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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Round 4: From Not-So-Great Eight to Final Four of Failure

~ click to enlarge

Well its round four and finally getting to the point where the Final Four failure Presidents get their just due.

We know the last two posts were a bit long but you try covering 230-something years of the US Presidency and condensing accomplishments and failures into something more succinct..  Not so easy a task..

Good news is today's read will be a tiny bit shorter for we already expressed for the most part who these men are for better and mostly for worse.  It doesn't make the task to analyze the battles any easier..

So let's begin..
Its hard to truly evaluate a President who has only been out of office a mere five years and to do so objectively..  Later on it will be even harder to do so to a sitting President but we'll do our darnedest..

A couple criteria we've used in evaluating the Presidents is the economy when in office and how many lives (if any) were needlessly lost due to that President's foreign or domestic policies.

What makes this battle between Buchanan and Bush so difficult to figure is both were in office during severe financial crisis.

For Buchanan, the economy collapsed in the Panic of 1857 meaning his entire term was that of financial suffering and it took until the Civil War to get out of the small-d depression (war has a way of doing that)
~ artwork depicting runs on banks  - 1857

With Bush, it was mostly policies of the Fed i.e. extremely low interest rates that encouraged speculative lending and those parasites known as home-flippers and only in the last few months of his Presidency did it all finally come to bite him in the bum.

But in truth it was not Buchanan's fault for the Panic.   Explaining as concise as possible, when the Supreme Court passed the Dred Scott decision stating that black slaves taken into free states were still property of their masters, it absolutely freaked out the silver miners in Arizona who now feared southerners would migrate west with their slaves, open mines of their own and undercut them...

So these miners in a panic dumped their silver in the open market in such mass quantities so they could recoup its value, they ultimately devalued the entire US currency where you could no longer value paper to the metal.
~ Dred Scott

So now we go to lives lost..   Yes it is true a couple thousand US soldiers' lives have been lost in Afghanistan and Iraq but to be fair and non-revisionist, Afghanistan was hugely popular war when we entered.. Bush was still carrying 90% approval at the time..  And most Americans supported invading Iraq to get rid of Saddam..

Only when it got messy and become a prolonged nation-building did the public opinion turn..

But without sounding cold, these were men and women who volunteered to serve.. they did know there would be risk..

With Buchanan however, many people needlessly died in Kansas and Nebraska because he lacked the strength or courage to decide which state would enter as slave or free to maintain the vital 50/50 balance in the Senate..
By weakening to Sen. Stephen Douglas' lead and allowing the territories to determine for themselves, you have literal Civil War in both areas where neighbor killed neighbor and kin killed kin.

Because of Bloody Kansas, the utter impotence and cowardice to take a stand one way or another on secession and his need to appease at every turn, Buchanan is a worse President than W. Bush and he moves on to the Final Four of Failure...

As for Harding vs Wilson, this is an easier decision..  

One President was surrounded with unscrupulous, unethical individuals who tried to milk the system for every penny of profit they could squeeze (Harding) and the the other President was an unscrupulous, unethical man who outright lied to his people about a war he knew the nation would ultimately get involved in so he could win a re-election (Wilson)
~ Newspaper lying about the 'good' to come from Wilson signing the Fed Reserve Act of 1913

And beyond that and being the viper responsible for giving the Federal Reserve a legal foothold in the nation, his personal war on the First Amendment during wartime made Lincoln's suspension of Habeus Corpus look like a walk in the park as the expression goes..

Wilson felt during the Civil War, Lincoln did not go far enough to quash citizens who spoke up against him and his policies so Wilson wasn't going to make the same mistake.  
Any US citizen who spoke out or demonstrated against the war involvement in any way was jailed, many without trial.  If you were foreign born, you were arrested then deported back to your birth nation against your will..

There was zero tolerance of dissent of any kind..  Our first true-blue Fascist President..

So Wilson advances to the Final Four.. just where he belongs..
Next is Calvin Coolidge v Herbert Hoover..  

We've said repeatedly that Coolidge only has moved on in the tourney as far as he has because his competition have been far greater men who did more for this nation than he.  So by mere luck of the draw where he was seeded (all Presidents were literally picked from a hat initially), Coolidge has moved farther than he rightfully should..

As for Hoover, we said before that he wasn't a deeply terrible or vile man..   But when you are President, there's a major crisis and your economic policies are either not improving the situation or making things worse, you Must possess the ability to adapt to the circumstances and try new approaches..
Staying the course is unacceptable..

Hoover also in our opinion gets the blame for the lives lost when police fired upon the Bonus Army  (World War I veterans) killing two who congregated peacefully upon Washington DC in the summer of 1932 to request pensions promised them in the distant future be given sooner due to their severe economic hardships..

After hearing of their deaths, Hoover ordered the army to clear the veterans' campsite. Six tanks were used to push out the Bonus Army marchers along with their wives and children while their shelters and belongings were burned.
So its pretty easy for us to declare Hoover a bastard who is well deserving of entering the Final Four

Lastly Obama v Nixon..

This is by far the most difficult battle to analyze and no-doubt the most controversial no matter which way we end up..  Its so easy to detest both leaders when putting down the partisan political goggles..

For Nixon, there's Watergate, a stagnant economy for two full terms, and the taking the US dollar off the gold standard thus allowing for the beginnings of endless money printing our government employs today 
Then there was the continual involvement in Vietnam along with the illegal bombings of Laos and Cambodia under the silly "Peace with Honor" banner even though Nixon had campaigned in 1968 that if elected, he'd quickly end the war.. which he did 5 full years later in early 1973.

There's also the famous trip to China that we call a negative because it ultimately put the US in a position of economic and political subservience and working through the CIA to establish a coup in Chile when we didn't like a Marxist winning a democratic free election there..

Just a terrible President..
For Obama.. an absolute economic do-nothing.  A good talker and little else..  

In the meanwhile, the national debt has increased from $10 Trillion during W Bush's last year in office to over $17 Trillion in a mere 5 years in office and Obama is the first President to have yearly running deficits (spending more than all annual tax revenue)

And yet while pledging he wouldn't in 2008, he voted to make the Bush tax cuts permanent which only help the wealthy and has openly encouraged the Fed to conduct their massive endless QE money printing to bail out the banks and pad investor pockets.

We call him 'Black Bush' because if you closed your eyes you'd think Bush 43 was still running the nation both economically and on military/foreign decisions..
Gitmo is still open (not that we care but he did pledge to close it), troops are in Afghanistan and Iraq still to this day and the US military are sending drones to kill civilians in over a dozen countries under the guise of a war on terror..

Obama also tried to pick a war with Syria that would have ended quite bloody if not for Putin interceding and now Ignorantly is picking a fight with Russia and disrespecting a democratic election in Crimea  as if there's some burning itch to re-start the Cold War.

And lest we forget, not a single person responsible for the crash of 2008 is in jail or had even been arrested by the President's Justice department.. 
It was decided to go after them would put the pretend "recovery" at risk and affect market confidence..

The current President treats our allies like enemies or lapdogs (Israel, Britain..) and many of our enemies abroad with apathy (Iran)

To be fair, Nixon did the same..  In fact both Presidents often sought to bully their supposed only friend in the Middle East by withholding their foreign aid to Israel unless the state agreed to get in line even when going against their national security interests..  

And while under Obama, NSA expanded its spying of citizens to include every conceivable method to acquire information on the populace  (Of course, the US Senate had no problems with this until uh-oh.. NSA was spying on them too!)  Nixon sure loved spying too... he just used the aged J Edgar Hooer at the FBI to do it..

So.. who gets the victory..  Both are just.. yukkk...

When Nixon was President, many individuals were able to take home enough salary to provide for a family of four with a general middle-class comfort.  And most women worked because they wanted to..

Today those days are virtually gone.. Women now work because they have to and in some families, one or both spouses hold down second jobs as well..
In 1970, attending Harvard cost $4,070, which was less than half of the median family income, then $9,870.  Today it costs just about $55k for one year while median income today is $47k and thereabouts (tuition today is now is 117% of median income)

Unemployment during Nixon was consistently around 4.9-5.8%   Real unemployment currently when counting those given up is about 16%..  Some estimate its even a higher percentage..

And while Obama can't be blamed alone for this continual downgrade in the quality of life of the everyday American and their increased financial hardships, he can be blamed for not enacting any serious job creating legislation or conducting a job hiring policy similar to FDR that forced private businesses to raise wages...

He just trumpets 'recovery' and tells us to look at the rising Dow and Hope and Believe..
And quite frankly we're sick of it..  

And we do blame the President for continuing the policy of urging young people to go to college and accrue tens upon tens of thousands of dollars in non-dischargeable student loan Debt before they reach legal age to drink a beer without any concern that their futures are Fucked the moment they sign the loan papers..

Nixon for all his failings as a President and person is gone.. he's passed on..  And with the exception of those wounded Vietnam Vets who still suffer today because he needlessly prolonged the war, all Nixon's illegalities and lack of ethics and scruples belongs in the pages of history..
When competing against a current President during difficult times for many, the rules of evaluation are different.. What one does or doesn't do today means more than what one did or didn't do 44 years ago..

So for all that we've expressed, Obama is a worse President than Nixon..

Perhaps once his Presidency is over and enough time has passed he will be evaluated under a different set of criteria, but for the present, the day to day life we all live and whose policies and decisions we're all affected by (in many cases adversely), Obama goes to the Final Four...

So here's the Final Four of Failure.

So James Buchanan, our 15th President (1857-61) will be duking it out with Woodrow Wilson, our 28th (1913-21) in one bracket and Herbert Hoover, our 31st President (1929-1933) will be going up head to head vs the current Commander in Chief Obama (44th) 

Then the winners will enter the tar pit to see who is truly the #1 Worst President in US history according to us at 'Ants & Grasshoppers'

The next Round will be the final posting in this series and cover the Final Four of Failure to conclusion..  We should have that sometime this weekend to Monday at very latest..