home and abroad. Johnson & Bush are responsible for giving us Barack Obama.

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sandy28's picture
Submitted by sandy28 on Tue, 11/11/2008 - 12:00pm.

You are totally wrong about George W. Bush, but then again, that is only your opinion.

JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Tue, 11/11/2008 - 12:29pm.

This should be good!

cogitoergofay's picture
Submitted by cogitoergofay on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 7:37am.

I was more than delighted to see this blog on the Presidents. Let me first jump right in with my three picks for the three worst American presidents:
(1) Warren Harding;
(2) James Buchanan;
(3) Andrew Johnson.

Harding deserves the lowest ranking for his sheer unmitigated corruption and breach of trust. And, he deserves partial (but only partial) credit for the policies that contributed to the Great Depression. No other president ever dreamed of being 1/10 as corrupt as Harding. Buchanan and Johnson deserve low ratings for their mirror image failures of leadership surrounding secession, slavery the civil war and reconstruction. They compare horribly to the president how served between them in time, our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln.

Great presidents are usually revealed through great events and great opportunities in history. The two best presidents in my lifetime have been Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower. Though Eisenhower was a good president, he really had no historical events which gave him the opportunity to distinguish himself. Reagan did. Reagan also distinguished himself by being a conservative with a cheerful disposition. He could disagree with Democrats and still remain friends. As Charles Boutenay of NewsMax has correctly observed, it is the recent derisive, arrogant and condescending tone of the Republicans that not only distinguishes them from the great leadership but also clearly led to their sound demise (at least for now). I appreciate The Shadow’s commencement of this topic but offer a different view on some of his selections. LBJ most certainly had his warts, which included the Vietnam War. However, it is not entirely fair to lay all of the Vietnam debacle at the feet of LBJ since this was a war that had been escalated by the three consecutive presidents that preceded him, including the beloved Harry Truman. LBJ deserves much credit for demonstrating his legislative genius in shepherding the Civil Rights Act through Congress while at the same time working in an effective tandem with Dr. Martin Luther King to achieve these goals. LBJ understood that Dr. King could provide the populare, grassroots sentiment to support the Civil Rights Act and LBJ had the legislative prowess to make it happen in the halls of Congress. And, when strength of leadership was needed from the White House to discipline recalcitrant Southern Governors who would have allowed the Civil Rights marchers to be savaged by reckless groups, LBJ did all he could (and was largely effective) in stopping this from happening. I will have to agree, even though I am a lifelong conservative (who does not call himself a Republican) that George W. Bush has been a rank failure. When AJC Editorialist Cynthia Tucker long ago stated that George Bush was producing a presidency with the mediocrity of a President Chester Arthur, she probably was extending a wholly underserved insult to the Arthur family. Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. were, at best, very mediocre presidents. I would agree that Bush will probably be in the bottom 10 of all presidents but perhaps not one of the three worst. That brings us to Shadow’s selection of Jimmy Carter. Having recently upbraided Jeff, I feel obligated to say something kind about President Carter or nothing at all. I have long believed that Jimmy Carter is a highly underrated president. Yes, he suffered through economic malaise, a hostage crisis and a failure to delegate, but he did do the one critical thing that was required for America in 1977: he restored the world’s respect for the honor and dignity of the White House. Being the generation affected by long gas lines and double digit inflation, we naturally concern ourselves primarily with those short term economic woes. History, however, will take a larger view and see the very important value of Carter’s almost immediate restoration of America’s dignity. As deToqueville said while visiting and writing about the fledging America republic: “America is great because she is good. When she ceases to be good she shall no longer be greater.” Carter restored our image to world of basic American decency. We are a great country; we largely show kindness to the world; Carter reinstated that image. And, when he left the White House and since then he has essentially been a good role model. He has had his share of “issues” (even recently with foreign policy) but history will move him up the food chain. The Wedge brings an interesting point to the discussion by mentioning U.S. Grant and Franklin Pierce. During much of the early 19th Century America was saddled with a long line of disturbingly mediocre presidents. While Franklin Pierce has regularly taking a pounding I am not so sure I agree since he appears as insignificant and unnotable more than anything else. Grant’s administration was very corrupt but not Grant--- but his corrupt underlings certainly were.

Who are the most overrated and underrated presidents? First, it cannot fairly be debated that the two greatest presidents were Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Any of you bloggers enjoying presidential history should spend time at the little White House in Warm Springs, including a trip to the top of Pine Mountain at Dowdell Knob, a spot where Franklin regularly meditated and cogitated including the morning of the day he died, April 12, 1945. I think the two most underrated presidents are Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman. I think TR should be number 3 and not number 6 or 7. I think Truman showed spectacular greatness in even the very moment which led to his unpopularity in 1952 which was the wise removal of General Douglas McArthur. Though it was the right thing and Truman knew it would be unpopular and although it led to his decline in popularity prohibiting his reelection, he knew it was what he had to do. He was a great one. The two most overrated presidents are Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson. How Jefferson could pen the natural rights clause of the Declaration of Independence and own 250 slaves has always perplexed me. A fourth grader put it thusly: “If George Washington was such a good president how could he own slaves?” Jefferson was a hypocrite, a philanderer, a pleasurist, a stark segregationist and despite having 250 slaves he still died bankrupt. How in the world can historians rank him in the top 10 much less Number 3 and much less on Mount Rushmore? Woodrow Wilson is another piece of work for whom I have little respect. Prior to becoming Governor of New Jersey and basking in the glow of academia, South Carolina born Woodrow Wilson was not the least bit shy about authoring numerous articles extolling the genetic inferiority of Eastern European immigrants who came through Ellis Island in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. He was an unabashed bigot whose only real claim to fame was that he was able to successfully waffle around World War I and preside over a successful conclusion to the war. Wilson also demonstrated highly destructive stubbornness which rendered his League of Nations concept politically futile. Arguably, his wife Edith was a better president than he was.

Hey, Sniffles - - - let’s start a new discussion, and I would start by asking you, do you consider Lynn Westmoreland to be one of the greatest members of Congress of all time?

Submitted by Nitpickers on Sat, 11/08/2008 - 5:39pm.

Johnson: Did more for Blacks than anyone else.
Compare to Nixon--the hypocrite!

You got the wrong Bush!

Carter: you guys want a Christian in there, got one--but he was the wrong party!
Want a spendthrift? Try Reagan! Sir dummy!

Submitted by Spyglass on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 9:55am.

at this point. Anyone with any sense of History would know this.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 9:08am.

1. George W. Bush (seriously damaged the welfare and standing of the United States)
2. James Buchanan (set America on the path to civil war)
3. Warren Harding (policies resulted in the 1929 Stock Market Crash)

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 9:37am.

Here is a blurb about Harry Truman:

Harry Truman's popularity plummeted during his final years in office. The frustrations of Korea, the President's inability to enact much of his domestic program and scandals involving some of his staff led many to label him weak and ineffective. On the eve of his departure from office he stood below 30% in popularity polls.

Let's wait and see... he well may be on the list

If you truly look at the crash of 1929, it wasn't the sole trigger of the Great Depression or the cause of its length and severity. Congress took care of that

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:02am.

I recognize that the Bush-as-Truman meme has a certain cachet in conservative circles. I suppose we shall just have to wait for the clear-eyed judgment of history. I suspect our Decider won't fare nearly as well as Harry, but heck I've been mistaken before.

Nonetheless, I digress (hey! that rhymes!)

I'd be interested in hearing your choices for the 3 worst American presidents.

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:28am.

I think historians place Grant up there. Franklin Pierce. Etc.

Bush has been a big disappointment. By trying to please everybody, and being rather remote and bull-headed, he has managed to tick off both conservatives and liberals. That is no small feat. I just wouldn't put him #1 on the list when he is still in office. Wait 20 years for the #1.

I personally like Harry Truman as a pres. I like JFK. I like Jefferson. I loved Reagan. I was no fan of Carter. No fan of Bush #1. I do believe that Presidents govern best with a divided or adversary Congress.

And we can certainly blame Bush for Iraq. But I blame Congress for voting for it and not doing it the right way--with a declaration of war.

I also liked the green hooded thing better than the bug.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:44am.

Bush may have been a big disappointment to liberals and centerists who truly believed that he came as advertised: a "compassionate conservative". That was brilliant marketing, in any event.

I don't, however, see where conservatives should be disappointed in him. The two biggest factions of the Republican party in the past 12 years or so have been the corporate fatcats (aka "cocktail party Republicans") and big government social conservatives. Bush gave the corp. wing tax cuts bigger than they ever dreamed, in that respect it certainly was "mission accomplished".

The social conservatives wanted to legislate through the judiciary, and Bush performed astonishingly well there as well. The lower levels of the federal judiciary are seeded with hundreds of hard right wing judges that will take decades to weed out, and the department of justice has been politicized to the extent that it is little more than the legal enforcement arm of the Republican party nowadays. and I thought Nixon's Mitchell did a bad job!

No, I submit that George W. Bush accomplished exactly what he set out to do in Washington, much to our nation's detriment.

meanoldconservatives's picture
Submitted by meanoldconservatives on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:54am.

The social conservatives wanted to legislate through the judiciary, and Bush performed astonishingly well there as well. The lower levels of the federal judiciary are seeded with hundreds of hard right wing judges that will take decades to weed out

Conservatives advocate judges interpreting the Constitution in their rulings, and stopping there. Liberals have for years been the ones legislating from the bench. Nice try though. Politics, like business, is cyclical. You weed ours out and we'll weed yours out when we're back....

By the way, is a "centerist" anything like a centrist????

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 11:03am.

"activist librul judges" joins "tax and spend libruls" on the dungheap of outdated cliches.

Want a great example of conservative legal activism?

There is a law on the books that prohibits federal funding to organizations that require a certain religious faith as a condition of employment.

Cut and dried, no?

Well, a conservative legal beagle this week issued this wonderfully convoluted legal opinion that while the law prohibited funding these organizations, it did not prevent the government from reviewing these organizations for compliance, and review was a form of assistance, and since the precedent of assistance had been established, financing these organizations is legal because financial assistance is simply another form of assistance!

Conservitard Judicial Activism at it's finest!

meanoldconservatives's picture
Submitted by meanoldconservatives on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 11:08am.

You really expect serious debate with someone penning someone "Conservitard"????

If you were to one day be able to present a point as an adult, it would be the first....

Submitted by Spyglass on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:49am.

That is my biggest problems with him. He never could find his Veto Pen.

But hey, the election is over, and there is a new Sheriff in town.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:55am.

You do have a good point, both Bush AND Clinton doled out far too much Federal money over the past 16 years. At some point this has to stop. Our post-Cold war spending record has been a national disgrace.

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