February 16, 2015

To be truthful I was going to do a post on the state of my golf swing but that can wait for another time, right?

[Ed. note: millions of Goodboys Nation blog readers heave a sigh of relief.]

Given the fact that it’s Presidents Day, I thought I’d offer up a few thoughts about the presidents of our nation. I’m no presidential historian, but I do read a lot of history and have definitive thoughts about most of the men elected to lead our country over the past 225 years. I put them Gold, Silber, Bronze, and Crap. If your favorite isn’t amongst any of those categories, they didn’t do anything worthy of note to even get into a category to begin with.

Gold: Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan. Washington and Lincoln are obvious choices (I wish we could go back to celebrating their birthdays because they were truly great men. Not every President deserves to have automobile sales galore, and for federal, state, and local officials an extra day off in the middle of February.) Theodore Roosevelt was, of course, larger than life, did some incredible things when it came to the Panama Canal, busting the trusts, and awakening the conservation movement in the country. Was he flawed? Hell, yes – but then again so are all great men who are larger than life. One might be surprised that a conservative like yours truly would pick FDR, but he was quick to assess the desperate nature of the situation he inherited and implemented things that gave people hope. Amity Shlaes has written that it was only World War II that saved his New Deal, but when people are out of work and starving you have to be sensitive to the needs of those in need. Reagan, of course, was the tonic that restored a sense of the grandeur and purpose America had lost after Vietnam and Watergate. God, how we need another Reagan who can restore sanity to the catastrophe that is Washington and the elected and non-elected elitist fools that have tossed common sense out the door!

Silver: Jefferson, James K. Polk, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman. Jefferson was one of the earliest reformers, seeing the danger of a government out of control. Polk is one of – if not the – underrated Presidents, an astute observer of politics and the mindset of his country while he was in office. Woodrow Wilson was a Progressive who mobilized us into World War I then dared to dream of a world given a forum to resolve conflicts. Calvin Coolidge gave a broken-hearted nation a low-keyed, strong leader. Harry Truman did what he had to do on very short notice to end World War II. Unlike those in the Gold category, each of these Presidents might not have been good enough to make the first team, but they were solid in performance and most certainly better than average.

Bronze: John Adams, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush. I give Adams credit for stepping in behind a living legend like Washington. It was important that the country understand that George wasn’t the end all and be all of everything. Jackson was a tough, no-nonsense, larger than life Chief Executive. Grant was a lousy judge of character but a better president than most give him credit for. William McKinley was the first President to see the United States as an emerging world power. Taft actually advanced Teddy Roosevelt’s reforms forward more his predecessor game him credit for; his decent presidency was sabotaged by TR’s oversized ego. Eisenhower provided the necessary stability to end the war in Korea and keep the U.S. out of bigger wars in Laos and Vietnam. Nixon had nothing on him compared to what Barack Obama has done; he had the vision to open the doors to China, worked hard to end the Vietnam War, and he started the EPA. Gerald Ford was a good man whose sense of what was right kept the nation out of a prolonged Watergate witch hunt. Bill Clinton was a savvy politician with incredible human faults who could still work his immense political skills to foster a centrist Democratic Party that could work for the “average folk”. George W. Bush showed the Middle East what America stood for in terms of freedom but let his own personal feelings enter us into a needless war in Iraq.

Crap: John Tyler, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama. All I can say is, you gotta be pretty crummy to make this bottom list. Tyler, Pierce, and Buchanan were incompetents who stood idly by as the nation drifted into civil war. Chester Alan Arthur was a hack who made his presidency a virtual hack-o-rama. Benjamin Harrison merely occupied the seat – he only became President because of his Civil War credentials. Harding was a tragic character in every way, and Hoover a cold and distant bureaucrat, but neither have anything on the worst President of them all, Lyndon Johnson, who knew damned well that Vietnam was going to be a fiasco yet escalated our involvement in it anyways. The damage done to this country by his idea of a “Great Society” will never be fixed. Jimmy Carter did get his Sinai accord but was abysmal when it came to domestic policy. And then you have Barack Obama, who will go down in history as one of the greatest incompetents ever to hold the office. History doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and Obama is the king of fools. What’s truly sad about him is the opportunity he was given and utterly wasted. But hey, you gotta play golf, right?

If your favorite President didn’t make the list I’m truly sorry for you – you rode one forgettable horse in this race.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:47 | Comments Off on President’s Day
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