Wednesday, November 16, 2016

He is the Worst. Ever. #ISitBackAndReflect

Lately I have been seeing some conservative posts on Facebook that declare that President Obama is the absolute worst president.  Ever.  The arguing between friends is possibly as bad as the arguments were/are about Trump and Clinton.  Well, perhaps not quite, but it gets a bit heated.

So I am reading the multiple/diverse opinions and those voicing this opinion that Obama is the worst are so adamant about this claim that I thought perhaps I should check their conclusions based on comparisons to other presidents.  I decided to look into history a bit to see how the rankings of "worst president" come about.

It is easy to rate the best presidents.  I mean, political historians, history buffs, and population surveys all tend to agree.  Abraham Lincoln rates first or second, with George Washington alternating with him.  Both did remarkable jobs in the face of adversity.  Both showed incredible bravery.  To round out the top five best presidents according to scholarly surveys are FDR, Thomas Jefferson, and either Teddy Roosevelt or Andrew Jackson.

So yes, finding the top best presidents is not a difficult job.  But what about the worst presidents?  Much harder.  What is the criteria for a bad president?  Bad to whom?  Liberals?  Conservatives?  Political historians?  General population?  How do you rate, for example, President Nixon who had great world political savvy but brought the nation to shame from what has  been labeled the "greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics."  Impeached.  VP impeached.  Henchmen sent to prison.  

So, finding the worst president throughout history isn't as easy as finding the best.  One thing is clear according to scholarly political historians, President Obama isn't generally seen the worst president in history.  Even Jimmy Carter isn't the worst.  Both rank somewhere in the far.

Here are the historical worst contenders:
James Buchanan--He was our 15th president.  He had a little problem standing up for ideals.  He refused to challenge the growing bloc of states that wanted to secede from the U.S.; therefore, becoming the Confederacy.  To his credit, he believed secession was illegal, but he also believed going to war to prevent it was illegal.  He also refused to stop the growth of slavery.  When asked of historians what he did well as president, not much is recalled.

Warren G. Harding--He was our 29th president.  At the time of his presidency his popularity was high but after his death all these ugly truths came out.  He was involved in the Teapot Dome, a scandal where his Secretary of the Interior was caught taking bribes from oil companies.  It is said that he was an indecisive president who played poker while his friends plundered the treasury.  He was also taken to task for his poor handling of the Great Railroad Strike of 1922, where at least ten people, most of them strikers or family members, were killed in connection with the strike.

Andrew Johnson--He was the 17th president, taking office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  He favored a quick restoration of the seceded states but in this, didn't protect former slaves.  He opposed the 14th amendment, which gave citizenship to former slaves.  He is often seen as one of the worst for his strong opposition of federally guaranteed rights for Blacks.  And yet, other historians admire Johnson for his strict constitutionalism. 

So you can see, ranking any president as The. Worst. Ever. isn't as easy as just making a taunt on the playground.  Opinions abound on all sides.  Justification seems true as we speak.  But let's compare our opinions to these bottom-possibly-worse-ever-feeders for a reality check.  And then smile, shake hands, remember we are all in this together.


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