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Is Obama the worst President in history?

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iflyboats
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Nah. One must also keep in mind that others are often to blame for the things President's take the heat for, simply because they are the head honcho and so it will naturally be directed at them in many instances.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Do you consider Obama the worst President in history?

I think it's too soon to be able to make such a judgment. (It's still too soon to pass a historical judgment on George W. Bush, for that matter.) It takes time for the effects of a presidency to play out, and things that look very bad at the time may turn out to do less harm than originally expected. Suppose, for example, that Obama's ultimate historical legacy is the sparking of a real Tea Party-driven reduction in the scope of government -- the last gasp of statism at the dawn of the New Renaissance. We'd evaluate that differently than we would if his administration marks the next leg down into the collectivist swamp -- and it's too early to tell which effects will be dominant.

Similar questions can be raised about other recent Presidents. Which is more significant: Reagan's victory in the Cold War and his slowdown of government growth, or his injection of religion into the moral foundations of the conservative movement? If the nation collapses into a right-wing theocracy, Reagan would surely have to take some of the blame -- but if it doesn't, he wouldn't.

More broadly, we have to ask what criteria should be used for judging political leaders. As Objectivists we should understand that fundamental ideas drive the course of history, not concrete policies. By that standard I think FDR is less significant than the early 20th century progressive presidents, particularly Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. TR is my pick for worst President to date: all of the statist presidents after him are just playing out the long-term implications of the political principles he elevated to the commanding heights of American political life.

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This thread is an example of why I maintain that Objectivism is a right wing philosophy. How can you for one second even contemplate that Obama is worse than Bush? It's completely outrageous. I think you guys have been watching too much Fox News.

Obama is increasing deficit financed government spending at the same rate as Bush did. The only difference is that Obama is proposing tax increases to pay for that spending. Wow he actually wants to pay for spending, that's evil!

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Obama is increasing deficit financed government spending at the same rate as Bush did.
In the case of Bush and Obama, don't think the rate of deficit spending is a good way to compare against other presidents, because they're doing it in response to an extremely severe recession. Other presidents -- Clinton or Bush Snr. -- might well have done the same.

In all likelihood, Obama's biggest "contribution" to shaping U.S. history will be the Democratic health-care plan. If the Democrats had retained control of Congress, we'd probably have seen something on climate change. If the economy had turned up with Democrats still in control, we might have seen some law supporting unions.

Bush's "contributions" are his response to 9/11, including the "war of terror", the Patriot Act, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, "No child left behind" and adding Drug-reimbursement to medicare.

So, in actual effect -- if not in intent -- it is a toss up.

Of the presidents I know, I'd easily nominate FDR as the worst both in intent and consequences of his actions

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How can you for one second even contemplate that Obama is worse than Bush? It's completely outrageous. I think you guys have been watching too much Fox News.

Convenient that you ignored my assessment. (And I never watch TV news at all, so you can also set aside that shibboleth.)

Obama is increasing deficit financed government spending at the same rate as Bush did.

Do you have a specific citation to back that up? The CBO deficit chart I'm looking at indicates the highest deficit under Bush at around $440 billion in 2008, with two other years (2003 and 2004) at close to the same level. The deficit under Bush was trending down from 2004-2007. By contrast, the deficit for 2009 was 3-4 times that level, and the most recent CBO report puts the deficit in 2010 at $1.5 trillion.

The point at which the deficit starts spiking, incidentally, is with the first federal budget put together after the Democrats took control of the Congress in the 2006 mid-term elections.

Wow he actually wants to pay for spending, that's evil!

Given that "pay for spending" in the context of government means "take more money from people by force" -- yes, that's evil.

I find Obama's political views noxious across the board. I think it likely that his policies, to the extent they are enacted and retained, will do great damage to the country. But it's too soon to form a judgment on how he will stand overall in the light of history, and I don't think it's likely he will dethrone TR from the top of my 'worst President' list. Obama is just playing out the long-term political trend whose dominance was established by TR.

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Do you have a specific citation to back that up? The CBO deficit chart I'm looking at indicates the highest deficit under Bush at around $440 billion in 2008, with two other years (2003 and 2004) at close to the same level. The deficit under Bush was trending down from 2004-2007. By contrast, the deficit for 2009 was 3-4 times that level, and the most recent CBO report puts the deficit in 2010 at $1.5 trillion.

Can you post your chart that you're looking at please? I'm pretty sure it'll look the same as Krugman's:

bush_deficit.png

Can we agree that the deficit in the first quarter of 2009 — Obama didn’t even take office until Jan. 20, the ARRA wasn’t even passed until Feb. 17, and essentially no stimulus funds had been spent — had nothing to do with Obama’s polices, and was entirely a Bush legacy? Yet the deficit had already surged to almost 9 percent of GDP. Even in 2009 II, Obama’s policies had barely begun to take effect, and the deficit was already over 10 percent of GDP.

What this chart really tells us is what you should have known already: the deficit is overwhelmingly the result of the economic slump, not Obama policies. But the usual suspects want to fool you.

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Obama is increasing deficit financed government spending at the same rate as Bush did. The only difference is that Obama is proposing tax increases to pay for that spending. Wow he actually wants to pay for spending, that's evil!

Yes, it's evil. Continuing to fund unconstitutional programs by coercing hard earned money out of citizens by threat of force to give to others as an unearned benefit is the epitome of evil.

The first part of your post is not even worth a response.

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Yes, it's evil. Continuing to fund unconstitutional programs by coercing hard earned money out of citizens by threat of force to give to others as an unearned benefit is the epitome of evil.

The first part of your post is not even worth a response.

You're missing the point of this thread. Bush did exactly the same as Obama. Financing something with debt without raising taxes to pay for it just means that Bush will raise taxes by more in the future (since interest costs will increase). Yet Obama gets more flack than Bush from the Objectivist community even though their policies are essentially the same from an Objectivist perspective. I'd say that is because the Objectivist community is part of the American rightwing, and has all the biases that this entails.

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You're missing the point of this thread. Bush did exactly the same as Obama. Financing something with debt without raising taxes to pay for it just means that Bush will raise taxes by more in the future (since interest costs will increase). Yet Obama gets more flack than Bush from the Objectivist community even though their policies are essentially the same from an Objectivist perspective. I'd say that is because the Objectivist community is part of the American rightwing, and has all the biases that this entails.

Bush saddled the Socialist horse that Obama is now riding. I have no particular love for him or what he did during his presidency. I don't know what you're on about other than to "prove" that Objectivism is "right wing" whatever that entails and for whatever purpose you have in your mind.

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Bush saddled the Socialist horse that Obama is now riding. I have no particular love for him or what he did during his presidency. I don't know what you're on about other than to "prove" that Objectivism is "right wing" whatever that entails and for whatever purpose you have in your mind.

What I'm on about is that Obama is not the worst president in history as the title of the thread asks. From an Objectivist perspective he's about the same as Bush.

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You're missing the point of this thread. Bush did exactly the same as Obama. Financing something with debt without raising taxes to pay for it just means that Bush will raise taxes by more in the future (since interest costs will increase). Yet Obama gets more flack than Bush from the Objectivist community even though their policies are essentially the same from an Objectivist perspective. I'd say that is because the Objectivist community is part of the American rightwing, and has all the biases that this entails.

Well this statement by sN was made only a few posts ago, so...

In all likelihood, Obama's biggest "contribution" to shaping U.S. history will be the Democratic health-care plan. If the Democrats had retained control of Congress, we'd probably have seen something on climate change. If the economy had turned up with Democrats still in control, we might have seen some law supporting unions.

Bush's "contributions" are his response to 9/11, including the "war of terror", the Patriot Act, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, "No child left behind" and adding Drug-reimbursement to medicare.

So, in actual effect -- if not in intent -- it is a toss up.

Just out of curiosity, when did you start paying attention to the 'Objectivist community'? If you didn't start until Obama was already in office, or close to that point, then I think the reason that you have heard a lot more complaining from us about Obama might simply be because of that. Obviously you're gonna hear more complaints about the current office holder; the past one is old news. I assure you, many of Bush's decisions were heavily criticized by Objectivists when he was making them.

I'm also curious about your adamant attempt to classify Objectivism as a right-wing philosophy based on many of its final political conclusions and who seems to be agreeing with whom, rather than delving into the core of the philosophy to better your information. It seems to me you are completely satisfied with taking into account only the most superficial and apparent aspects of Objectivism. That's fine for a first impression, but not as an informed position. It's like some layperson trying to tell the scientific community that dolphins and whales should be classified as fish because, well, look at them!

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I agree with the general sentiment, FDR is the worst US President.

This thread is an example of why I maintain that Objectivism is a right wing philosophy. How can you for one second even contemplate that Obama is worse than Bush? It's completely outrageous. I think you guys have been watching too much Fox News.

Obama is increasing deficit financed government spending at the same rate as Bush did. The only difference is that Obama is proposing tax increases to pay for that spending. Wow he actually wants to pay for spending, that's evil!

Deficit financed government spending is not the ultimate criteria by which a Laissez-faire Capitalist should judge government policies. LFC is, fundamentally, about limiting government power to the defense of rights, not deficit spending.

In fact, deficit spending can be justified when done for the right reasons (like funding a war), and when it doesn't increase debt to dangerous levels. While I don't like Bush's policies in general, I see nothing all that wrong with his deficit spending. It was not pre-planned, it was precipitated by the two wars he had to finance. Also, the size of the Bush deficit is due to another legitimate, and in fact beneficial policy: the tax cuts he enacted early in his presidency.

If you look at the more fundamental aspects of the Bush and Obama presidencies, you'll find that Obama is guilty of far more egregious power grabs, both through fiscal means (increased, dangerous spending to finance illegitimate government involvement in society: auto bailouts, stimulus, welfare, etc. at a time when the economy is bad and government debt is already high), and through regulation and plain thuggery (health care, financial reforms, etc.).

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I guess I think that Objectivism qua philosophy is neutral when it comes to the political parties. But qua philosophy that is interpreted by most American Objectivists, it becomes right wing.

I am still trying to figure out why you hang around here, since you are always dropping stealthy little hints about how much you seem to dislike Objectivism. And no, it does not *become* anything. Objectivism is Objectivism, nothing more and nothing less, it is what it is explicitly stated to be by its creator. There are people that choose to misapply it, and those people have both come from the left and the right. You are right that this has been an issue at times, but it has only been an issue of application, not the philosophy. Further, the fact that you are spearheading your comparison of two presidents on purely economic grounds makes me question your understanding of the philosophy itself. I do not feel like I can properly compare a President who has finished his terms with one that has not. I have many gripes with both Bush and Obama. Bush has done things that were completely outrageous that Obama has not, and vice versa. They are both people that have done little to improve the conditions of the nation's citizens however. When it really comes down to it both of them are deeply embedded in the corrupt neo-corporatist system we currently have here. That is all that truly concerns me. They are both corrupt, and that is enough for me to give both of them a major thumbs down.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Just to add some perspective here, can I throw out some more candidates? Hamilton, Wilson, Truman, Kennedy, Carter are some of my least favs.

Esp. Hamilton. Can the federal reserve just die already?

I don't know much about Truman, but the others are all plausible candidates. Though Hamilton was wrong, I also suspect that he was a good counterweight to Jefferson's more rationalistic tendencies toward Libertarianism; and, the fact that Jefferson ended up with a bank of his own tells us that Hamilton was not far outside the centrist view of his time. Finally, the Fed is substantially different from those earlier central banks.

Though Carter was and is a pathetic creature, I don't think he really had any lasting negative influence; and, he actually begun some liberalization that gathered steam under Reagan.

Of the ones you listed, Wilson gets my thumbs down as worst, for the following: Fed reserve, poor leadership of post WW-1 negotiations.

Edited by softwareNerd
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