Ten Worse than W?


Filed Under General on Jan 19 

Well, patriot Harry “stuck a feather up my butt and called it antipasto” Reid notwithstanding, I thought I’d give it my own go as to who I would rank as official members of the Presidential Hall of Shame—the top 10, or should I say bottom 10, worst presidents we have had over our illustrious 219 years with the office formally represented. I wanted to see just where I’d rank our current office holder, Mr. George W Bush, by comparison.

So I researched to see if there were truly ten worse than GWB. Hearing all the chatter from the lefties, I wondered if any would qualify. I tried to be objective in the sense that D’s, R’s, and some W’s made the list. Idiocy is not limited to party affiliation.

Mind you, this is an informal, unscientific ranking. I am sure that a few of my more “progressive” brethren on PD would rank GWB somewhere around #57—that would be worse than 14 more presidents whose 2 year campaigns we have yet to endure (from notable possibilities like Ice-T, Britney Spears, Heath Shuler, or Al Franken). But since the post is mine, I’ll rank them as I see them.

One measurement I used to compare was the combined scores of twelve presidential surveys done by historians polled since 1947 (including Siena, WSJ, C-SPAN, Chicago Tribune, etc). This was so I wasn’t simply pulling names out of the hat, and it would give me the veneer of authority (hey, it works for liberal historians, right?).

One caveat: I spared the few gentlemen who had the misfortune of dying relatively early in their term. Death has a way of lowering your score, you know what I mean? So although they scored low, the following missed the cut: William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and James Garfield. The others below may have wished for a similar fate.

So here’s my humble offering of “Ten worse than W”:

10. John Tyler (1841-1845) – A man without a party is a pretty pathetic sight. Although he campaigned with them, Tyler bolted from the Whigs who were in control (by his own choice—a real swift move), and the result was isolation and stagnation—for 4 long years. He Tippecanoed over…
9. US Grant (1869-1877) – A sincere but gullible and un-political leader with a truckload of missteps made and scandals occurring around him. The only full two-termer on the list.
8. Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893) – More like “Count de Money”, as in watching it go out the treasury doors. Between the panic of 1893 and a first-time billion dollar budget, He was one and done.
7. Jimmy Carter (1976-1980) – A model of incompetence mixed with a dash of naiveté. Grounding the economy as well as unleashing the Islamic genie out of the bottle is enough of a legacy for him to last a lifetime.
6. Richard Nixon (1968-1974) – A raging paranoia led to a thirst for vengeance that led to his downfall. Tricky Dick never learned the value of forgiveness; Watergate sealed his fate.
5. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853) – Know-Nothings in charge do nothing about slavery. Never actually elected to office. Better known for a comic strip and a KIA commercial than anything he did in office. Waffler on slavery.
4. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) – The boondoggler of Reconstruction; even purchasing Alaska (thus giving us Sarah Palin!) couldn’t redeem his rep.
3. James Buchanan (1857-1861) – Despite coming from the great state of PA (and Lancaster to boot) JB was the ultimate waffler on the issue of slavery; basically the Neville Chamberlain of the 19th century. The civil war started after him.
2. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857) – Having southern sympathies during the Civil War was the first mistake; having Jefferson Davis as a pen-pal made it unforgivable. Fraternizing with the rebels was his big downfall.
1. Warren G Harding (1921-1923) – Made Bill Clinton look like a pious altar boy in comparison by having multiple affairs and fathering children while in office. Died before the end of his term, but accumulated enough ‘scandalous’ evidence personally and in the administration to rank him the worst of the worst. Also was a worse communicator than W, despite being an editor of a paper at one time.

Even if I restricted my list to 20th century comparisons, I’d still rank W ahead of at least 7 presidents: Harding, Carter, Nixon, Hoover (who I think got a worse rep than deserved), Coolidge, Ford, and Taft; W comes in around the likes of Clinton and his old man, HW.

Just remember: Over-extending strong executive powers? Bending constitutional law? Same could be said of Abe Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, and Woodrow Wilson, and yet we rank them all in the top 15.

There you have it. Ten worse than W. I believe as vindictive as the press and libs are about him, W will have a ranking much higher than these illustrious gents. He will probably not make anyone’s top ten list, but will receive a legacy much better than predicted by some because of what’s he faced over the last 8 years.