14 August 2010

Worst Americans?

I'm not sure how Carter and Obama end up on that list. Fine, you don't like the guys. I get it. What did they DO that actually harmed Americans so severely? Carter for instance passed a lot of the deregulation agenda that Reagan somehow gets all the credit for. And I realize you don't like that health care bill and think Obama is a secret Muslim, but he is basically doing his best Bush the third impression overseas at your bidding. If Bush isn't on the list (also passed a ridiculous health care bill, AND an education bill, AND TARP), then Obama can't be on it. Put one on there and not the other smacks of ridiculous partisanship to a cultish point. Get over it and grow up. It's not like I'd put Carter anywhere outside the bottom quartile of Presidents and Obama isn't impressing me that much either... but really? Worst Americans ever? Wow. Reality. check. please.

Put another way: Why are not any of the following Presidents on this list instead?
Woodrow Wilson. Contemptible racist even for the times, responsible for both WW1 and WW2 as far as the American side of things, wrecked the economy during his administration, one of the worst civil liberties records in American history, with the possible exception of John Adams and that only given the timing coming so quickly after the founding of the country, also Prohibition/Volstead Act passes under his administration, same with the income tax amendment. And American's "Wilsonian" and pointless international interventionism hasn't ceased yet, decades later. (update: Wilson is on there at least. I think perhaps too high, but certainly he merits top 10 consideration, if one is a far right winger, probably top 5).
Andrew Jackson. Trail of Tears, smashed the central bank, effectively continuing another 25 years of an empire of slavery rather than industry, presided over a terrible economy, began the "Jacksonian" tradition of populist politics rather than high-minded idealism (if not high-minded debates).
James Buchanan. Essentially kicked off the Civil War, yes thanks much asshole. Ought to be getting serious consideration for #1 on any sensible "Worst President" list at least.

Nixon's the only one that made the list in other words out of what I'd say are our worst or at least most damaging and damning administrations. Those 4 plus Bush the lesser and probably both Johnsons should get some consideration too. Hayes I think could be partly excused given that the grand bargain that put him in office was conducted by Congress.. which had most of the power over ending Reconstruction anyway. Hayes could have tried to fight some, but without Congress to appropriate funding to continue to occupy the South, I don't think that was going anywhere.

I mostly see a lot of annoying people on that list and not actually harmful ones until you get to a few terrorists or assassins (McVeigh, Booth, but no Oswald or Sirhan or Burr, nor Czolgosz or Guiteau for that matter), and a couple spies/traitors (Ames, Arnold, Hiss, Rosenbergs, but they're all way down on the list for some reason). Leaving off any racists or Confederates does not speak well here. Seriously, Robert Byrd just died and you guys couldn't summon up one more "he was in the KKK!" rallying cry to get him in there ahead of Harry Reid? No Forrest? No Jeff Davis? No Roger Taney? No Preston Brooks? What kind of history classes do they teach over there on the right wing?

I'd also consider parking McCarthy or Cheney/Bush on here somewhere. But I'm sort of partial to those civil liberties. I'd guess right-wingers aren't.

Look, I realize that you people don't care for anti-war protesters, or for "liberals" so that means that somehow Jane Fonda or Soros/Mike Moore are somehow the spawn of satan to you guys (also since you can remember them). But if you wanted an actual socialist and anti-war protesters, you could have gone with Hellen Keller or Eugene Debs instead of Obama or Carter or even to some extent FDR (and seriously, at least give FDR some sand for WW2?, no?) Can't pick on a deaf-blind woman overcoming that adversity for forming opinions that you consider terrible and reprehensible? Anti-war protesters may be annoying if you want wars, but they at least don't get people (Americans at least) killed the way spies or traitors or even, for domestic purposes, serial killers do. Seriously, no Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Dahmer, or Gacy, (or Al Capone)?. At least consider whether or not somebody actually killed people to gain their infamy? No? Not important?

If killing people doesn't get you on the list, then Nixon would seem to indicate that corruption is a big deal. So no Albert Fall then? Or the Tamney Hall folks? No Daley machine? William Jefferson with the freezer full of money (along with further ethics violations involving bribes)? Ted Stevens? Rostenkowski? How about William Clark, the Montana mining magnate who bought his Senate seat for millions of dollars in the 1890s (and had the state capital moved at his request)? Guess corruption's not that big a deal except when the President does it (and gets caught). Because Madoff and Ken Lay don't make the list either. Avoiding fraud is kind of a big deal for markets to work correctly. I suppose free markets aren't really all that important either though.

I'm really not sure how Margaret Sanger ends up on that list. Birth control and feminism is that bad? Seems pretty much normal from my end to presume that women have more functions and are more entertaining if they're not consumed with child rearing. She does have some rather weird eugenics opinions and xenophobic opinions in there, but considering the xenophobia angle is popular on the right... again, not sure what they're worried about. Oh, and she was opposed to abortion, unlike your supposed hero Susan Anthony (for health reasons at the time, but still). Get over that one says I.

I suppose my problem is twofold
1) I'm expecting these people to actually know history instead of just spit out names. That's hardly a problem limited to right-wingers in America. But considering the guy that's supposed to know history on that front (Gingrich) apparently doesn't read it (given his terrible and utterly futile attempts to accurately explain the significance of Cordoba in Islamic and Western history, he did not even come close on the sequence of events, much less their importance and reactions at the time).... and the Texas school board voting out Jefferson and parking Aquinas in the "Enlightenment".... I'm thinking you guys deserve to have your asses handed to you on this point of ignorance.
2) I'm expecting these people to have some consistent principles and look for truly reprehensible behavior that should not be emulated (violence, treason, assassination, racism/bigotry, etc). I should know better than to expect consistency from hypocrites.
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