Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Happy Birthday President James Buchanan

...according to tradition and probably fact the worst president of the United States.

Discussions - 13 Comments

This is what makes NLT great. If this were Powerline, the worst president would be Clinton; if it were HuffPo then it'd be GWB. You guys have a little perspective.

Actually the worst President in memory was Jimmy Carter but who knows, perhaps if you go back into the dead ball days you might find one worse. You will have to dig however.

This goes back to the Lincoln-cult going on at Ashbrook. Personally, I think the worst President ever was either Carter or Clinton...at least Buchanan failed to rise to a truly overwhelming crisis. Carter and Clinton weren't really even challenged by comparison.

Carter was a disaster. But before you could get a Churchill, you had to go through a Chamberlain. So before the nation was prepared to turn to a Reagan, it first had to go through the valley of the shadow with a Carter.

Clinton missed opportunities. His mistakes were different in kind. He wasn't like Carter. He slashed military spending, but he didn't eviscerate America's military. He continued foolish policies at CIA, and to a certain extent, his people amplified some of the worst aspects of those policies, but he didn't create those policies, he simply allowed institutional inertia to dictate policy. He looked at the polls. Carter ignored them. For Carter, his policies were rooted in his weird messianism. Clinton was something of a time server. Carter was much worse. He was what a German General regarded as one of the worst disasters that could happen. He was an idiot, a fool, BUT ALSO an industrious, energetic fool. So he pursued his foolishness with zealous energy. Clinton was much more content to sit back and allow the groupies to attend to his little whims.

Rich Lowry did a pretty fair job relating Clinton's legacy in his book, of the same name. As has Dick Morris by the way.

In answer to Dain, the "crisis" that Buchanan was overwhelmed by was a crisis he very much helped to precipitate. He encouraged the secessionist hotheads, particularly in South Carolina. Through gross inaction Buchanan let it be known the federal military installations in the South would be allowed to slip away without a fight.

So, while Carter and Clinton are in the running for the dregs, Buchanan's nigh treasonous execution of the presidential office is hard to top.

Treason, Patrick? To allow the South to secede in peace? I'd say it was downright Constitutional. Lincoln, on the other hand, acted against the Constitution in many instances...so who was the traitor?

Carter, active nut case, is number two on my list.

Number one is Clinton. I would point out that Clinton actively suppressed our security agencies. 'The Wall' is an example. Sandy Burger is another. I suspect Clinton of treason. I suspect him of supplying the Communist Chinese with American technology in return for donations.

If you want to know the worst Presidents, then look at who the profession says is the best. It is pretty much a reverse order of that. Presidents are judged too often by what they do. It would be better to judge them by what they didn't do. So Lincoln is the worst because he invaded the South. FDR was the 2nd worse because he enacted multiple unconstitutional socialist programs. LBJ is pretty high up there as well. I don't know that much about Buchanan, but he should be commended for his restraint against the South compared to the blood-soaked Lincoln. I believe Buchanan thought secession was illegal, but felt going to war to stop it was illegal also. He was wrong about the former and right about the later.

Well, ok. Ashbrook still gets the props - it's the READERS who may lack perspective.

Especially a couple of them.

No, Danny, I think it is you (and some people at Ashbrook) who lack perspective. The only measuring rod of a President's 'quality' is how well he fulfills his Oath of Office. And what is that?

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Since no one doubts that Lincoln stepped on the Constitution here and there (any naysayers?), our criticism of him uses a real standard. Buchanan was a poor leader, but that doesn't mean he did a poor job (at least, as it regards secession).

dain, your assertion, obviously, is extremely debatable.

And, it appears, Lincoln did exactly as his oath states.

Dale, I grow weary of arguing with you. Whether Lincoln did or didn't fulfill his Oath of course hinges on whether secession was legal or not. Since we've been all through that, I see not point in doing it again.

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