Republicans often claim that President Obama is the worst president in history but how does he really compare to the worst of the worst?
The rhetoric constantly streaming from Fox News and other members of the extreme right would lead you to believe that Barack Obama is, in fact, the worst President in American history. I can hardly turn on the TV or read the paper without seeing some republican making this claim. They usually attempt to back-up this ridiculous assertion with anecdotal evidence relating to financial policies, human rights violations, constitutional infractions or civil rights abuses. With a few easily found examples I will show you why this claim is not only outrageous but also why it does nothing more than showcase the complete lack of historical knowledge of the person making the claim. And I will do it all without mentioning the name, George W. Bush. You’re welcome, conservatives.
Republican politicians, like Paul Ryan, love to claim that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as they like to call it, is the most fiscally irresponsible policy in American history. This clearly means that they have forgotten about Herbert Hoover and the rise in tariffs. Tariffs were used for many years as a way to pay for government spending. The republican thinking for nearly a century was: If you need money to keep the proverbial lights on, just raise tariffs and all will be well. But when the Great Depression hit in 1929 and Hoover decided that the best way to compensate was to once again raise tariffs, the inevitable failure of such an irresponsible policy came to pass. Nearly every economist in the country and several key businessmen attempted to persuade the President not to sign the act. Henry Ford spent an evening with Hoover where he told the president that the act was “an economic stupidity” and asked him not to sign it. J.P. Morgan even threatened to beg Hoover to veto the bill. But the president could not be dissuaded from his chosen course. He signed the Hawley-Smoot Act and thus created an economic instability that would worsen the depression and prolong the suffering of already struggling Americans.
Ok, so maybe fiscal policy isn’t enough to stop republicans from making hyperbolic remarks about our current President but maybe clear violations of human rights will be. You may not agree with the President’s domestic policies but at least he doesn’t own people. That’s right, twelve of the men who have held the highest office in the USA owned slaves. Eight of them owned slaves while they were serving as President. This is more than just a shameful time in American history; it should be all the proof one needs to understand why President Obama can’t even break the top twelve of the worst presidents in history. These men bought and sold people, mostly unapologetically, and several are accused of the raping young slave girls. These are men that we count among the fathers of our nation and hold in the highest regard but many of them may have been nothing more than human-rights-denying rapists. I would love to hear the argument that says giving healthcare to American citizens is as bad as raping slaves.
While conservatives take their time to decide if they want to make that argument I will move on to a lighter topic, genocide. If one is in search of the face of evil, one must look no further than the twenty dollar bill. Andrew Jackson, who raised his fortune as slave trader, should be remembered for nothing more than being the racist engineer of Native American genocide. He was a believer in Manifest Destiny and the idea that white people needed to move across the western half of the United States in order to expand cotton farming and slavery. But to do so he first needed to engage in what was then referred to as “Indian Removal.” Jackson’s Presidency was responsible for the removal of at least 45,000 Native Americans (some estimates are closer to 90,000) from their land; 4,000 of whom died on the Trail of Tears but many more would die due to the policies implemented by his administration. But he wasn’t just a horrible President; he was also a horrible person long before he reached the oval office. During the Seminole Wars, it’s been said that Jackson ordered troops to fire into crowds of unarmed women and children, even if they were waving white flags.
Now I don’t know about you, but I just don’t see how the domestic policies of our current President could be equated to the horrors that took place under Andrew Jackson. I should say that the point of me writing this was not to point out how crazy or misguided republicans are, even though on many accounts I do believe that. My point is merely to show that America has become so partisan that we have stopped looking at the actual actions of an administration and only look to see if there is an (R) or a (D) by the person’s name. These biased statements that have no real substance do nothing but drive us further apart as a country. We are the United States of America for a reason, but I only hear people refer to America or the States. Have we forgotten that we are United as one nation? In other words, we are all in this together and until we become united we will continue to act like children fighting over our favorite toy.
But just in case you are still not convinced, I will leave you with some quotes from a few of our worst Presidents.
“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men…”
“Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready.”
Woodrow Wilson (speaking about immigrant Americans. Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans…etc.)
“A lady who has been seen as a sloven or slut in the morning will never efface the impression she has made, with all dress and pageantry she can afterwards involve herself in…”
“The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”
“I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.”
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