Worst Presidents of the Modern Era?
I nominate the following as the worst Presidents of the modern era, because they all involved the U.S. in wars in which we did not belong.
Woodrow Wilson -- we had no legitimate reason to get involved in the European conflict that became the First World War.
Harry Truman -- for involving us in the Korea merely because the UN asked us to, and without obtaining a declaration of war.
Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson -- for starting, and then continuing, the Vietnam War, without any clear objective or plan for victory.
George Bush -- for failing to take effective measures to pursue Osama bin Laden, for starting the Iraq War without any clear objective or plan for victory, and for being so incompetent that he destroyed the Republican Party as a viable alternative philosophy of government.
What are your thoughts?
Regarding Wilson and World I:
If Germany had won, I do not think it would have occupied the continent. The Kaiser was not Hitler. He might have taken another province of France and demanded reparations, but that would have been about it. Assuming the Zimmermann Cable was genuine, it was an attempt by Germany to persuade Mexico to invade the US. I think we could have handled that without having to invade Germany.
As for Truman:
Even if the UN was an appendage of the United States, it seems clear to me that Truman, by failing to obtain a declaration of war, usurped power, and made war in a manner not permitted by the Constitution.
Thanks to all for the great answers so far.
Thanks for the answer on Jimmy Carter.
- Anonymous1 decade agoBest Answer
Jimmy Carter is not only America's worst president, but also the worst ex-president. this clown just won't stop.
1. he wrecked the world's greatest economy and made a nuclear Iran/ North Korea possible.
2. after telling the Soviet Union America's ability to influence world events was "very limited," they believed him and invaded Afghanistan... and Al-Qaeda was born.
3. in the name of human rights, he gave rise to one of the worst human rights violators in history, the Ayatollah Khomeini. today, Khomeini's successor is preparing for nuclear war with Israel and the West.
4. he kissed Fidel Castro when he trekked to give aid and comfort to that communist thug. no doubt they reminisced about the days when Carter initiated diplomatic relations with Castro's Cuba, looking the other way as thousands of Cuban troops tried to impose Marxist rule in Africa.
5. he cut off aid to El Salvador, which was fighting a communist insurgency, but welcomed the Sandinista takeover of Nicaragua and gave Daniel Ortega's dictatorship more than $90 million in aid.
6. during the Iran Hostage Crisis, his reply was to sit for more than five months before launching a rescue mission that was symbolic of his presidency: the rescue helicopter crashed and burned.
7. the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act raised far less in revenue (a mere $80 billion rather than the estimated $320 billion) than hoped and had a devastating effect on oil supply and did nothing to diminish OPEC's stranglehold on the U.S. as a result, oil prices skyrocketed to unprecedented levels and people had to wait in line for hours to buy gasoline.
8. he kept American athletes home from the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow.
9. he gave the Panama Canal away. it's owned by the Chinese now.
10. he began a limited trade embargo against the Soviets, killing the wheat deal which was intended to increase trade with the USSR and ease Cold War tensions. American farmers who relied on the deal were hurt more than the Soviets whom he imagined he was punishing.
11. the Camp David Peace Accords was a joke. even today, Israel and Egypt are the two largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid (between $3-5 billion a year since 1978). despite that, only one of the two nations is our ally. two years after Camp David, Sadat was murdered by Muslim extremists angry at the deal. in Egypt, there are no plaques of remembrance, no great monuments to Sadat, only anger and bitterness. Israel did return the oil-rich Sinai to Egypt in return for peace.
12. in 2004, he was an official observer to a rigged recall referendum. he swiftly declared it free and fair. Venezuelans cried fraud and chased Carter around Caracas, beating pots and pans. despite this, outside Venezuela, Carter's report was taken by the media as credible, and Huge Chavez's regime used it to bolster its legitimacy.
13. recently, he opens his yap about Israeli nukes, and now Iran has more reason to want nukes too.
14. lastly, he broke an unwritten code by becoming the first ex-president to criticize a current one.Source(s): Fair & Balanced
- horamLv 43 years ago
Worst at suitable to least undesirable at backside for the duration of the previous one hundred years. George W. Bush tie Reagan Harding Coolidge George H.W. Bush Hoover Eisenhower Wilson Nixon Kennedy Obama Ford Carter Lyndon B. Johnson Truman FDR Clinton
- Mark TLv 71 decade ago
This may not be an answer but I felt compelled to ask a question or two regarding your choices.
Had Woodrow Wilson NOT involved us in Eurpoean Affairs, It's very likely that Foche, and others would have failed and much of Western Europe would have been in Prussian/German Imperial hands, and there was that whole Prussian/German idea of Mexico invading the US - that wasn't BS after all.
And if you want to fault Mr. Wilson for something, I'd go with the formation of the IRS and the use of the public trust and Federal Reserve system.
I also think that the Versailles Treaty could have been crafted to be MUCH better than it was.
Harry Truman and the UN, it's important to note that both China and the USSR were "boycotting" the UN at the time, so the UN functioned almost as an appendage of our government. So it would be MUCH more proper to say we had/have commercial interests in South Korea, feared the spread of communism AND was able to get other countries to participate.
You are right, the fiasco in Viet Nam was escalated - by Johnson - almost exclusively - Kennedy had already been making preparations to LEAVE Viet Nam prior to his assassination.
Similarly, Mr. Bush was not the best representative of the people, but I don't fault him with the destruction of the Republican Party, He just presided over it's demise.
Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, put the knife in - soooo sweetly we enjoyed it.
First, he DESTROYED - rather systematically - the concept - once a tennant of the Republican party which was both Moderate and also that part of the party that was truly internationalist - where the US can choose to be more or less isolationist and sponsor well run, relatively low corruption international organizations that handle problems between nations.
In this way one can ask, do we NEED NATO, or do we need to sponsor regional reaction forces (Africa, South East Asia, Eastern Europe etc) which are composed rather like NATO, in that it's effective, such that we don't "_have_" to be involved in policing the world.
Secondly , Reagan made it acceptable to run deficits to ruinous effect. Treating the government like a big piggy bank for defense contractors and lavish schemes with low practical value and high price tags and low levels of accountability.
I personally think that capitalism is the absolutely best model we have for generating wealth, jobs and innovation, that said, his supply-side Keynesian economics were fairly radical laizzez-faire economics, the 1987 stock market crashed on count of unregulated speculation and currency manipulations, had there been SOME oversight or regulation on technical analytic trading and Forex, that might not have been as bad/ able to happen.
At the end of the day, George Bush can be faulted (as I think you rightly do), for miring the United States in his foreign policy failures and failing to handle radicalism in any sense.
But his rhetoric was the coin of the realm.
The Republican Party, has a good root idea, but the catering to the religious evangelical community - while attractive, draws away as many moderates and others as it brings in, it's just that evangelicals "work the ground" better, and have troubles themselves - getting elected to higher office.
So rather than pick on this party or that, let's hear it for prudent investment, entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, and doing what's in the interests of the nation, rather than profit maximization to the point of sociopathy.
Otherwise, I suspect John Kennedy while extraordinarily popular with people, was the first president to go toe-to-toe
with the USSR on nuclear confrontation. In this way, while we "won" the cold war, more than once, did we come unconscionably close to self-annihilation - that's not good governance, that's hardliner impracticality.
Lastly I'd have to say that every president has their faults and failings, but those presidents come to mind as either presiding over or encouraging behavior which is not in the national interest.
wow - this hit a nerve.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
George W. Bush is by far the worst president in history, and the worst person that has ever inhabited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. By far. His lies to Congress, and even Republicans admit that he "said things that in which he did not believe had truth in them" makes the war illegal and immoral, making him the worst mass murderer since...Hitler? Pol Pot? Stalin? He's a horrid monster that will be cursed by all decent men for generations.
Ronald Reagan began his administration by betraying America to the terrorists before he even took his oath. In 1979, Iranians who were on the terrorist watch list of the US, UK, Interpol, the UN, and every other watch list, seized the American embassy as part of a revolution to overthrow the American puppet, Shah Pahlavi. President Jimmy Carter followed the policy set forth by George Washington and reinforced by Thomas jefferson that NO US president would ever negotiate with terrorists. Period.
Reagan, who had not taken his oath, not only negotiated with them, he surrendered to them, giving them all of the weapons and money that they asked. Seeing an easy, stupid American, they upped the ante, and Reagan paid some more.
Never forget that when the US Marines died in Beirut, it was Reagan that supplied the weapons...all for a publicity stunt.
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
Thank God you are not a President. You have no concept of history and no concept of defense.
YOU DO NOT have access to the truth and facts and THANK GOD in history we have had a FEW Presidents that had some backbone and stopped the killings and attacks on US where other Presidents just kissed butt and allowed our weakness to show.
You can start down a path...and you will do this in your lifetime too...and life will change. Things will change...your path will change...all because everything is not under your control..and all you can do is be flexible and do what is best.
Instead of putting down America...be proud of her. She lets you mouth off
- ammianusLv 71 decade ago
JFK - nearly got the world destroyed just to save face;no wonder the CIA had him assassinated
Clinton - abused his position of power by using it to womanise on a huge scale.Worse still, almost all the present US foreign and domestic problems can be traced directly to actions taken during his 2 terms of office.
- JenVTLv 71 decade ago
I think it's a pretty small focus when considering all of the other duties and responsibilities that presidents have.
- Paul BLv 61 decade ago
You get the presidents you deserve.
GW stands out for his use of torture, allowing kidnapping, eroding the civil liberties of citizens, wars for personal profit and rank nepotism that resulted in incompetence, force feeding the public fear and hate, running up trillions of dollars in the war that would "pay for itself", playing on divisions to drive a wedge between liberals and conservatives, equating critism of his war in Iraq to attacks on the US servicemen and patriotism.....the list just goes on and on.