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Best and Worst - President of the United States

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Brian LaSorsa Posted: Sun, Jun 27 2010 10:42 PM

I just want to see everyone's opinion on this subject. Who do you think is the best and worst U.S. President, and why?

Haha, I figure I better say this: if you're going to vote, please do not say that they are all the worst. In fact, writing this might make even more people say it. Oh well.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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Brian Anderson:
Haha, I figure I better say this: if you're going to vote, please do not say that they are all the worst. In fact, writing this might make even more people say it. Oh well.

lol, you're getting the hang of things around here Brian.  :)

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Benjamin Franklin?

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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@ liberty student:

Haha, yeah, I guess I am! I love all of these discussions.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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Hard Rain replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 5:58 AM

I used to like Calvin Coolidge the most until I found out about his foray into mass murder during prohibition by poisoning the alcohol supplies.

"I don't believe in ghosts, sermons, or stories about money" - Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.
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Too limited.

Why not ask the best incumbent leader of any nation?

How about some non-American names like Lord Salisbury? Lord Salisbury who famously wanted to prevent democracy in Britain, because it would lead to a dissolution of property rights and would allow the debtors who outnumber creditors to outvote them?

Now name one American President of similar values!

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I have heard Grover Cleveland mentioned before as the most libertarian US President.  Not sure whether this is true or not.

Worst was probably FDR, though all Presidents since have basically been a continuation of his regime.

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I've also heard that about Cleveland. I know he was big on the gold standard and everything libertarian-oriented as far as the economy goes.

I definitely agree about FDR too. I hate Wilson, FDR, and Carter. Wilson started everything terrible with the Federal Reserve, IRS, and income tax. FDR's New Deal is the entire basis of all of our problems. Carter was just an idiot.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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E. R. Olovetto:

Benjamin Franklin?

I've heard so many people say he was one of our best presidents even though he wasn't one at all.

 

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I've heard so many people say he was one of our best presidents even though he wasn't one at all.

I was just kidding around because there are like 10 threads on this already. Discussion of things like Glenn Beck, the history of the presidents, or the constitution really bores me, but please continue with your fun. =)

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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I figured you were kidding, but you would be surprised how many people say his name when that conversation starts up every so often.

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ravochol replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 9:50 AM

 

How about some non-American names like Lord Salisbury?

Do you mean the prime minister? - I can't find any evidence he supported this, though he certainly seems to have opposed democracy for Irish, Indians and Africans...
 
Now name one American President of similar values!
 
Most of them?  In the early days, debtors couldn't even vote in many states - there were property qualifications along with all the other ones. Most of the founding fathers were against 'too much' democracy, because they were wealthy and wanted a system of government which served their interests. 
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Most of the founding fathers were against 'too much' democracy, because they were wealthy and wanted a system of government which served their interests.

That is an extremely ignorant statement to make. The Founding Fathers were not wealthy at all. The majority of them were very, very, very poor. To say that they wanted a government that served their interests makes it sound like there was some kind of corruption involved to benefit only those individuals. They wanted a republic, not a democracy. Too much democracy breeds an abuse of power. They wanted democracy to be used for few things (i.e. elections) so that people could be free to do what they want without worrying about a majority rule.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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Aquila replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 10:27 AM

Best: William Henry Harrison. Died before he could fuck things up.

Worst: Abe Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR. 

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ravochol replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 10:34 AM

I like JFK and Jefferson though.

What's the problem with Jimmy Carter? Anything he did bad pales in comparison to those who came before and after him:

LBJ - killed JFK, killed 3 million in Vietnam

Nixon - killed 3 million in Vietnam

Ford - pardoned Nixon, participated in the Warren Commission coverup

Carter - peanuts

Reagan - trained death squads in Latin America, allowed the CIA to import cocaine into the U.S. to fund the death squads

Bush I - was the one really running the Reagan administration, former head of CIA

Clinton - bombed Kosovo at his wifes urging, slept with moderately attractive women, killed some crazy people in Waco, possibly complicit in above drug trafficking as Governor

Bush II - started two silly wars, devastating two nations, billions of free $ to the banks

Obama - continued two silly wars, devastating two nations, billions of free $ to the banks

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Beefheart replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 1:29 PM

Best (not counting the ones who died, of course!): Martin Van Buren and Grover Cleveland

Worst: FDR and Lincoln (got to give a shout out to Wilson too, of course. All on the same general level)

My personal Anarcho-Capitalist flag. The symbol in the center stands for "harmony" and "protection"-- I'm hoping to illustrate the bond between order/justice and anarchy.

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@Aquila:

Do you say Lincoln because there would have been simpler solutions as opposed to having a Civil War? Just curious.

@ravochol:

LBJ - killed JFK, killed 3 million in Vietnam

How did Johnson kill Kennedy?

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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Mark B. replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 2:46 PM

I keep a copy of this just for the occasions "Who is the best/worst Presidents?" threads.

 

The disastrous Presidents:


1. Abraham Lincoln - Classic Authoritarian

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Engaged in disastrous counter cyclical policy and inflicted numerous disastrous programs on the nation

3. Woodrow Wilson - Federal Reserve and World War I



The failures:


1. Theodore Roosevelt - Advocacy and advancement of central banking and his ultra progressive policies.
2. Herbert Hoover - Turning an ordinary "panic" into a true disaster with his interventionist policies. In fact, Hoover's policies would very much foreshadow FDR's later policies. In both cases they failed, badly.
3. Lyndon Baines Johnson - The disastrous Great Society and Vietnam.
<Provisional> Obama - I have been charitable to Obama, but his record in a year and a half is almost worse than what G.W. Bush was able to inflict in 8 years.
4. Tie. William McKinley - advocacy of central banking and centralization of economic planning. Also, imperialist foreign policy.
4. Tie. George W. Bush - No real need to explain this.
4. Tie. Harry Truman - Use of an atomic weapon on a civilian city. Abuses of Federal Power.
5. Tie. U.S. Grant - General ineptitude for office.
5. Tie. Richard Nixon - Bad economic policy, particularly the ending of the gold exchange standard. He does get a reprieve for his foreign policy, which is why he is not tied for 4th with the others.
5. Tie. Jimmy Carter - Just general ineptness for the Presidency.

Good Presidents

1. Grover Cleveland
2. Martin van Buren
3. Calvin Coolidge
4. Warren G. Harding <this President is noted for his excellent handling of the panic of 1921, caused by WWI inflation under Wilson, if Herbert Hoover had only taken heed of this man's excellent example.>

Adequate Presidents <generally as above, but had serious incidents during their presidency>

1. Thomas Jefferson - Failed to abolish the Bank of the United States established under the Federalists and failed to undo Federalist tariffs. Also foreign policy blunders.
2. James Monroe - Handled the Panic of 1819 admirably, little Federal growth.  Thinking of bumping him up to the "good" category.
3. James Madison - Same as Jefferson, plus War of 1812.
4. Andrew Jackson - Overall an excellent President, however his brutal treatment of Indians gives him a major black eye. <without his treatment of Indians, he would likely have placed #1 or #2.>
4. Dwight Eisenhower - Foreign policy problems.
5. George Washington - Washington suffers mainly from being under the influence of Alexander Hamilton. The Bank of the United States is his major failure, followed by suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion. To his credit, however, he kept the Presidency in deferment to the Congress.
6. Andrew Johnson - Stood up to the Radical Republicans.
7. John Tyler - Stopped the Whig program dead after Harrisons death.
8. Franklin Pierce
9. James Buchanan

Mid range Presidents, in chronological order.

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
William Henry Harrison
James Polk
Zachary Taylor
Milliard Fillmore
Rutherford Hayes
James Garfield
Chester Arthur
Benjamin Harrison
William Taft
John Kennedy
Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan
George H.W. Bush
Bill Clinton

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
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Mark B. replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 2:49 PM

I should also note that had William Henry Harrison not died so quickly, he would likely have ended up in the failure range.  He fully supported Henry Clay's "American System" and would likely have, with the assistance of the Whig Congress, brought it into existance fully twenty years before Lincoln, whom ultimately did bring it to fruition.

His death and Tyler's ascension killed the Whig's program as Tyler was actually a closet Democrat.

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
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4. Tie. Harry Truman - Use of an atomic weapon on a civilian city. Abuses of Federal Power.

Assuming we didn't drop the nuclear bombs on Japan, how do you think the war would have proceeded?

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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Mark B. replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 4:33 PM

At the major risk of taking this thread off track, I will give the concise answer.

1.  There was no need to obtain the unconditional surrender of Japan and in fact, Japan had been prepared to give a conditional surrender with the most modest face saving conditions possible.  Their navy was destroyed and they were no longer a threat to the United States or anybody else.

2.  The force estimates for a land invasion of Japan have always been extremely overestimated as well as possible U.S. casualties.

3.  The United States deliberately steered Japan into the war to begin with.

4.  I refuse to accept that the undistinguished and unconditional extermination of the men, women and children of any city can every be justified at any time, for any reason.  It is genocide, no matter what supposedly noble reason is attached to it.

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
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ravochol replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 5:40 PM

How did Johnson kill Kennedy?

Well, Kennedy became a dove when the Cuban Missile Crisis almost ended human civilization.  He became convinced that the U.S. needed to work out a peace and disarmament deal with the Soviet Union, and was communicating fruitfully with Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev on this matter. Check out JFK's American University Speech, where JFK talks about the need for peace with the Soviet Union and a disarmament treaty only 5 months before his assassination. 

At the same time, Kennedy became distrustful of the CIA and the military elite after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and after the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the heads of the military) submitted an official proposal to him including suggestions to set off bombs in the U.S., killing civilians, to blame on Castro and thereby justify a war with Cuba in the public mind.  This proposal was titled Operation Northwoods, and was vetoed by Kennedy. 

Kennedy is on record as as asking '"How could I have been so stupid?" to trust the groups who were advising him, such as the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and that he would "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds."

Rather than be splintered and scattered, the CIA, or rather a faction of it, decided to have Kennedy shot, blaming it on a pro-Castro lone nut gunman, Lee Oswald.  The people who actually killed Kennedy were most likely the members of Operation 40, a CIA squad of cold-war hardliners who were involved in attempts to kill Castro, and thus had the resources, training and motivation to carry out the assassination of a head of state, so that hard-line cold war policies would remain in place.

LBJ apparently was approached and went along with this plan, and, becoming President after JFK's assasination, LBJ organized the Warren Commission to 'investigate' Kennedy's death.  The Warren Commission included the head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, future President Gerald Ford, and head of the World Bank, John J McCloy. Would you appoint a banker to investigate a murder?

Members of 'Operation 40,' like Barry Seal, later became involved in drug and arms running on behalf of right-wing CIA backed paramilitaries in South America. Others, like Frank Sturgis, were later arrested in the "Watergate burglaries."

For further reading, you might want to check out the cases of William F. Pepper or research George H. W. Bush's father's attempt to overthrow the government of the United States in the so called 'business plot,' and then in that light evaluate his son George's later leadership of the CIA.

 

below; pictures of Frank Sturgis, Operation 40 member, Watergate burglar; in the middle one, Sturgis is dressed as a "tramp," the outfit he was wearing when was arrested by Dallas police for being suspicious in the immediate aftermath of the Kennedy assassination:

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Giant_Joe replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 5:54 PM

The middle one is actually Gordon Ramsey.

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ravochol replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 6:00 PM

Bill Hicks on JFK:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11Fl9ZVJ7B8

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My Girlfriend and I have a joke about this very question. We claim that any president we can't think of because during their presidency there must have been no wars or conflict in the country. So if the president is not mentioned in the history book he must've been one heck of a president.

 

Martin Van Buren maybe? :P

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend. -Bruce Lee
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The whole concept of Keynese economics making wars, genocides and all kinds of other major dissasters an economically good thing is in my oppinion a root cause for all these poor presidents making such terrible decissions... But I mean how long can this huge failure last? I don't think we're too far away from the getting back on the right track.

Richard A.

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Aquila replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 8:35 PM

@ravochol: I understand Rothbard was something of a JFK assassination conspiracy buff. Did he ever say what he thought happened? What is it something along the lines of what you are proposing?

Also, what do you think of this video from Penn and Teller's Bullshit? (only 47 seconds long):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzyw7AcHbuY

I hope I'm not irritating you with my questions. I'm interested in learning and you seem in teaching.

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Aquila replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 8:42 PM

I keep a copy of this just for the occasions "Who is the best/worst Presidents?" threads.

 

The disastrous Presidents:


1. Abraham Lincoln - Classic Authoritarian

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Engaged in disastrous counter cyclical policy and inflicted numerous disastrous programs on the nation

3. Woodrow Wilson - Federal Reserve and World War I



The failures:


1. Theodore Roosevelt - Advocacy and advancement of central banking and his ultra progressive policies.
2. Herbert Hoover - Turning an ordinary "panic" into a true disaster with his interventionist policies. In fact, Hoover's policies would very much foreshadow FDR's later policies. In both cases they failed, badly.
3. Lyndon Baines Johnson - The disastrous Great Society and Vietnam.
<Provisional> Obama - I have been charitable to Obama, but his record in a year and a half is almost worse than what G.W. Bush was able to inflict in 8 years.
4. Tie. William McKinley - advocacy of central banking and centralization of economic planning. Also, imperialist foreign policy.
4. Tie. George W. Bush - No real need to explain this.
4. Tie. Harry Truman - Use of an atomic weapon on a civilian city. Abuses of Federal Power.
5. Tie. U.S. Grant - General ineptitude for office.
5. Tie. Richard Nixon - Bad economic policy, particularly the ending of the gold exchange standard. He does get a reprieve for his foreign policy, which is why he is not tied for 4th with the others.
5. Tie. Jimmy Carter - Just general ineptness for the Presidency.

Good Presidents

1. Grover Cleveland
2. Martin van Buren
3. Calvin Coolidge
4. Warren G. Harding <this President is noted for his excellent handling of the panic of 1921, caused by WWI inflation under Wilson, if Herbert Hoover had only taken heed of this man's excellent example.>

Adequate Presidents <generally as above, but had serious incidents during their presidency>

1. Thomas Jefferson - Failed to abolish the Bank of the United States established under the Federalists and failed to undo Federalist tariffs. Also foreign policy blunders.
2. James Monroe - Handled the Panic of 1819 admirably, little Federal growth.  Thinking of bumping him up to the "good" category.
3. James Madison - Same as Jefferson, plus War of 1812.
4. Andrew Jackson - Overall an excellent President, however his brutal treatment of Indians gives him a major black eye. <without his treatment of Indians, he would likely have placed #1 or #2.>
4. Dwight Eisenhower - Foreign policy problems.
5. George Washington - Washington suffers mainly from being under the influence of Alexander Hamilton. The Bank of the United States is his major failure, followed by suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion. To his credit, however, he kept the Presidency in deferment to the Congress.
6. Andrew Johnson - Stood up to the Radical Republicans.
7. John Tyler - Stopped the Whig program dead after Harrisons death.
8. Franklin Pierce
9. James Buchanan

Mid range Presidents, in chronological order.

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
William Henry Harrison
James Polk
Zachary Taylor
Milliard Fillmore
Rutherford Hayes
James Garfield
Chester Arthur
Benjamin Harrison
William Taft
John Kennedy
Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan
George H.W. Bush
Bill Clinton

You are certainly confident in your knowledge of U.S. history. Are there any books/lecture series that you have found particularly insightful?

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Gipper replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 9:23 PM

I always admired Ronald Reagan, but not his presidency. If it wasn't for Papa Bush trying to kill Reagan, I think it would have been different.

 

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If it wasn't for Papa Bush trying to kill Reagan, I think it would have been different.

Haha, I keep hearing all of these things about certain politicians trying to kill others. What do you mean by that with H.W.?

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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BonBonsNH replied on Tue, Jun 29 2010 6:28 AM

Like the flag. The center symbol is actually a Usui Reiki symbol (Sei He Ki) for mental/emotional healing. Part of it comes from Sanskrit and can be found on Mt. Kurama in Japan. It is used by Reiki practitioners to assist in healing addictions, heal/improve relationships, empower affirmations & memory, change/replace habits and allows for the release of old negative emotions and energy. It strengthens the affirmations on your personal Anarcho/Capitalist flag.

 

 

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BonBonsNH replied on Tue, Jun 29 2010 6:30 AM

@beefheart

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Gipper replied on Tue, Jun 29 2010 12:36 PM

If it wasn't for Papa Bush trying to kill Reagan, I think it would have been different.

Haha, I keep hearing all of these things about certain politicians trying to kill others. What do you mean by that with H.W.?

 

John Hinckley Jr. (who attempted to assasinate Reagan) was the son of John Hinckley Sr. who was Papa Bush's top financial campaign contributer during the primary of 1980. After all of the Hinckley Jr. gets off because of "insanity". I don't know why this isnt more widespread, it was no secret that Reagan and Bush HATED each other.

 

Like V says "...like G-d, do not play with dice and I don't believe in coincidences."

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John Hinckley Jr. (who attempted to assasinate Reagan) was the son of John Hinckley Sr. who was Papa Bush's top financial campaign contributer during the primary of 1980.

That's really interesting. I'd heard that Reagan and Bush hated each other, but I had no idea about Bush-Hinckley connection. Thanks for that information! I don't know why that isn't more widespread either.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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Worst President of All;
Woodrow Wilson:

Created the FED
Created Income TAX
Created Prohibition
Created a whole generation of Mobsters
Paved the way for the wars on Drugs

Brought the USA into WWI
Intervened in the Russian Civil War
Paved the way towards WWII
Paved the way for the Vietnam War (Yes folks, he denied Ho Chi Minh independence [Establishing Constitutional Democracy])

Created the League of Nation
Paved the way for the IMF
Paved the way for the atrocious United Nations

This is only scratching the surface of the permanent damage Wilson administered. Woodrow Wilson single handily destoyed this country. We are living in the Wilsonian error!

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I wish I had your sense of history. The longer I read this forum, the more I realize that I really should have studied more history.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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