This was a post I did on Facebook back in July on Bush I’s birthday. I decided it needed some updating because I really hadn’t thought about all the factors that should go into deciding the title of worst president.
Dumbass Dubya has a lock on the #1 slot, but there can be some legitimate disagreement after that. Anyway, here’s the original post and some comments.
Fourth worst President in my lifetime (Mr “Read My Lips”) and his son Dubya, who took the title of Worst President Ever in a KO from Jimmy Carter. Happy birthday to budget busting Bush I.
In case anyone is wondering, my ranking for worst since 1962 is:
4) Bush I
(Comment) I’m thinking you forgot about the great society… W, Johnson, Carter in my book are 1-3.
(My response) I didn’t forget about it, but I’m trying to look at it from the perspective of what was happening in the country at the time. I don’t remember it personally, but if you go back and read news stories from the early/mid 60′s, the possibility of a race-based war was not far fetched. I think he headed that off. However he did launch the stupid War on Poverty, Medicare/caid, and escalated the political catastrophe that was Vietnam, so he doesn’t get a free pass.I could see moving him up a spot to rank worse than Bush I, but I can’t rank him worse than Nixon. Wage and price controls, EPA, OSHA, taking us off of the gold standard and creating this insipid fiat currency we now have. And there’s much much more. For example, Nixon started the whole “talk small government but grow it like crazy” that the GOP has become. (I give Reagan a pass on his tripling of the debt only because of the disaster in waiting he inherited from Carter via Nixon.)Back to Nixon… A few examples from an article titled “Nixon Reconsidered” (http://www.ashbrook.org/
“Johnson has gone down in the history books as the big spender for social welfare programs, yet federal spending grew faster during Nixon’s tenure than during Johnson’s. It was under Nixon that social spending came to exceed defense spending for the first time. Social spending soared from $55 billion in 1970 (Nixon’s first budget) to $132 billion in 1975, from 28 percent of the federal budget when LBJ left office to 40 percent of the budget by the time Nixon left in 1974.”
“While Nixon would criticize and attempt to reform welfare, he nonetheless approved massive increases in funding for other Great Society programs such as the Model Cities program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Some of the changes in spending policies that Nixon supported, such as automatic cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients and other entitlement programs, contributed to runaway spending trends in successive decades. Federal spending for the arts, which went mostly to cultural elites who hated Nixon, quadrupled.”
Nixon, like Bush I and Dubya, did more to harm the conservative movement and this country than any liberal democrat or communist could dream of doing. They talked a good game, but I judge people on their deeds, not words. Nixon fails that test miserably.
So I got to thinking about it more, and I’m revising my rankings a bit. Here’s my updated list:
5) Bush I
The two notable changes are that Nixon moved ahead of Carter into the #2 slot, and Johnson moved ahead of George “Read my lips” Bush I.
The changes were because I decided that Johnson’s initiation of the Great Society programs needed to be re-evaluated in terms of long term impact.
And “upon further review” I moved Nixon up a notch as well. I think he’s moved past Carter into the #2 position when I consider the long term damage caused by taking us off the gold standard in 71.In 1971 a Big Mac cost an average of 50 cents. Today it’s $4.33. Exact same product, 866% more expensive because of his fiat inflation.