Today is Presidents Day. Technically we’re supposed to be celebrating George Washington’s birthday, but since only government parasites get Lincoln’s birthday off anymore, this has morphed into a celebration of the two of them and executive power in general. Now we have a day to celebrate Barack Obama, two George Bushes, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and all the other thieves and war criminals that have taken up residence in the White House over the last couple centuries.
Historians will often use today as an excuse to type up a list of the best presidents in American history. I could do that, but it would really be more of a list of which ones, in my opinion, did the least amount of damage during their reigns. So rather than bore myself by reading through Wikipedia pages of the Grover Clevelands and Calvin Coolidges of the world, I’ll make a short list of who I consider to be the worst presidents. You’ll notice these are mostly the same guys who would appear on a typical best presidents list.
1. Woodrow Wilson.
Where to start. Woody solidified the Democrat Party as the “progressive” party moving forward, stealing the title away from the Republicans who had been the openly Big Government party since the Civil War. He handed over control of the currency to bankers with the Federal Reserve Act. He actually lowered tariffs which would be good except he made up for it with the first income tax since the Civil War. The worst thing he did was plunge the formerly “isolationist” United States into World War I. After getting a few hundred thousand Americans killed for the British and French Empires, he helped negotiate the Treaty of Versailles leading to World War II. There’s a school of thought that had he stayed out and minded his own damn business, that the Europeans would have had to make a true negotiated peace. This could have avoided Nazism and Communism, but hey, those isms were a small price to pay to make the world safe for democracy. He reinstated the draft, locked people up for criticizing him, and did his best to nationalize the economy. The best thing ‘ol Woody did was drop dead. Unfortunately it was a few years after his second and final term ended.
2. Abraham Lincoln
Honest Abe’s number 2 on the list for the sheer body count. One million casualties. 625,000 dead soldiers. 50,000 dead civilians. The war that Lincoln unleashed set the standard for total warfare that the rest of Western Civilization would continue in WWI and WWII as the Union Army burned southern cities to the ground and starved women and children. Slavery eventually ended following the Union victory, but considering the cost of the war, one would think he could have simply bought all the slaves and set them free. It should be noted that he didn’t start the war to end slavery, that slavery existed throughout his presidency in several of the Union States, and that he actually supported the Fugitive Slave Act as well as a constitutional amendment saying the Federal Government would not interfere with slavery where it already existed. The war was mainly fought so he could consolidate Washington’s power over the southern states and raise the protectionist tariff to benefit his crony capitalist benefactors. He also sent the army west to clear the Indians for his former railroad company clients. He was assassinated while still in office, and has since been considered a Christ-like martyr for adherents of a strong executive and expanding National government ever since.
3. Franklin Roosevelt
FDR’s New Deal prolonged the Great Depression and set the stage for government dependency that’s been growing among a larger and larger portion of the population ever since. It also made the individual states ever more dependent on Washington so as to decrease any resistance to the Federal Government. I won’t go into the details here, but the economic and political arguments I find persuasive are easy to dig up with a quick google search. He also stole every American’s gold. Roosevelt’s worst crime was certainly getting the US involved in World War II. Like Wilson he lied about wanting to stay out of it while he was doing his best to provoke first Germany, and when that failed, Japan. He allowed the soldiers at Pearl Harbor to be murdered so he could get a back door entry into the European war. He then proceeded to wage Total War on the civilians of Germany by fire bombing their cities. For good measure he locked up Japanese-Americans in concentration camps based on their perceived disloyalty. The one good thing he did was help repeal the 18th amendment.
4. Harry Truman
Truman tried his best to continue FDR’s interventionist economic policies, but he was thwarted to a large degree by a Republican Congress following WWII. So what gets Harry on this list is his reckless foreign policy. First off he continued FDR’s Total War policy and refused any negotiated surrender from either Germany or Japan, ensuring a much higher death toll. He firebombed Tokyo and dropped Atomic bombs on two Japanese cities for the sole purpose of killing as many people as possible. Whether this was done just to show off to the Soviets or because he was trying to break the will of the Japanese people is irrelevant. There is no justification for the carnage he unleashed. After WWII was over he helped his buddy Stalin continue slaughtering German civilians while he enslaved half of Europe. He then started NATO and helped ignite the Cold War. Later Truman launched the Korean War. This was done without asking Congress for a declaration, setting the stage for the Imperial Presidency we have today.
5. Lyndon Johnson
Created the modern Welfare State. Launched a bloody and senseless war in Vietnam which was eventually lost anyway. I could go into more details, but I’m not sure there are many people who actually like this guy anyway. Unlike the previous four, LBJ is usually not on any Great Presidents lists.
I know that 4 out of 5 on my list are Democrats, but if I had kept going there would have been plenty of Republicans. I’m a non-partisan hater:
Teddy Roosevelt, Bush 2, Obama, Nixon, Clinton, Grant, Bush 1, McKinley.