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Worst President ever? January 17, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting the lists of best and worst Presidents of the United States. This from Oregonlive covers a C-Span survey of historians with a range of Presidents. Worst? James Buchanan who as the piece notes saw ‘the country spiraled into civil war as he headed out of office’. Nixon, interestingly, comes in at number 16, well behind George W Bush (11). In a way the most useful aspect of this list is to point up just how patchy my knowledge of US presidents actually is. Benjamin Harrison, never consciously heard of him, Millard Fillmore likewise. What’s also interesting is how the issue of slavery and abolition runs like a thread through some of the failed Presidents – Franklin Pierce being an example.

As to the best? Abraham Lincoln. And where is one R. Reagan? 9th best President while Obama is 12th best.

Early days.


1. NFB - January 17, 2021

Interesting question as to whether Trump was worse than Bush II. In many ways – you know, the wars – it doesn’t seem like an equal comparison at all, but there’s something so insidious about what Trump represents that it’s easy to say he weighs the scales more.


WorldbyStorm - January 17, 2021

I think so too.

I guess perhaps one could say that in different ways they both were terrible and brought further corruption of different sorts to the US polity. But I do think that one has to factor one additional aspect in which is that Trump gave an enormous fillip to the far-right internationally in a way no US President has in the contemporary period. And that had a range of effects internationally from small to large to unexpected (for example his hostility to masks in the pandemic I would say has had an extremely negative effect not just in the US but internationally though perhaps more indirectly than directly – leading to many people dying who otherwise wouldn’t have). So it’s all of piece in a way – there’s no pacific Trump eschewing conflict and the world goes its way more merrily, his rhetoric and performance in so many areas, women’s rights internationally (funding for various services and aid), the pandemic, the far right, the removal of funding from the EPA and NASA re climate change, and so on and so on builds up into a very real negative impact not just in the US but globally (and pandering to the Israeli government, alienating the Cuban one, fomenting discord in Iran and backing out of Obama’s deals there). Four completely wasted years.


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