Is Trump really the worst US president ever?

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DarthMetaKnight
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22 Feb 2018, 3:05 am

Hi all. Today I want to talk about a piece of rhetoric that I keep hearing. "Donald Trump is the worst president ever!"

In my opinion, Donald Trump is a horrible president, but this doesn't make him the worst president ever. In my opinion, people are calling Trump the worst president ever because they've forgotten about the distant past. We need to remember how far we have come as a species.

I totally understand why Trump is widely regarded as the worst president ever. We live in a world in which style is valued over substance. Thus, a president with good style can overcome poor substance. Trump is widely regarded as the worst president ever because of his abysmally poor style. Thus, unlike most bad presidents, he has a hard time covering up his poor policy decisions.

So, let's talk about the past presidents who may have been even worse than Trump.

James Madison: Tried to conquer Canada. Got rekt.

Andrew Jackson: He invaded and conquered Florida, which was Spanish property at the time. He mainly did this because runaway salves were escaping to Florida. The indigenous people of Florida were brutalised during this conflict.

Martin Van Buren: Sent Native Americans to interment camps in Oklahoma.

James K. Polk: He started the Mexican-American war. Why? He just plain wanted to steal land from Mexico.

Zachary Taylor: He continued the Mexican-American War and also waged war against some Native Americans.

James Buchanan: He waged war against the Mormons, believing that Mormonism was a rebellion against the United States.

William McKinley: Tried to annex the Philippines.

Herbert Hoover: He did basically nothing as the Great Depression was tearing apart the United States. Fortunately, FDR cleaned up his mess afterwards.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Agent Orange was first used in the Vietnam War during his presidency.

Richard Nixon: Hoo boy! He helped Pinochet get into power, he continued the Vietnam War ... and then there's the whole Watergate thing.

Bottom Line: Trump may be a bad president, but we need to remember how far we've come. It could be worse.


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Kraichgauer
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22 Feb 2018, 3:27 am

I hardly think Lyndon Johnson should be on that list, as he is responsible for so much civil rights legislation. But one guy who should be at the top of the list was Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor. Andrew Johnson had tried to ruin Reconstruction for purely racist reasons, and was the first President ot be impeached (seems you can't remove someone from office who's an alcoholic incompetent, after all). Grant ended up having to clean up much of his mess.
But as far as Trump is concerned - he has not yet completed his term, and so can't be judged just yet. But if he was in fact guilty of getting Russian help to reach the White House, he'll certainly be up there as on of the very worst.


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22 Feb 2018, 3:33 am

thank you.

bush junior comes to mind. mismanagement of the 2005 hurricanes (katrina especially), iraq war, all leading up to the horrible recession whose effects we're still feeling.

his "style" was hardly any better than don's, too in retrospect, but i guess being a dumb clown is still better than being an outright prick. i don't think he would have won reelection if it weren't for 9/11.


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DarthMetaKnight
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22 Feb 2018, 3:47 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
I hardly think Lyndon Johnson should be on that list, as he is responsible for so much civil rights legislation. But one guy who should be at the top of the list was Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor. Andrew Johnson had tried to ruin Reconstruction for purely racist reasons, and was the first President ot be impeached (seems you can't remove someone from office who's an alcoholic incompetent, after all). Grant ended up having to clean up much of his mess.
But as far as Trump is concerned - he has not yet completed his term, and so can't be judged just yet. But if he was in fact guilty of getting Russian help to reach the White House, he'll certainly be up there as on of the very worst.


You have a point about Andrew Johnson, though I don't take back what I said about Lyndon.

I try to maintain an international outlook. Thus, I judge world leaders based on what they do for the whole world, not just their own citizens.

Yes. Lyndon Johnson did pass some civil rights legislation. He also allowed this to happen.



The big picture is what matters.


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Kraichgauer
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22 Feb 2018, 4:02 am

DarthMetaKnight wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
I hardly think Lyndon Johnson should be on that list, as he is responsible for so much civil rights legislation. But one guy who should be at the top of the list was Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor. Andrew Johnson had tried to ruin Reconstruction for purely racist reasons, and was the first President ot be impeached (seems you can't remove someone from office who's an alcoholic incompetent, after all). Grant ended up having to clean up much of his mess.
But as far as Trump is concerned - he has not yet completed his term, and so can't be judged just yet. But if he was in fact guilty of getting Russian help to reach the White House, he'll certainly be up there as on of the very worst.


You have a point about Andrew Johnson, though I don't take back what I said about Lyndon.

I try to maintain an international outlook. Thus, I judge world leaders based on what they do for the whole world, not just their own citizens.

Yes. Lyndon Johnson did pass some civil rights legislation. He also allowed this to happen.



The big picture is what matters.


While I had heard of birth defects associated with Agent Orange, this is actually the first time that I've seen the horrific outcome. Yes, Lyndon Johnson bears responsibility, but unlike the likes of Andrew Johnson or Andrew Jackson, he hardly intended such horrible things to come out of his policies.


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naturalplastic
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22 Feb 2018, 8:28 am

None of your examples demonstrate incompentence equal to Trump's.



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22 Feb 2018, 8:41 am

It seems like Trump IS trying really hard to fix his reputation. It's a shame he was being rude during his compaigning and the locker room talk TMZ video.



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22 Feb 2018, 9:49 am

Aaendi wrote:
It seems like Trump IS trying really hard to fix his reputation. It's a shame he was being rude during his compaigning and the locker room talk TMZ video.

I don't get that impression at all.

Scroll down his Twitter feed and it doesn't take long before you see him complaining about the media and Obama and insulting his political opposition. He's still insulting other countries. A few weeks ago he praised a man who had just resigned from the White House over accusations of domestic abuse, and had to backtrack a few days later.



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22 Feb 2018, 10:28 am

All the "bad" Presidents were "bad" for different reasons.

Trump is dangerously "bad" because he constantly makes diplomatic faux pas. Additionally he wants to dispense with the freedoms which are guaranteed under the First Amendment. Not even Nixon would have had the gall to perform the stunts which Trump has performed so far.

Nixon would have been a decent President had there been no Watergate and cover-up. He was a paranoiac---but he was well-versed in things, too.

Johnson is a mixed bag. He passed civil rights legislation because he wanted to leave a "legacy." But he also escalated the Vietnam War.

James Buchanan was sort of like Nero with his violin.

Hoover, a practical man was, nevertheless, oblivious to what was going on among real people at the advent of the Great Depression. He was actually considered a great man in his time, and was constantly asked to be the leaders of significant committees. This is evident when studying the various "Hoover Commissions" which were formed. Obviously, he was a poor President.

Madison, probably, was too much into the theoretical side of things, and not well-versed enough in the affairs of actual people.



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22 Feb 2018, 11:34 am

DarthMetaKnight wrote:
...let's talk about the past presidents who may have been even worse than Trump....

Well, let's start at the beginning; President Washington agreed with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's advice to quash the Whiskey Rebellion just several years after the American Revolution had succeeded victoriously based largely on its opposition to the extreme taxations brought on by Great Britain. The rebels, however, saw things differently than Hamilton did when they were coerced into paying exorbitant taxes on whiskey (a small, gleaned by-product of grain farmers who had already paid their taxes in the larger harvests that they cultivated). As veterans of the Revolutionary War, they were understandably outraged that their service hadn't paid for their small distilleries which made use out of otherwise fallow crops. But no, Washington led 13,000 militiamen personally in the arrest of just 20 distillers and, by doing so, became the first U.S. president to attack his own citizens. Apparently, not to be outdone years later, President Obama granted himself and all future presidents the lawful authority to assassinate U.S. citizens (think about it, even President Trump now has that authority).

Let's look at President Reagan who "reported" the trust funds of the U.S. Social Security Administration as assets on the federal budgets he oversaw to balance his military deficits. Also apparently, not to be outdone years later, President Clinton started to "spend" the funds outright, and began the increases of the national retirement age.

No, really, let's look at President Reagan yet again. He had been convinced by his advisers to sign a bill which essentially allowed insurance companies to invest their funds in various stock and bond markets (boosting the apparent stability and wealth of the U.S. economy), but which also essentially converted insurance "companies" into insurance "banks," and began the detrimental effects against the medical industry over profits.

So, no, I would happily accept a President Coolidge over my notables above.


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22 Feb 2018, 1:29 pm

President Obama is the worst.

The Obama administration twisted the power of "regulating commerce" to "regulating inaction". They argued, "not engaging in commerce is still commerce, because your inaction (non-participation) still affects commerce".

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, they lost that argument.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_ ... ._Sebelius

However, in a 5-4 decision, somehow SCOTUS decided that federal "taxing powers" can be applied to "inaction".

So, we still got stuck with a new kind of tax, a "participation tax", called the "Individual Mandate" that set a precedent that it's legal for government to tax you for inaction (non-participation).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_mandate

It's an absolute loss in freedom.

Thankfully, great president Trump eliminated this ugly law.

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22 Feb 2018, 2:47 pm

He's certainly the worst in my lifetime. I don't know if he's the worst in history since I don't know much about past presidents, but he's still pretty bad. He's actually great if you care about the economy and literally nothing else, but as someone who doesn't believe the economy is the only issue at any given time, I see a joke of a president screwing up even the most basic things.

Don't get me started on his inability to debunk bad rumours about himself with any kind of proper evidence, or that he actually thinks Mexico is going to pay for a wall that they don't want to build. His "environmental policy" if you can even call it that, suggests something is seriously wrong with him mentally. Maybe he will be the first president to actually enact some kind of gun control, in which case I'll have some degree of respect for him, even if it's cancelled out by all the bad. Still, if he does that maybe I'll be a little more conflicted about him instead of firmly believing he needs to go ASAP.



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22 Feb 2018, 3:02 pm

Wikipedia has Trump and Obama nearly tied as the worst ...

Worst president since World War II

Donald Trump (26%)
Barack Obama (25%)
Richard Nixon (13%)
George W. Bush (7%)
Bill Clinton (6%)
Jimmy Carter (5%)
George H.W. Bush (3%)
Lyndon B. Johnson (2%)
Ronald Reagan (tie) (1%)
Gerald R. Ford (tie) (1%)
Harry S. Truman (tie) (<1%)
John F. Kennedy (<1%)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historica ... nsult_poll


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22 Feb 2018, 3:17 pm

Most of the OP points are peaches to pears impossible comparisons from other centuries. Like saying that "Trump is a better president than Washington because Trump doesn't own slaves, but Washington did".

But on one issue, that of simply being "presidential" in how a person conducts himself you can compare across centuries, and on that: Trump is far and away worse than any president we have ever had with his juvenile tweets, and flights of vane fancy (like this military parade thing), and much else. But it could be worse. Caligula appointed his favorite horse a Senator, and allow the horse to roam the senate floor. Trump hasn't made any of his pets senators yet. And I doubt that he ever will. Though it wouldnt surprise me if he were to appoint Ivanka's pet Pekinese to head the EPA.



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22 Feb 2018, 4:04 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
None of your examples demonstrate incompentence equal to Trump's.


Competent leaders are often more dangerous than incompetent leaders, since they are better at oppressing people.

Let's be honest. Has Trump killed more innocent people than Bush? Not likely.

Trump seems to be similar to Bush in terms of intentions ... though he is bad at hiding his true intentions due to his short fuse and poor impulse control.

In other words, his incompetence is good for us. It's a good thing when self-centered egoists are incompetent.

When well-intentioned people are incompetent, that is a bad thing.


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DarthMetaKnight
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22 Feb 2018, 4:16 pm

LoveNotHate wrote:
Wikipedia has Trump and Obama nearly tied as the worst ...

Worst president since World War II

Donald Trump (26%)
Barack Obama (25%)
Richard Nixon (13%)
George W. Bush (7%)
Bill Clinton (6%)
Jimmy Carter (5%)
George H.W. Bush (3%)
Lyndon B. Johnson (2%)
Ronald Reagan (tie) (1%)
Gerald R. Ford (tie) (1%)
Harry S. Truman (tie) (<1%)
John F. Kennedy (<1%)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historica ... nsult_poll


This list only proves that people have poor memory.

People almost always consider the current president or the previous president to be the worst ever. Why? It's because the average person has no historical knowledge.

It isn't their fault though. Modern popular culture is a demonic succubus that drags people away from the real world. Addionally, the so-called "History Channel" is full of garbage about aliens.

I think I just explained the outcome of that poll fairly well. The average person nowadays is a boat aimlessly drifting in the ocean of fads, without a historical anchor.


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