Happy Presidents’ Day – don’t lose perspective.
“This is the worst president in history.” Okay drama queen. Brookings has a poll of political scientists that rank all the presidents like so:
Actually, given this list, W was the worst president in modern U.S. history (though I imagine the Political Science Association has a slightly liberal bent). Whenever people say that we currently have the worst president ever, I encourage them to look to the bottom of these lists. A guy named Buchanan is consistently there, because, well, he was president right before the guy at the top of the list. His response to southern states’ secession was that the northern states should
repeal their unconstitutional and obnoxious enactments [on slavery] … the injured States, after having first used all peaceful and constitutional means to obtain redress, would be justified in revolutionary resistance to the Government of the Union.
In fact, one of the main reasons the 20th amendment was passed (moving Inauguration Day from March up to January 20) was so that incoming presidents like Lincoln wouldn’t have to waste precious time waiting for lame ducks like Buchanan to move their ass out of office. Naturally, failing to prevent the onset and intensity of the Civil War, as well as polarizing the two sides even more, pushes you pretty far down the list. In any case, I doubt you’d find a president who’d give less of a shit if half their country were to separate. And let’s not forget William Henry Harrison, #39 here, who died a month into his presidency after catching pneumonia.
I’ll end with a piece from the Simpsons that parodies the ’90s:
Homer: At least we know there’ll never be a president worse than Bill Clinton. Imagine, lying in a deposition in a civil lawsuit. That’s the worst sin a president can commit!
Marge: There will never be a worse president. Never.