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Tags: pierce | filmore | buchanan | hoover

Thinking of Our Times: Recalling America's 5 Worst Presidents

hall of presidents walt disney world orlando florida

Nov. 25, 2020: The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Resort in Orlando, Florida. (Dreamstime.com/Joni Hanebutt)

Craig Shirley By Wednesday, 30 March 2022 10:12 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The following article is the second of two parts, the first of which may be found here.  

James Buchanan

In 1856, both political parties wanted to move away from the slavery turmoil that engulfed the last two presidents.

As such, James Buchanan had a tremendous advantage over the other candidates: he was out of the country when they happened. The former ambassador to the United Kingdom was out of the country, and there was hope his "fresh eyes" could steer America towards a solution.

To Buchanan’s fresh eyes, the new Republican party and its relentless opposition to slavery was an existential danger to the country. He hoped to stamp them out for good.

To that end, he actively involved himself in the dreadful U.S. Supreme Court decision in the matter of Dred Scott (Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393, 1857).

The high court's ruling emanting from that case, found that the U.S. Constitution did not extend to people of African descent; free or enslaved persons. It also marked the Missouri Compromise as unconstitutional, and affirmed that when a slaveholder brought an enslaved man into a free state, that enslaved man remained  enslaved.

Buchanan supported the decision and saw it as putting the issue of slavery to rest. 

The harsh reaction to this decision led to a significant divide in his party that cost Democrats the U.S. House of Representatives in 1858.

As they blocked his legislative priorities, he, in turn, vetoed almost every important bill they passed. This gridlock, continuing unrest in Kansas, and a minor financial crisis all but neutered Buchanan’s administration.

Before becoming president, Buchanan pledged that he would not seek reelection and intended to keep his word. Yet his actions so badly split the party that the Republican Abraham Lincoln was able to win the White House, and do so with a plurality. When it became clear that his election would lead to seccession, Buchanan made a final speech to Congress.

He made it clear that seccession was unconstitutional but that stopping seccession was also unconstitutional. His speech produced a miracle; for a brief moment, he unified pro-slavery and anti-slavery advocates in hatred against him.

Buchanan was a pro-slavery Democrat who thought he could heal the nation and end the slavery debate by further ensconcing slavery in America. Many wrongly remember him as indecisive.

Indeed, he made many decisive decisions. They were just for the wrong side.

Herbert Hoover

Like the other presidents, Hoover assumed office amid a crisis. Eight months into his presidency (September - November, 1929) the stock market crashed, and the Great Depression began.

Hoover believed the issue would resolve itself and refused any federal intervention.

Instead, his solution was to pass sweeping international tariffs in the hope of stimulating domestic growth. This resulted in reactionary tariffs that economists now agree greatly exacerbated America’s depression.

Prioritizing a balanced budget above all, he aggressively raised taxes on the wealthy by double and triple the initial amounts in some cases.

This also backfired.

As if this wasn’t enough, he also increased penalties for alcohol possession, to which minor violations were considered felonies. His relentless commitment to austerity, refusal to assist struggling Americans, and his "cold" rhetoric (even his indifferent voice) quickly made him deeply unpopular.

Resultant homeless shantytowns were nicknamed "Hoovervilles."

There was likely little Hoover could have done to avert or end the Depression.

The significant spending programs that Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), his successor, passed under the New Deal brought temporary relief but didn’t end the strife. Yet, when the nation needed to see kindness and compassion from its president, Hoover failed to meet the moment most miserably. 

Joe Biden

Only taking office in a cloudy election, Biden "campaigned" as a moderate, but has governed as a radically leftist Democrat. Despite only being in office one year, conclusions can already be drawn. Much like Newton’s Second Law, an object in motion has a tendency to stay in motion, in this case downward.

Biden is in disapproval freefall: 40% and falling more and more rapidly.

Some of this might be understandable.

He is an old man possessing questionable mental and physical stamina.

He makes misstatements often; his failing ideology of collectivism is well on display. 

Nothing under him has gone successfully, from supply shortages, to the embarrassing withdrawal from Afghanistan, to high inflation, to high gas prices due to his bowing down to the simpleton Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and shutting down energy supplies, to high food costs, to likely causing the war in Ukraine, to our now porous border to surreptitiously placing illegals in Republican states under the cover of darkness.

Joseph Robinette Biden is like King Tantalus of Greek mythology; the more he reaches, the more he fails. The GOP will win 50-75 U.S. House seats this fall, effectively ending the reign of Biden and loudly signaling the end of "Bidenism."

Craig Shirley is a Ronald Reagan biographer, presidential historian, and four-time best-selling author. His most recent book is ''Mary Ball Washington,''a definitive biography of George Washington's mother. Read Craig Shirley's Reports — More Here.

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CraigShirley
Joseph Robinette Biden is like King Tantalus of Greek mythology; the more he reaches, the more he fails. The GOP will win 50-75 U.S. House seats this fall, effectively ending the reign of Biden and loudly signaling the end of "Bidenism."
pierce, filmore, buchanan, hoover
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2022-12-30
Wednesday, 30 March 2022 10:12 AM
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