Following the “revolution” that the American Presidential election has allegedly caused; given the dread that the folks on the hard liberal left have expressed at the loss that their candidate, someone they themselves have had issue with, and following the fact that so many millennials are fearful of losing their hope for entitlement benefits and their “safe spaces” (sorry if I sound cynical but come on guys the world is not ending) I decided to spend just a few moments in reflection.
I asked myself – who was the worst United States President in my lifetime? I asked that question because it made sense to see what kind of impact the inept, immoral and lousy leaders of the free world have had. Also, I asked because I wanted to reinforce the fact that America is greater than any one President. That whether or not Mr. Trump will be a great, good or just plain reality television type of goofy leader will he have so significant a long term impact on America. By looking at others from our past we can develop a yardstick for our future.
I personally came up with two names. I did not consult with historians, textbooks or even Google. I just sat down and reflected. I wanted this exercise to be a truly individualistic exercise. I wanted it to reflect my own feelings and experiences. I wanted it to be introspective, not part of some cult like movement.
First, I must say that President Obama was not one of the two. Not because I think he was a great leader. I have always said that Barack Obama is more of a law school professor with significant and often unbalanced liberal leanings that made him seem arrogant and aloof than an adept president. I also think that he misunderstands how bad people can actually be. His red lines for Syria and his waffling on other international conflicts made him seem at time missing from the job.
The two Presidents at the top of my list are Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Remember, I am only looking at the US Presidents I personally experienced. Richard Nixon was a liar, a pathologically insecure paranoid individual and a drunk. On the fifth day of the Yom Kippur war when a call came in from the Prime Minister of England, he was so drunk he could not take the call. Nixon asked Henry Kissinger, his Secretary of State and Brent Scowcroft at the National Security Council to handle the entire situation. Nixon’s administration was falling apart, many of his top advisers were being dismissed because of the Watergate scandal. A liar and a drunk, President Nixon is at the top of my list. He had to resign or face impeachment by Congress. Still, the country survived. President Ford followed and while his legacy is mixed he steadied the country and we went on.
Jimmy Carter, since leaving office as President, has shown himself to be anti-freedom and a foe of American ideals. While President, he cancelled the Russian wheat treaty, and presided over the Iranian Hostage crisis. The Russian deal was originally designed to help alleviate the cold war and assist American farmers. Carter, a farmer himself, abrogated what was one of the most progressive and productive international deals of his time, a deal that would have helped both Russian and American citizens. But, arguably, Carter’s Iranian hostage crisis is what actually created the Iranian crisis of today, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS – the radical Islam of the middle East that we see today. Carter was advised to take a more active role in containing the Mullahs very early on but all he did was back away from the Shah and allow radicalism to gain a state sponsor. President Reagan was the next to lead the United States after Carter. Here too, historically his legacy is imperfect. But he too managed to steady the ship of state correcting many of Carter’s errors.
So to the protesters, the mourners, the frightened and the weepy, all of you who are hyper-reactive to the idea that Donald Trump is the next President, take a deep breath. Calm down, get real, put down your placards, change out of your mourning clothing, and enough tears. Get a grip. Let’s give the guy a chance. If he screws up – America is a democracy. You can protest, call your Senator and Congressman and do what you feel the need to do. Protesting in advance only displays how little you know of history and democracy. We have had some pretty lousy leaders. We have not only survived – we have continued to thrive.