Cross Posted at Left Coast Rebel
Ok, so sue me. I am new at this countdown thing. You want an expert watch Letterman, or VH1. I realize now I should have started at 20 and counted them down, but honestly I thought most folks would have saw a list and discussion of past presidents…and yawned. Apparently people have strong opinions on this topic, so I was wrong. So although I ruined the suspense by already doing the worst ten, I guess you can think of this as a reverse countdown to the best presidents of all time.
Here we go
#20 Gerald Ford – He was pushed into office and handed a whole lot of problems. Inflation, recession, energy shortage and world peace to name a few. He did slow spending. He was noted for being a man of integrity and openness almost to a fault. He pardoned Nixon, which gained him few fans, and the unmitigated ire of the Democratically controlled congress. He tried to curb inflation, then when it got worse because of Keynesian policies, he tried stimulation. He did veto 39 bills, mostly spending measures. He was a self proclaimed Internationalist. he did want to reduce regulation and business taxes. He also had to deal with an increasingly unstable middle east. With all of this, he somehow lost to Jimmy Carter.
#19 - Andrew Jackson- Old Hickory - Personally likable, even did admirable things, but was the first truly “populist” president. An image that according to some accounts he groomed and created despite actually disliking the people themselves. Did fight the 2nd National Bank, but only so he could grant power to his regional banker friends. Somewhat like Clinton, and Teddy Roosevelt, used the power of his charisma to do things others would have detested from lesser men. Believed that government duties were plain and simple and so rotated positions among deserving applicants. But the main reason he makes this list and not the “best” list is that he was first president to fully exercise the full power of the executive office. AND set the precedent that State Nullification was not constitutional.
#18 Warren G Harding – basically ran a Reaganesque program before there was ever a Reagan “less government in business, and more business in government” was what he said. Blessed (or perhaps cursed) with an (over?)active Republican congress, Harding’s presidency held a lot of promise. He was apparently not very good at picking advisors and staffers, because his presidency was wracked by scandals at every turn. A good orator, even though he rambled a LOT (think Bill Clinton), he was elected in a landslide. The problems was he allowed the Machine Bosses to run things too much. He even once exclaimed “My friends are the ones that keep me walking the floors at night”. So even though he lowered taxes, eliminated wartime controls, established a system for the federal budget, and limited immigration; he was still a failure.
#17 Herbert Hoover - “The Great Humanitarian” was an advisor to President Wilson. Fought the first “war on poverty” he is kept from being way lower in the list (worse) because he was a tax cutter, but then again he expanded public works spending. Although he is blamed for the depression and FDR lauded for getting us out of it by the MSM, FDR actually just did more of the same of what Hoover started. He started the RFC, helped with mortgage foreclosures on farms, did banking reform, loaned money to states to help the unemployed, expanded public works and began putting the Govt. in charge of the economy. In a strange twist he still believed that charity and local and volunteer programs were best. For not sticking with his conservative principles that he obviously knew, he is #19.
#16 – Franklin Pierce – passed the Kansas-Nebraska act , repealed the Missouri Compromise reopening the question of slavery in the West. Hastening the beginning of the civil war. Even angered the Democrats so much that they did not re-nominate him.
#15 John Tyler – Dubbed “His Accidency” assumed presidency when Harrison died a month into the office. He was supposed to be a tagalong to “old Tippecanoe” , instead he found himself the first VP elevated to the Presidency, as such it set a bit of a precedent. . He was a strong States-Rights Proponent, but he was also apparently pro-slavery. He was also in favor of the Tariff. His actions pushed the country that much closer to Civil War, and he actually ended up as a member of the confederate house of representatives.
#14 Chester A. Arthur – was a huge player in what we now call the “chicago way” over staffing federal bureaus with his friends and cronies. Was thick as thieves with Boss Conklin. Somewhat of a Dandy, and hobnobbed with the elite of Washington, NY, and Newport. Was also a fan of the Tariff and this led to his eventual defeat, which was in the end good, because he was ill and died before he could have ever served a second term.
#13 Ulysses S, Grant – A great general and a poor president. He seemed to be always looking to congress for direction. One visitor to the White House said he had a “puzzled pathos, as of a man with a problem before him of which he does not understand the terms”. Also rumored to be quite the alcoholic. Although he himself was scrupulously honorable and honest, ran one of the most corrupt administrations in our history.
#12 Andrew Johnson- The first of only three presidents (so far) to have articles of impeachment begun against them (well Nixon would have in a matter of days). honestly he might have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Any president at this time would have had few options for smooth sailing. Nevertheless. He continually did things to upset the north and anger the south and when he pardoned a bunch of confederates he was impeached. Acquitted by one vote, congress had effectively neutered him.
#11 James Buchanan – Presiding over a nation rapidly falling apart, Buchanan apparently did not grasp the enormity of the situation. He was a constitutionalist, but ignored political realities of the day completely. He also never understood how the rift between the North and South had changed forever the political parties and what they stood for. For being blithely ignorant of nearly everything that was going on, as well as some other pretty nasty rumors he gets spot 11.
Alright…let the debate begin… who did I forget, who did I misplace?