February 18, 2008, - 4:19 pm

On Presidents Day, Best & Worst of Contemporary Presidents

By Debbie Schlussel
Since it’s Presidents Day, it’s time to take stock of our recent Presidents. By recent, I mean the last 100 years (before that, I like Lincoln and Washington). Who are your favorites and most disliked and why?
In my view, the best contemporary Presidents are Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. The worst are Jimmy Carter, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush. Briefly, here’s why:


* Teddy Roosevelt: He captured America’s imagination and was, perhaps, the original conservative. He gave so many speeches and wrote so many insightful comments both during his Presidency and after that were brave and courageous. His best: “The Man in the Arena” speech. Roosevelt recognized the immigration and lack-of-assimilation problems before their time. He took control of the Panama Canal (which Jimmy Carter gave up). He was a real man, who was a cowboy conservationist, not an extremist environmentalist, which we have too much of today.
From my Presidents Day post last year, check out great quotes from Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech and his other quotes which answer liberal, elitist Hollywood, and those who want illegal aliens to do the work that they themselves refuse to do.
* Ronald Reagan: Faced with double-digit inflation and a kick-me sign on America’s back from the Jimmy Carter days, President Reagan restored pride in America, domestically, and respect from the world internationally. With key diplomats like UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick and her deputy Alan M. Keyes, we told the America-hating world where to go.
With tax cuts, lowered tax rates, and the like, he brought supply-side economics to the forefront and a booming economy to economically depressed America. Reagan fought Communism abroad–ending the Communist empire of the Soviet Union by building up our nuclear arms arsenal and verbally siding with the human rights prisoners of Soviet hegemony–and in our hemisphere by funding the Nicaraguan freedom fighters against Sandinista Communists, defeating Daniel Ortega (until Bush allowed him back in 2007). And he also liberated Grenada.
Reagan brought important ideas–like missile defense–which were vilified then and are sound, accepted policy now, to the forefront. He was also one of the most pro-Israel presidents in American history, refusing to deal with the P.L.O. and saying no to a terrorist state for this artificially created nationality of Muslim Arabs.
Though he was tough around the world Reagan wasn’t, however, as tough on terrorism as he is given credit for. He pulled America out of Lebanon after Hezbollah murdered over 300 U.S. Marines and civilians in 1983 and trampled to death Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem on hijacked TWA Flight 847. This cut-and-run, instead of bombing the terrorists and sending them to Allah, is cited by Bin Laden as an example of his view that America is cowardly.
And then there’s the reason the Marines were there in the first place: Instead of helping Israel protect itself against Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon and usher in a friendly, peaceful Maronite Christian government there, the Marines were brought in to protect the Palestinians from Israel, a big misstep. Reagan–and later Bush, Clinton, and Bush–never let Israel assassinate Arafat, even though he was in their sites and within sniper range.
And Reagan didn’t do much to respond to the hijacking of the Achille Lauro and the murder of passenger Leon Klinghoffer, an American Jew in a wheelchair. He did, however, respond to Libya’s murders of Marines in German discos and its cooperation in the PFLP bombing of the flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.
On balance, both symbolically and in words and deeds, Reagan was one of our best, he restored our own faith in our great nation for a few years.
* Jimmy Carter: My July 2001 column, “Shut Up, Jimmy Carter,” sums it up. He pandered to Islamists and helped usher out the America-friendly Shah of Iran in favor of the extremist Ayatollahs’ rule that has dominated this state ever since. American hostages–they were in captivity for 444 days because Carter did nothing, except a failed helicopter rescue attempt. We should have pounced on this country and bombed the heck out of it.
Double digit inflation, “malaise” days, and hundreds of thousands of autoworkers losing their jobs to foreign dumping of autos? Carter told us to bike to work and deal with the fact that we wouldn’t have it as good as our parents. Wonder why he was a one-termer? No-one does. Most of us remember.
With the U.N. and countries around the world in strife, Carter pressured Israel to give up the oil-rich Sinai to those who never really made a real peace. To date, Israel cannot even be in the International Book Fair in Egypt. This is peace? The land for piece of paper formula began under Jimmuh and we’ve keep falling down the slippery slope.
But White House tennis courts? That was something Carter paid close attention to. That, and UFOs, plus a rabbit who attacked him while he was fishing (and under the nose of the U.S. Secret Service).
* Bill Clinton: Lied under oath. Brought oral sex to the Oval Office, not to mention sleaze extraordinaire. He and the world’s ugliest Secretary of State conferred respect to world’s bloodiest terrorist who murdered countless Americans and Jews (Arafat), and forced Israel into the Oslo agreement that spawned years of homicide bombings and terrorist attacks. How many innocent lives did this agreement snuff out? Far too many to count. Attorney General Janet Reno led jack-booted thuggish raids on Elian Gonzalez’s family, the Branch Davidian David Koresh clan, and on Ruby Ridge. So much for liberal tolerance of other beliefs . . . other than Islam, that is. Ignored the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and did nothing to shore up America’s national security and immigration enforcement after the fact. With co-President wife, spent their time trying to cover up Monicagate, Whitewatergate, Travelgate, and so many other scams and rip-offs they perpetrated. Through secret meetings of co-Prez Hillary, tried to push socialized medicine on America. Still trying to find out what the job/purpose of former bouncer/limo driver Craig Livingstone was. “First Black President” brought sleaze to a new low in the White House and played the race card to try to get away with it.
Conducted military bombings and incursions not based on what was best for America, but, instead, upon when Monica was testifying and/or which Muslim group was whining that they needed to murder Christians in Europe so they could establish a new Islamist beachhead there. Kosovo, anyone? Bosnia? Bill Clinton started the ball rolling on these nations for Muslims who hate us.
* George W. Bush: Single-handedly brought down the country’s conservative movement and his own party by trying to be more liberal than liberals. Spent like a drunken sailor on bills he supported with Ted Kennedy. Education bill led to America’s decline in math, science, and reading on his watch. Most memorable (and false) slogan of eight years is “Islam is peace.” He was faced with America’s biggest catastrophe in contemporary times and responded by pandering to the Muslim cult that fomented it. Refused to restrict immigration by the religion of the 19 hijackers and instead invited their supporters to the White House for Ramadan dinners. Instead of responding, he listened to Islamist Grover Norquist and hired those with ties to Al-Qaeda to work for him as Muslim advisors, some with access to important national security info.
Had several years to institute a “Manhattan Project” to remove us from the oil-teat of Saudis and other OPEC nations. Instead, hung out with Saudi pan-terrorist buddies Prince Bandar and King Abdullah, all even though Mrs. Prince Bandar paid the rent of some 9/11 hijackers. He even agreed to Abdullah’s demands to remove women from the tarmac and air traffic control tower at the Waco airport on his arrival to visit the Bush ranch. Disgraceful AND disgusting.
Proof that getting into Yale and Harvard is more about who your daddy is than the capacity of your brain, he single-handedly brought down America’s national security by eliminating U.S. Customs and creating the Department of Homeland Security, including ICE and other inept agencies. Instead of responding to terrorists by beefing up the investigation of their fundind, he not only eliminated Customs, but its success Operation Greenquest. Appointed a left-wing lawyer to run Homeland Security and a woman as qualified to run ICE as Flava Flav.
Constantly pushed amnesty for illegal aliens and refused to build a mandated wall on our Southern border. Reduced background checks of prospective citizens to less than six minutes on average and no terror background checks for 47,000 plus of them. Yes, that’s how you respond to a terrorist attack on your country. You make it easier for them to do it again. At least Bill Clinton only did nothing. Bush helped our enemies.
Affirmative action hires of liberals Colin Powell and the incompetent Condoleeza Rice brought us further down in international eyes, as we continued to pander to Islamist nations and the Islamic religion. pressuring Israel to amputate itself and give up Gaza and parts of the so-called West Bank have led to endless bombings on poor, working class Israelis from Arab countries, living in Sderot and elsewhere.
His pipe-dream of “democracy” and “free elections” for Islamic terrorists achieved the predictable and obvious: terrorists came to power. Yes, Bush is the founding father of HAMAS-astan, Hezbollah-stan, and Muslim Brotherabia (in Egypt). Bush also helped the Shi’ite revival and spread Iran’s influence and power by handing Iraq over to their ilk in these silly “free elections.” Oh, and now, he’s the father of Kosovo-stan. And speaking of Iran, you know those nukes Iran is developing? When they get them, we can blame Bush for sitting by throughout his Presidency and doing nothing to take them out.
Feted Syria’s Assad by sending Condi Clueless and Jihad Darrell a/k/a Rep. Darrell Issa to kiss his butt. Legitimized the Ayatollah State by inviting Iran to “peace” conferences over Israel and Iraq and allowed Ahmadinejad on U.S. soil. Nearly gave away control of our ports to Islamists who helped the 9/11 hijackers murder 3,000 Americans. Letting countless potential terrorists into the country, without limit. Made a deal with the Saudi King to bring thousands more here on student visas.
Domestically, gave away millions in wasteful spending. The Carter “malaise” days aren’t just coming back. They’re already here. And in the next administration we will hurt greatly from the Bush “malaise” days.
Bush failed on so many levels. And he still doesn’t know: It’s noo-clee-uhr. Not Nook-yuh-ler. Sadly, that’s all he doesn’t know.

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19 Responses

I agree with your selections; maybe you could add a category of near-best & near-worst. Near-best might include presidents such as Polk and Coolidge, and near-worst would include Wilson, and George Bush 41, (if I limit this category to 2; there are other lousy ones in the 20th century). Sadly, each of the current leading 2008 contenders would be well qualified to be added to the list of the worst.

c f on February 18, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Please add NAFTA to Clinton.
Negative and positive highlights exist for each, though I would like to add that the president whose words least matched their deeds is Bush ’43.

zyzzyg on February 18, 2008 at 4:38 pm

I agree with you but how about adding to the worst – Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson and Country Club George H.W. Bush as well? Come to think of it – JFK and Jerry Ford were both pretty mediocre.
Even if Vietnam never happened, LBJ did tremendous damage to poor people by getting them fixed on welfare, entitlements, etc. Black illegitimacy rose enormously because of LBJ’s Great Society garbage. Nixon was as functionally liberal as well – he was the one who gave us Affirmative Action. Jerry Ford was a nebbish who was in over his head and gave us Jimmy Carter.

Ripper on February 18, 2008 at 4:54 pm

I think Wilson’s idealism after WWI was disastrous, the League of Nations to end all wars, partly responsible for our military standown during the 20s and 30s; long-term it also paved the way for the United Nations. A lot of the divisions & demarcations of Europe and former colonies were disastrous, although of course I support the Balfour declaration. Also, the Wilson presidency was the heydey of Progressivism; government telling us how to live, setting up government agencies to regulate our lives. I think of that sometimes with the nanny-Government we have today.

c f on February 18, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Regarding Ronald Reagan, part of the problem was his odious Defense Secretary Casper the unfriendly ghost Weinberger – an Arabist and Israel hater in the extreme. Weinberger also shafted Jonathan Pollard who wound up with a life sentence when actual Soviet spies got less. Reagan also gave us the goof ball George H.W. Bush whose major contribution was the use of the term “voodoo economics” that liberals adopted. Reagan also gave us Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, otherwise he actually was a very good President although not the God that many conservatives make him out to be. His greatest achievement was winning the Cold War, his second greatest achievement was getting rid of Jimmy Carter.

Ripper on February 18, 2008 at 5:05 pm

You can add to your list of how the President has punished the people who protect us with long prison sentences. This administration can’t convict our Marines fast enough. We have several border guards being held as political prisoners.
You can also add a brief that was recently filed with the courts by the Whitehouse wanting to dismantle the second amendment.

newinnewark on February 18, 2008 at 5:06 pm

I’m at page 272 of the Reagan Diaries and am impressed with the guts and wit of this man. But it is terribly frustrating to read his thoughts on reining in the Israelis every time they are retaliating for a rocket attack. He is also too influenced by polls by the look of it. But he was a visionary for defense and was tough when the Chinese and N.Koreans came to him talking tough. They must have s–t themselves dealing with him after Carter the spine free president. He did more good than bad in the end except for the mid east. He could’ve left the Israelis to beat the snot out of those stinking #@&*s.

samurai on February 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Add to best list: Calvin Coolidge
Add to worst list: Franklin D. Roosevelt

lexi on February 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Bill Clinton bombed Yugoslavia which was the final act in the 1990’s that drove Russia into strategic alignment with China against the West. This has already led to an economic catastrophe for the West which is losing access to sources of oil and minerals.
American foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson supported Yugoslavia to block German ambitions. Clinton reversed that policy which allowed Germany to expand into the Balkans and to rearm under the cover of the EU which is dominated by Germany. Bill Clinton has laid the groundwork for the rise of Germany with all its fascist inclinations (note its very strong support for the fascist Croatians and other fascist elements in the Balkans).

arius on February 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm

oh debbie did you forget about jimmy carter giving up the panama canal, justa thought.we cant forget warren g. harding he has a memorial in marion ohio and they dont have any money to fix it

PNAMARBLE on February 18, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Worst: You forgot Kennedy. He feigned hawkishness to get elected, in fact, pretended to have a plan to overthrow Castro. Nixon and Eisenhower had the plan and briefed Kennedy on it prior to one of the debates. Then the sleaze ball JFK uses it in the debate to appear tough on commies. But when crunch time comes for the Bay of Pigs invasion, JFK micromanages and scales back the operation significantly. The operation was a disaster. Well, that emboldened the commies and they start bringing missiles to Cuba. A year later, JFK gets credit for facing down Kruschev, but it was his own damn fault those missiles were ever in Cuba. He was awful, but still Carter is the worst ever.

heavyglow on February 18, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Debbie, I could not agree more with the fact(s) you listed concerning the Customs Service. What in the “blue hell” were Bush, Snow, Ashcroft and company thinking when they brought about the merger. I can see it now. “Hey, lets take one of our most successful federal agencies (Customs)and merge with it, our most dismally, inept, broken agency, (INS) and produce mediocrity. Whadduya think guys?” ICE is a joke! That agency continually creates spin that it is an environment of counter terrorism investigations and National Security matters. Bulls%$#. It is 90% alien processing and 10% Customs cases that are continuously falling apart and/or being usurped by other agencies; Greenquest, Predator, etc. Debbie, I am dissapointed that you forgot to mention Peppermint Pattie. I’m sure you can make up for that lol.
Thank God I’m gone from ICE.

freefromice on February 18, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Apart from being the founding father of Hamastan and Hesbollah-stan, Bush is also the founding father of Kosovo-stan. Clinton initiated it but it just happennd under Bush’s watch. This is the beginning of the end of Europe as we know it. Unless Russia and Serbia mobilize their military and invade Kosovo, Bush and the Western Europeans will destroy themselves.
Imagine that in 1940 the Serbs were majority in Kosovo. Nazis and Albanian collaborators made sure did a good job in reducing them to a minority and Tito prevented those who escaped during German occupation from returning. And Viola….Albanians are a majority now.
So, if Mexicans become majority in California and demand independence, America will allow that?
I feel like an idiot for organizing demonstration against the anti-war crowd when Bush was about to invade Iraq. I supported an imbecile.
Shame on me.

rj pad on February 18, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Sorry, I forgot to add this. This foolish President will not allow the Kurds to proclaim an independant Kurdistan when infact of all people seeking independance today, the Kurds actually deserve the most. They suffered badly in the hands of the Turks,Syrian Arabarians, Iraqi Arabarians and Iranians. But he was quick like a wiesel to recognize Kosovo. Heck, the Albanians already have Albania. I applaud you for puting him as one of the failed presidents.

rj pad on February 18, 2008 at 10:48 pm

A melancholic view of outsider and ovservator of life:
Nixon is actually one of the mostly interesting Pres-s, if not the mostly interesting. 3D tragic character (I am well informed about his alcoholism, but it does not spoil his enigma), with the most remarcable and unusual smile – like a sun sparkling through dark and gloomy clouds.
But speaking really from heart – with the exception of several foolish idealists, all USA Pres-s are worthy of one the other. They all built the empire you are living in. Plus they all (except few idealists) are kunning mediocrities, whose only goal is – to get the first and largest piece of a pie of power. It’s a big difference between to be a Pres of USA and to be, for example, M. Twain or C. Dickens.
Some of you speak of Kurds, Albanians, Kruschev, Castro…
It’s a time to forget a little about the bigger world around and think finally of yourselves.
What this system is currently giving to you? – That is a Question!

MarcAurelio on February 19, 2008 at 3:49 am

“lexi” is right; you can’t neglect Coolidge from the best list. My two favorite quotes (the best I can remember, so not accurate) of his are:
1. “My greatest accomplishment as President was minding my own business.”
2. A young woman told him she made a bet she could get three words of conversation out of Coolidge before the end of a dinner party. He leaned over to her and said, “You lose.”
Gotta admire the guy. He also served only water to White House guests! Love it!
I’d be worse – White House dinners only consisting of PB&J and one glass of 2% – and you’d have to make your own sandwich.

bhparkman on February 19, 2008 at 9:13 am

Regardless of the President, they all have their own brand of elistist bullshit. They all live in their ivory tower and never see those suffering right outside their window. We as a country, as voting citizens need to stop the insanity and hire, yes hire, a leader who can honestly and legitimately effect change. We have the power, if we’d only take it. THESE PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO WORK FOR US, RIGHT? Oh wait, I forgot. You must have zero integrity and kiss ass for a living, in order to get anywhere in this country. Education means nothing. Hard work means nothing. Honesty and devotion of family means nothing. These are dark times for Americans and in my opinion, darker tims to come. What a sad world we have created for our children!

musiccgirl on February 19, 2008 at 9:30 am

It may be too soon to count GWB among the very worst presidents the USA has had. However, I have no doubt that JC Himself was the worst of the last century. I am ashamed of being a campaign volunteer for him in 1976 when I was 17.

chsw on February 19, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Great post for President’s Day. History will prove that Reagan was one of the greatest. George W. Bush will surpass Carter as the worst President in my lifetime unless Obama is elected before I die!

ParaLyzer on February 20, 2008 at 12:27 am

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