Who do you think were the best and worst presidents of your lifetime? To any degree you want to elaborate, why? If you are not from the Unites States, you may specify an American president, one of your national leaders, or both. For that matter, if you are American and you are sufficiently impressed/unimpressed with some other world leader, feel free to mention that leader.

Suggested definition of "your lifetime" is any president that you directly remember (a compromise between completely second-hand impressions and informed adult impressions). In my case, that would be Lyndon Johnson, even though Eisenhower was president when I was born, and JFK was elected soon after. As long as you're willing to 'fess up, it would be useful to know the first president you remember.

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"Best" is relative, since the crop of US presidents is mostly not impressive. The Founding Fathers are a mixed bag, since even the most brilliant representatives of the Enlightenment did not apply their principles to slavery. After the founding of the Republic, most U.S. presidents were a waste of oxygen. The ones that stand out are the ones who were forced to act in the best interests of progress: Lincoln, FDR, and LBJ. And we must restrict ourselves to domestic policy, since no U.S. president has ever been anything other than a builder or preserver of empire. FDR is the greatest president in terms of social impact. If the Vietnam War has not napalmed the Great Society, LBJ would have gone down in history as the greatest president ever. And yes, my life span includes LBJ.

Worst? In order of worst to less worse in my lifetime:

Baby Bush
Reagan
Nixon
born in 79 as well. the first president i remember was reagan, and i also remember not trusting a word he said and thinking that democracy was just a big joke back then, as he and the other "rulers" had zero in common with the working class i saw daily. the first bush took office and all i really remember was being rightfully skeptical of "operation desert storm" which was just a big lie about a war going on and him puking at the japanese banquet. i took a disinterest in politics until the clinton years. i knew clinton was a liar about his personal life but it didn't matter to me because he did his job and did it well. the republicans were so hateful during this period i came to the conclusion i hated republicans. it was very fashionable to hate america during this period until dubya was sworn in and 9/11 happened. for a glimmering moment i thought that america would finally see what war is really like and tone the bullying down but i was wrong. it was now and would continue to be until around 2006 time to be a blind little patriot so i found out the hard way not to say anything. when euros would comment on how it got like germany before the nazi era, i agreed. if i said anything disparaging about america and where it was going it was met with ignorant and angry comments. i now realized that maybe the fiscal conservatism of the reaganites wasn't so bad - although i may not have agreed with it it was certainly better than what was going on in the republican party now. now that the republicans have swung so low, the dems swung right to make up for it, and today's democrat is yesteryears reaganite.
i really can't comment on Obama and am tiring of how people expected a miracle to happen as soon as he was sworn in. as if all the problems dubya created for us could just be swept under the rug after the first week and we could be an inspiration again. the man hasn't even been in office for six months yet! how can i comment on that?
Reagan a fiscal conservative? Reagan gutted what we had of a welfare state, but ran up huge deficits, feeding all the money to the military buildup. All the presidents in your lifetime were shits. Carter was a strange man, still can't figure him out, but he started some bad stuff even while his heart was in the right place on others. The USA was never a pristine place, but I'd say it was destroyed by the Vietnam War, which reflects badly on LBJ, for otherwise, had he maintained the Great Society vision, he would have gone down in history as the greatest president (as presidents go).
meowr! he asked who was the greatest in our lifetimes, remember? i wasn't born when Johnson was around.
do you think that the republicans have changed over the last thirty years? to be fair to Reagan after he left office Bush came in and then we had a war. what do you think about this country post Korean war rather than only Vietnam? what would you have liked to have seen Johnson done regarding the war, and what do you think it would have accomplished? do you think that if Johnson were to end the war in his presidency it would have been met with an assassination? what do you think about the "war on poverty" part of the great society?
The War on Poverty, had it not been upended by the Vietnam War, would have established Johnson, in conjunction with the civil rights legislation, as America's greatest president, accomplishing what FDR began. Johnson's perspective (in contrast to his actual achievement) put Johnson was far more progressive than any subsequent president, including Obama. The fact that the country did not follow through in this matter condemned to the barbarism we have experienced since.

As for Vietnam, Martin Luther King Jr. was correct in stating that America found itself on the wrong side of a world revolution against exploitation. There has never been a president who was not complicit in imperialism; however, there have always been choices which battles to fight. If the USA had supported Castro, Ho Chi Minh, and others, they would have not had to turn to the USSR and a lot of grief could have been avoided.
easy; the second bush... i don't remember much about the first bush (born in 83) but he was no saint either. when i was a kid though, i didn't think much about him except "well, it's a good thing the wall is down and people are 'free'"
I really butchered English syntax in my last post. It's too late to correct it, apparently. I'll emend my worst butcheries of English grammar:

"Johnson's perspective (in contrast to his actual achievement) was far more progressive than any subsequent president, including Obama. The fact that the country did not follow through in this matter condemned us to the barbarism we have experienced since."

If you were born since 1979, there's no point in naming a best president, since they were all awful. Carter was much better as an ex-president. It is important to examine the period of his presidency carefully, because therein lies the seeds of the destruction of this nation. One must always ask, in the wake of Watergate, why was it liberalism that was killed off rather than conservativism? If you are too young to have ever experienced liberalism as a living enterprise (for all its defects), you have no inkling of just how badly your society has degenerated.
I was born in '82, and I have to say that I think that George W. Bush was the worst. That's a pretty easy call. And, even though he's only been in office for a few months, I think that Obama is the best person we've had in the White House. Whether his record over the next few years matches what I know to be the caliber of his skills and character remains to be seen, but I'm actually proud to have someone like this in the Oval Office, and I can't say I've ever said that about a president before.

Bush's eight years were basically a nightmare on every front. A short list of his administration's record would have to include disastrous results like:

* permanent damage to the state of the environment and increased limitations on the ability of federal agencies to rein in corporate pollutants
* infringements on the inviolability of Constitutional principles like due process, banning of torture, the right to vote, privacy from government surveillance, etc.
* a nightmarish war in Iraq which was built on transparent lies, conducted with the help of undemocratic institutions like Blackwater and Halliburton, and has caused a chaotic political vacuum in what was already an unstable country
* capitalizing on the tragedy of September 11 and using it the attacks to instill fear in the public and question the patriotism of dissenting members of Congress
* pandering to the know-nothing wing of the Republican party -- fundamentalist Christians -- by trying to fight against abortion rights, the teaching of evolution in schools, stem cell research, etc.
* implementing a policy of secrecy regarding administration memos, internal documents, and conversations
* waging a war against the working classes and giving huge tax breaks to multimillion dollar corporations and wealthy families
* spearheading the effort to cut away federal regulation of the specific sort of investment banking practices (credit default swaps, subprime lending, etc.) which ended up wrecking our economy
* the whole Katrina debacle

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. What a fucking nightmare. Probably the worst administration in the history of the nation, and we lived through it!

On the other hand, Obama is someone I recently started learning a lot about.

What I like about him:

* he's a Constitutional scholar and is devoted to protecting stuff like the Bill of Rights, even in the face of these new terrorism threats
* unlike Clinton, his past isn't one of shady land deals, political Machiavellianism and blustery rhetoric -- he's worked as a community organizer and a lawyer
* he's someone who began his political career from a grass-roots level, and somehow managed to keep himself immune from all of the corruption that swirls around the corridors of the Chicago political system
* he's a great debater and someone who seems cool-headed and respectful

Only time will tell, but I give Obama the nod above Clinton, who is his only possible competition for me.

Anyway, enough on this subject, which is an interesting one.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this about Obama:

* he apparently went through all of those bogus "signing statements" (where GWB essentially said to federal agencies that they should ignore the specifics of the Congressional information being given and should defer to the whims of the executive branch) and nixed all (or most) of them.

That's a great "fuck you" to the outgoing administration and another reason I like him a lot. He didn't even have to do that, politically. I don't think that doing it gained him any brownie points on either side of the aisle. He did it because he's a principled guy who understands that "executive privilege" is bullshit.

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