Who Was the Most Dangerous President in U.S. History?

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on November 29th, 2006

Should George W. Bush be ranked as the worst President in the history of the United States? Before answering this question we need to determine which categories should be invoked to assess a President’s place in this ranking? For starters, how about helping to improve the economic and social welfare of the citizenry? Add to that protecting the nation from attack, preventing wars costly in life and treasure, preserving the integrity of the Constitution,, and finally honesty. How will history judge Mr. Bush? Curiously, Mr. Bush doesn’t seem to care. When the journalist Bob Woodward asked him about how history will rate him, Mr. Bush replied “History. We won’t know. Well all be dead.” Bravo Mr. Bush for another illuminating answer!

According to historian Sean Wilentz here are some other candidates: James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, and Richard Nixon. I would add Rutherford B. Hayes for buying the presidency by ending Reconstruction. Each abandoned the stewardship of the nation either through commission or omission. Check out Wilentz’s article and decide for yourself.

N image Asking a somewhat more focused question–Who was the most dangerous President in U.S. history?–I’d say the top four are in order of dangerousness: George W. Bush, James Buchanan, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Bush ranks first for the Iraq War and his attack on fundamental constitutional values. Buchanan takes second place for not taking seriously the gathering storm of civil war over slavery. Nixon is a close third for his duplicity and for undermining constitutional government by in effect creating a shadow government unaccountable to Congress or the Court. And finally, Johnson for lying throughout the 1964 presidential campaign lambasting Goldwater for his strident plans to end the Vietnam War and them implementing some of those very same plans.

b2 image It might be the heat of the present moment, but I think Mr. Bush is in a class by himself. Here’s a man of limited, if any, talents who lacked personal insight to appreciate his own limitations. He involved the United States in a war that did not need to be waged, a war that has taken the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis and has left thousands of brave American military personnel dead or badly wounded. Mr. Bush has heard the opinions of people he respects and still insists that we will remain in Iraq until we’ve stabilized the country.

Ever since Sadaam was deposed, the nation that was Iraq was destined for civil war It was, in truth, an artificial nation, built on deep-seated and long-standing hatred, which could not be mollified without civil war. It was a civil war waiting to happen. Yet, Mr. Bush and his crowd believed we could spread democracy to Iraq and to the region. Their naivete is exceeded only by their arrogance.

We will soon hear a debate over who lost the war in Iraq. Mr. Bush can use this debate as a vehicle out of Iraq by blaming the Iraqi people and government for the failure. Although such blame slanders the Iraqi people, Mr. Bush will not, in the end, be above using it. The real answer to the question–Who Lost the Iraq War?–is this. The American people with the unexpected and unjustified help of the Supreme Court lost the War when election 2000 ended with George W. Bush, the president-elect.


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