Who are your top 5 worst presidents (must be 20 years removed)

81usaf92

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A YouTube craze of Ranking tiers has gotten everyone ranking presidents. As someone who loves history I’m always drawn to these debates. However as humans we tend to judge those who we lived through harder. I mean the typical conservatives will say “ Carter, Clinton, Obama, and Biden” and your typical democrat will most likely say “Reagan, W, Nixon, and Trump”. So for this debate let’s keep it at they have to be 20 years out of office. So Clinton is the furthest you can go. This kind of gives you the full effect of their reign as president

Here is how historians rank them
Presidents

I know it would be easy to say Buchanan and Henry Harrison because Buchanan couldn’t prevent the Civil War and Harrison was dumb enough to give the longest inaugural speech in cold rainy weather and died a month later. But I’m excluding them because I think the Civil War happens anyway and judging Henry on a month of sickness is a little too harsh.

so here are mine

1) Woodrow- Spanish flu denier, and allowing the lost cause to infect public education is enough for me. Plus reading about him in depth makes me think Taft and Teddy were better suited for WW1 and dealing with the European powers in an effort to prevent Versailles from being as bad as it was.

2) Nixon- I think Nixon did some very good things and probably was a guy who could have been one of the best presidents of the Cold War era but Watergate and the great abuse of power is too much to overlook. I think it is a huge stain that just can’t be ignored.

3) Hoover- easy one to argue for being horrible. But I think his decision to down play the public suffering and to push policies that were clearly not working is hard to overlook as being a horrible leader. I think the Depression was inevitable but there were clearly more sympathetic measures that could have been implemented to give the country more hope.

4) Fillmore- just a very unimpressive leader. He really exemplifies how some people are better VPs but very weak presidents

5) This is where it’s hard. Part of me wants to say Carter or grant but Carter had a tough job facing him before he got in office and it progressively got worse. Most issues were totally out of his control. Grant had nothing but scandal but at the same time was one of the best Reconstruction presidents in that period. I think this is where I would probably put anotherJohn Tyler or Gerald Ford type of never was meant to be President types. I know there are those who succeed when they are supposed to like Teddy and LBJ but far too many are like the three I mentioned who just sit until their time is up and don’t do anything. I think Ford is the easiest choice between him and Tyler because pardoning Nixon was career suicide for a guy that was seeking another term.
 

Tidewater

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As an historian, I would say they are nothing but pampered public servants and most of them are incompetent and insubordinate. The rogues gallery is:

1. Lincoln. 620,000 dead Americans is quite the butcher's bill. Closed 400 newspapers because he did not like what they were saying. Imprisoned 34,000 "political prisoners." Plus, I just learned he sold the slaves he inherited as part of his wife's dowry and pocketed the money, and before the war, he represented slaveholders trying to recover their escaped slaves in court and even, as a part of his service, brought shackles to court for his victims when he won.

2. FDR. Made a career of violating the Constitution. When the SCOTUS said, "Wait a minute, you can't do this," he threatened to pack the court, so the court folded like a cheap suit, to their shame. Imprisoned Japanese Americans because of their ethnicity. Trusted Communists as a matter of course. When the Army informed him that they had intercepts of Soviet diplomatic cables which showed that the Soviets had coopted members of his cabinet, his reaction was to direct the Army to stop spying on the Soviets.

3. Woodrow Wilson. A stunning racist. Showed the film Birth of a Nation in the White House. His idea of the presidency was that the president can do pretty much whatever he wants to do. Campaigned on keeping he US out of the war, then got the US into the war (probably the stupidest war in the history of western civilization). He was such a jerk that when he undertook a speaking tour to convince Americans to join the League of Nations, he succeeded in killing the League's chances in the US. Refused to pardon Eugene Debs so Debs could spend Christmas with his family. (Harding eventually commuted Debs' sentence).

4. LBJ. Also a racist, routinely using the N-word. Initiated the Great Society programs which have savagely hurt hundreds of millions of Americans. Gave us the Vietnam War, then incompetently micromanaged the war effort. As a bonus, forced Jackie Kennedy to stand there in her blood-spattered clothes to witness his swearing in as President.

5. Jimmy Carter. Midas touch in reverse. Everything he touched turned to crap. Gave us high unemployment, high inflation and a recession which should be economically impossible. Literally cried when he realized that Brezhnev had lied to him about his intentions in regard to invading Afghanistan. Never saw a Communist-backed peace movement he was not willing to trust.
 

81usaf92

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As an historian, I would say they are nothing but pampered public servants and most of them are incompetent and insubordinate. The rogues gallery is:

1. Lincoln. 620,000 dead Americans is quite the butcher's bill. Closed 400 newspapers because he did not like what they were saying. Imprisoned 34,000 "political prisoners." Plus, I just learned he sold the slaves he inherited as part of his wife's dowry and pocketed the money, and before the war, he represented slaveholders trying to recover their escaped slaves in court and even, as a part of his service, brought shackles to court for his victims when he won.

2. FDR. Made a career of violating the Constitution. When the SCOTUS said, "Wait a minute, you can't do this," he threatened to pack the court, so the court folded like a cheap suit, to their shame. Imprisoned Japanese Americans because of their ethnicity. Trusted Communists as a matter of course. When the Army informed him that they had intercepts of Soviet diplomatic cables which showed that the Soviets had coopted members of his cabinet, his reaction was to direct the Army to stop spying on the Soviets.

3. Woodrow Wilson. A stunning racist. Showed the film Birth of a Nation in the White House. His idea of the presidency was that the president can do pretty much whatever he wants to do. Campaigned on keeping he US out of the war, then got the US into the war (probably the stupidest war in the history of western civilization). He was such a jerk that when he undertook a speaking tour to convince Americans to join the League of Nations, he succeeded in killing the League's chances in the US. Refused to pardon Eugene Debs so Debs could spend Christmas with his family. (Harding eventually commuted Debs' sentence).

4. LBJ. Also a racist, routinely using the N-word. Initiated the Great Society programs which have savagely hurt hundreds of millions of Americans. Gave us the Vietnam War, then incompetently micromanaged the war effort. As a bonus, forced Jackie Kennedy to stand there in her blood-spattered clothes to witness his swearing in as President.

5. Jimmy Carter. Midas touch in reverse. Everything he touched turned to crap. Gave us high unemployment, high inflation and a recession which should be economically impossible. Literally cried when he realized that Brezhnev had lied to him about his intentions in regard to invading Afghanistan. Never saw a Communist-backed peace movement he was not willing to trust.
I tend to think FDR gets a lot more credit than what he actually deserves. The new deal never brought America out of the Great Depression, WWII did. Japanese internment is widely downplayed by many of his fans while the overall recovery of the New Deal is widely over exaggerated.

Lincoln I think is one of the most difficult to judge. I think a Civil War was inevitable and any president put in that situation would have to inevitably take near dictatorial powers in order to fight a war like that. But I could see the argument that he way overstepped his authority.

I think in most cases there are very gray interpretations of presidents. There are usually really good things about each presidents and really bad things. Personally I think Teddy might have been the best post Reconstruction president but some would argue that he expanded the role of government and is a huge reason why we have so much government. That and he dabbled in eugenics, gave Wilson the presidency, and was a racist like most people back then.
 
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BamaMoon

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I don't consider myself a historian so I couldn't go 5 deep.

But I'd say my top two would be LBJ and Carter. First, it's a terrible road thru north Dallas and I didn't like to hear him talk (his presidency was before I was born so it's only sound-bytes I've heard of him). Then Carter. I'm a big Reagan fan, and it's when I was coming of age, but Carter had some tough times with the economy and it just represents a time when I was alive and I remember there was a lot of concern. It doesn't help him the Reagan followed him.

Just to show I'm not a Republican homer I don't like Trump (but like Biden less) and while I didn't like Clinton while in office, I think he was a good president outside of his indiscretions. Don't ask my opinion about Hillary. 😁
 
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AWRTR

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As an historian, I would say they are nothing but pampered public servants and most of them are incompetent and insubordinate. The rogues gallery is:

1. Lincoln. 620,000 dead Americans is quite the butcher's bill. Closed 400 newspapers because he did not like what they were saying. Imprisoned 34,000 "political prisoners." Plus, I just learned he sold the slaves he inherited as part of his wife's dowry and pocketed the money, and before the war, he represented slaveholders trying to recover their escaped slaves in court and even, as a part of his service, brought shackles to court for his victims when he won.

2. FDR. Made a career of violating the Constitution. When the SCOTUS said, "Wait a minute, you can't do this," he threatened to pack the court, so the court folded like a cheap suit, to their shame. Imprisoned Japanese Americans because of their ethnicity. Trusted Communists as a matter of course. When the Army informed him that they had intercepts of Soviet diplomatic cables which showed that the Soviets had coopted members of his cabinet, his reaction was to direct the Army to stop spying on the Soviets.

3. Woodrow Wilson. A stunning racist. Showed the film Birth of a Nation in the White House. His idea of the presidency was that the president can do pretty much whatever he wants to do. Campaigned on keeping he US out of the war, then got the US into the war (probably the stupidest war in the history of western civilization). He was such a jerk that when he undertook a speaking tour to convince Americans to join the League of Nations, he succeeded in killing the League's chances in the US. Refused to pardon Eugene Debs so Debs could spend Christmas with his family. (Harding eventually commuted Debs' sentence).

4. LBJ. Also a racist, routinely using the N-word. Initiated the Great Society programs which have savagely hurt hundreds of millions of Americans. Gave us the Vietnam War, then incompetently micromanaged the war effort. As a bonus, forced Jackie Kennedy to stand there in her blood-spattered clothes to witness his swearing in as President.

5. Jimmy Carter. Midas touch in reverse. Everything he touched turned to crap. Gave us high unemployment, high inflation and a recession which should be economically impossible. Literally cried when he realized that Brezhnev had lied to him about his intentions in regard to invading Afghanistan. Never saw a Communist-backed peace movement he was not willing to trust.
This is a good list. You win the prize.
 
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Bazza

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As an historian, I would say they are nothing but pampered public servants and most of them are incompetent and insubordinate. The rogues gallery is:

1. Lincoln. 620,000 dead Americans is quite the butcher's bill. Closed 400 newspapers because he did not like what they were saying. Imprisoned 34,000 "political prisoners." Plus, I just learned he sold the slaves he inherited as part of his wife's dowry and pocketed the money, and before the war, he represented slaveholders trying to recover their escaped slaves in court and even, as a part of his service, brought shackles to court for his victims when he won.

2. FDR. Made a career of violating the Constitution. When the SCOTUS said, "Wait a minute, you can't do this," he threatened to pack the court, so the court folded like a cheap suit, to their shame. Imprisoned Japanese Americans because of their ethnicity. Trusted Communists as a matter of course. When the Army informed him that they had intercepts of Soviet diplomatic cables which showed that the Soviets had coopted members of his cabinet, his reaction was to direct the Army to stop spying on the Soviets.

3. Woodrow Wilson. A stunning racist. Showed the film Birth of a Nation in the White House. His idea of the presidency was that the president can do pretty much whatever he wants to do. Campaigned on keeping he US out of the war, then got the US into the war (probably the stupidest war in the history of western civilization). He was such a jerk that when he undertook a speaking tour to convince Americans to join the League of Nations, he succeeded in killing the League's chances in the US. Refused to pardon Eugene Debs so Debs could spend Christmas with his family. (Harding eventually commuted Debs' sentence).

4. LBJ. Also a racist, routinely using the N-word. Initiated the Great Society programs which have savagely hurt hundreds of millions of Americans. Gave us the Vietnam War, then incompetently micromanaged the war effort. As a bonus, forced Jackie Kennedy to stand there in her blood-spattered clothes to witness his swearing in as President.

5. Jimmy Carter. Midas touch in reverse. Everything he touched turned to crap. Gave us high unemployment, high inflation and a recession which should be economically impossible. Literally cried when he realized that Brezhnev had lied to him about his intentions in regard to invading Afghanistan. Never saw a Communist-backed peace movement he was not willing to trust.
Wow.......ALL Democrats......except Abe. :oops:

Didn't we also lose the Panama Canal under Carter?

The racism doesn't surprise me one bit......
 

Tideflyer

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A YouTube craze of Ranking tiers has gotten everyone ranking presidents. As someone who loves history I’m always drawn to these debates. However as humans we tend to judge those who we lived through harder. I mean the typical conservatives will say “ Carter, Clinton, Obama, and Biden” and your typical democrat will most likely say “Reagan, W, Nixon, and Trump”. So for this debate let’s keep it at they have to be 20 years out of office. So Clinton is the furthest you can go. This kind of gives you the full effect of their reign as president

Here is how historians rank them
Presidents

I know it would be easy to say Buchanan and Henry Harrison because Buchanan couldn’t prevent the Civil War and Harrison was dumb enough to give the longest inaugural speech in cold rainy weather and died a month later. But I’m excluding them because I think the Civil War happens anyway and judging Henry on a month of sickness is a little too harsh.

so here are mine

1) Woodrow- Spanish flu denier, and allowing the lost cause to infect public education is enough for me. Plus reading about him in depth makes me think Taft and Teddy were better suited for WW1 and dealing with the European powers in an effort to prevent Versailles from being as bad as it was.

2) Nixon- I think Nixon did some very good things and probably was a guy who could have been one of the best presidents of the Cold War era but Watergate and the great abuse of power is too much to overlook. I think it is a huge stain that just can’t be ignored.

3) Hoover- easy one to argue for being horrible. But I think his decision to down play the public suffering and to push policies that were clearly not working is hard to overlook as being a horrible leader. I think the Depression was inevitable but there were clearly more sympathetic measures that could have been implemented to give the country more hope.

4) Fillmore- just a very unimpressive leader. He really exemplifies how some people are better VPs but very weak presidents

5) This is where it’s hard. Part of me wants to say Carter or grant but Carter had a tough job facing him before he got in office and it progressively got worse. Most issues were totally out of his control. Grant had nothing but scandal but at the same time was one of the best Reconstruction presidents in that period. I think this is where I would probably put anotherJohn Tyler or Gerald Ford type of never was meant to be President types. I know there are those who succeed when they are supposed to like Teddy and LBJ but far too many are like the three I mentioned who just sit until their time is up and don’t do anything. I think Ford is the easiest choice between him and Tyler because pardoning Nixon was career suicide for a guy that was seeking another term.
The thing about Watergate was how stunningly unnecessary it was. Nixon`s paranoia was of clinical proportions.
 

Jon

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The thing about Watergate was how stunningly unnecessary it was. Nixon`s paranoia was of clinical proportions.
funny that if not for that paranoia Agnew would have been considered one of the biggest scumbags ever in the executive branch. He has been able to slide off into history because most people assume he was caught up in Watergate versus being busted on his own scams
 
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92tide

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see the middle class destruction, the destruction of manufacturing (NAFTA was his idea), takeover by crazy Christians of the right, the erosion of rights of women, and so much more ALL spring from Reagan. He was a terrible person and a worse President
it’s a straight line from nixon thru reagan to where we are now
 
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mdb-tpet

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Pierce--way too self absorbed and essentially watched the civil war start without lifting a finger.

Hayes--paved the way for the reconstruction to be reversed all so he could be president, reminds me of a more recent politician

Harrison--how can you leave a guy off the list that talked himself to death one month into his Presidency

Hoover--either unable or unwilling to take the bold and creative actions necessary to manage the great depression effectively. Had some good ideas, and eventually became a well thought of man, but not during his presidency

Nixon--smart man hell bent on remaking the leader/Presidency into a king again. So much of our putrid politics can be traced back to his presidency. He should have been tried and THEN pardoned for his crimes, not the other way around. He did create the EPA though, which has kept us from living in a nation wide Love Canal.
 
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