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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

President's day

My first choice in teaching has always been World History, but over the years I've also taught U.S. History. Most of U.S. is about Presidents. So here is my list not of the best or worst Presidents, but I thought it would be interesting to come up with a list of best Presidential decisions and worst Presidential decisions. After all we are being led by "The Decider", and in reality that is the yard stick they are all measured by.

Best decisions:

10 -- Washington not running for a third term. Set precedent of only two terms, and relieved fears of a military dictatorship, which has plagued all other governments with our type of Constitution.

9 -- FDR running for a third term. Armchair quarterbacking here, but he was the right man at the right time to handle WWII.

8 -- Truman de-segregating the military. The first step towards Civil Rights.

7 -- Eisenhower creating the Interstate Highway system. How much our economic prosperity for the last fifty years came as a byproduct of his national military transport system.

6 -- Eisenhower sending the army to insure the safety of black students in Little Rock, Arkansas and uphold a Supreme Court ruling. Showed that defiance of Federal government would not be tolerated.

5 -- John Tyler setting precedent that when a sitting President dies the Vice-President fills out the rest of the term. Referred to as "His Accidency", but just filling the post until a new election would be an electoral nightmare he helped us avoid.

4 -- Theodore Roosevelt enforcing the Sherman Anti-trust act. We could use someone with the guts to do this with our media and energy behemoths today.

3 -- Lincoln ordering the resupply of Ft. Sumter and staying the course throughout the Civil War. He kept the Union together.

2 -- Kennedy ordering the blockade of Cuba. Avoided invading Cuba and starting a nuclear war. (This could be argued as the #1 since the entire world could have been destroyed at this point, but if we had invaded Cuba and Russia moved on East Berlin the right wingers might have considered this and exchange of knights in their chess game and pulled back from using nukes.)

1 -- Truman dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. No decision has been more second guessed, praised or vilified. It ended the war and saved over a million American lives, and untold Japanese lives too.

Worst Decisions:

10 -- Andrew Johnson keep Stanton as Secretary of War. Leads to Congress' excuse for impeachment.

9 -- Bill Clinton spending time with Monica Lewinsky. Just plain stupid to committ the sin that the Republicans were waiting to exploit.

8 -- Buchanan not sending federal troops to settle the violence in Kansas.

7 -- John Adams signing the Alien and Sedition Acts. The first attempt to silence political opposition and fear immigrants.

6 -- Jefferson's trade embargo. Financially ruined New England to avoid war with England and would eventually be fought by Madison. Yes it was a stupid war, but running from this fight didn't stop it.

5 -- William Henry Harrison giving the longest inaugural address in his shirt sleeves on a cold day. He was dead a month later and was the first President to die in office.

4 -- Andrew Jackson killing the Second Bank of the United States. It would destabilize the economy of the U. S. for the next eighty years.

3 -- Andrew Jackson refusing to enforce the Supreme Court ruling against the removal of the Cherokee nation to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). The Trail of Tears was an illegal action encouraged and allowed by someone who was violating his sworn oath.

2 -- Eisenhower stopping the election in Vietnam in 1956 and partitioning the country. It put a lie to our calls for free elections in Eastern Europe when we stopped one in Asia because Ho Chi Mihn would win it hands down. It also led to twenty years of bloodshed and the near bankruptcy of the U. S. for the same outcome that would have been achieved peacefully.

1 -- George W. Bush proposing a pre-emptive war. We have a department of DEFENSE not offense. Now that he has set that precedent what other mayhem will be caused by future Presidents. The only decision that would be worse than this one would be if he starts another war with Iran.


jurassicpork said...

What about Ford pardoning Nixon? Nixon 86ing the Gold Standard? Kennedy going along with Nixon's and Eisenhower's Bay of Pigs?

There are man, many Presidential fuckups that are a lot less than Bill thinking up creative uses for cigars with Monica.

P M Prescott said...

You've got a point.