Thursday, November 6, 2014

Is Barack Obama the Worst President in American History?

After my recent appearance on the Fox News Channel's morning show, Fox and Friends, Donald Trump, appearing after me on the same show, asserted that my ranking of Barack Obama 34th out of 41 presidents rated - in my book, Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty - had "zero credibility" because Obama was the worst president in American history.

With America's ahistorical orientation and restrictive two-party political system, people on the right of the American political spectrum reflexively and viscerally believe that the current left-of-center president is the worst in history; left-leaning people had the same opinion of George W. Bush.

Yet in the American two-party system, the parties behave like two giant corporations that are alone in one market -- that is a duopoly. They pretend to fiercely compete on the surface but really collude under the table. This fact is hard for the American public to grasp, given the harsh public rhetoric and posturing by both parties and a 24/7/365 cable news environment that feeds on such rhetorical controversy. But the evidence that this sub rosa collusion among the parties exists is that the policy records of "liberal Obama" and "conservative" Bush are very similar.

They both started and escalated needless wars, restricted civil liberties in the fight against terrorism, and increased the federal government's role domestically. As an example of their parallel actions at home, they both expanded health care coverage, increased federal intrusion into education, bailed out or socialized industries, doled out goodies on a grand scale to special interest groups, and spent like drunken sailors on domestic programs.

Yet, historians do not share the view that Obama and Bush are the worst presidents in American history. They usually pick on people like James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Herbert Hoover, and (very unfairly) Warren Harding as being the bottom dwellers. I might disagree with many of such choices by historians, but I don't disagree that Obama and Bush aren't the worst. [more...]

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