I probably should have worked something up yesterday for this, but, you know, three-day weekend.  Those pointless analyses of blockbuster films don’t create themselves, you know.  Instead, let’s have a pointless analysis of the American presidents.  I’d like to know what you think about the 45 men who have served as the heads of state of the home of Le Big Mac.

This is a Discourses post.  I’m not interested in partisan motivations.  You shouldn’t feel like you have to attack or defend a particular president’s record because (R) or (D).  These types of conversations are all about saying what you think without getting bashed or feeling like you’re playing for a particular team.  It’s just you and what you really think.

Intellectual freedom.  When do you ever get to do that?  Think of it as a “safe space” except your honest opinions are welcomed, not pushed out.  I moderate these threads aggressively to promote high-quality discussion, so don’t be an asshole.

Let me offer some good conversation-starter questions.  You don’t have to answer any of them to take part in the discussion.  You can jump in with whatever you like as long as it’s on-topic.

  1. Who were the best and worst US presidents and why?
  2. Which president had the most impact on our world today?
  3. Which president do you think had the best understanding of his role?  You can interpret this in a few ways.  Think about which president was most faithful to the job description in Article II of the Constitution.  Maybe which president applied the powers of the presidency in the way you think was wisest?  The position has evolved so much over time that I’m not sure we really understand what it is supposed to be anymore.
  4. Which president do you think is the most misunderstood?  This could be either presidents who were unpopular in their own time but made the right decisions or presidents who we get wrong today, for good or bad.
  5. Let’s play Alternate History.  You don’t like the president you got?  Fine.  Let’s talk about what would happen if the other guy (or gal) won.  How does Al Gore respond to 9/11?  What happens in year one of the Hillary Clinton presidency (spoiler: endless Congressional hearings and investigations)?  What if Lincoln didn’t win the 1860 election?  Nixon won in 1960, so what happens in Vietnam?  Endless possibilities.

For what it’s worth, I think Franklin D Roosevelt is still the most impactful on the present day.  He engineered a breathtaking expansion of the role of the president and the federal government with it.  He pushed us into involvement into World War 2 and by the time it was over, the US had begun its “imperial” superpower status it has today.

Gun control is a hot topic this week and it was FDR who signed into law the first federal gun law that restricted certain classes of weapons.   He ended Prohibition and I get drunk at least once a week.  Finally, he was the first president to effectively wield electronic media to communicate his message directly the American people.  Had Twitter been around, he’d have used it too.

What do you think?

41 comments

  1. I’m not as enamored with FDR as you are. He was the Hillary (riding on the coattails of a beloved relative) before Hillary. He ran (and got elected) as a free market capitalist; promising a 25% across the board tax cut, a lowering of the national budget, repealing both Prohibition and Smoot-Hawley, he was one for four. He did massively raise taxes, increased spending, introduced large amounts of new regulations and never served a day as President when unemployment was below 10%. And that whole Japanese Internment episode, 100,000 plus thrown into concentration camps, property forfeited.

    Those I admire;

    Washington- honor bound most of his adult life, he knew the fragile state of the new Republic he had a major hand in creating. Even when he wanted to be left alone, to live out his twilight years in peace on his farm, he put country over self.

    Jefferson- for having the foresight to double the existing size of the nation, even when it was not popular with Congress.

    Lincoln- but not for the usual reasons. Yes, he kept the Republic together (probably no other man could have done it), but his life in the WH was mared by tragedy. Having a crazy wife, losing 2 sons, constantly reading the casualty lists, everyone around him ripping him in the press, dealing with recalcitrant generals, he still not only persevered, but kept his sense of humor in the process. A fragile man who let circumstances define his greatness.

  2. “Enamored” isn’t how I would describe my feelings toward FDR. I’m not a fan of his. What I mean to say is that his presidency was enormously consequential and we’re still dealing with it. As a leader, nobody can question his impact on the direction of our country and even the world, love him or hate him.

    I like the Mount Rushmore trifecta for your favorite choices, but why no love for Teddy Roosevelt?

  3. I like the Mount Rushmore trifecta for your favorite choices, but why no love for Teddy Roosevelt?

    Ha, I didn’t even think about that…………nice. OK, Teddy, ummm, how about this, he was the only President to actually deserve his Nobel Peace Prize.

  4. Worst presidents? I think James Buchanan ranks up there.

    Best: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Eisenhower (also for #3) Harry Truman (#2)

    Most misunderstood: I think Nixon would fall into this category. He was actually a moderate as President, ended the Vietnam War and helped create detente with Russia and open trade with China (it would have happened sooner or later no matter who was President) and was fairly proactive on the environment. Also maybe Woodrow Wilson. Many conservatives hate him because of the League of Nations and liberals aren’t fond of him because of the racism of his time, but America became a world power under his presidency, and his faculties weren’t intact during his final days in office, so he deserves some sympathy.

    What ifs: What if Tilden had won the 1876 Presidential election?
    http://www.todayinah.co.uk/index.php?userid=guest@todayinah.co.uk&searchfield1=Samuel+Tilden

    What if Henry Wallace had remained Vice President when FDR died?

    WI Eisenhower had run in 1948?

  5. Teddy, ummm, how about this, he was the only President to actually deserve his Nobel Peace Prize.

    What about National Parks? Were those a good idea?

    Worst presidents? I think James Buchanan ranks up there.

    Historians generally agree with you. It’s hard to do worse than helplessly watching the Union break up, refusing to act, and paving the way for the holocaust that ensued.

    Most misunderstood: I think Nixon would fall into this category.

    Totally agreed. The man was an extremely capable president, but he didn’t understand the limits of his power.

    Also maybe Woodrow Wilson.

    See, I always rank him among the worst. I’d like to see someone make a strong case for him.

    WI Eisenhower had run in 1948?

    I don’t think the Korean War would have happened. If it had, it would have been shorter. Ike and MacArthur had a good relationship and if there had been a war, I think the objectives would have been better laid out, more limited, and more decisive.

  6. 1. best Washington, he set a number of great precedents, and did not fuck to much up.
    Worst FDR. vastly expanding the governments role in the daily lives of citizens, making the dsepression last longer, forcing us into the European war, interment camps threats against the Supreme court via packing, gold confiscation laws… sucking up to the russians.. ect ect..

    2. FDR again. for many reasons you cited.

    3, Jefferson probably…

    4 Nixon is a good choice for being misunderstood i agree with WVR’s points.

    5 oh darn i was gonna pick What if Wallace had stayed on the Democrat ticket.

    so,. What if Nixon had defeated Kennedy? ir if Carter had scratched out a win over Reagan?

  7. if Carter had scratched out a win over Reagan?

    Whoa, I never thought about that before. For starters, I think the GOP takeover of the House would have happened by 1984 instead of 1994.

  8. WI Dole had won in 1996?

    I’m thinking if Dole wins in 1996, it’d be like Reagan’s second term. Mostly prosperous and fairly uneventful. That’s one election I think would’ve been markedly better for the US if only because we would have been spared the impeachment drama of Clinton.

    Can’t say if he would have done more about the rise of Islamic terrorism though. I’d have to take a better look at his Senate record and platform to see what he was going to do.

  9. Interesting timing considering.

    My favorite…Washington’s an easy one. The guy could have been a King. He’s the type we need running the country regardless of political affiliation.

  10. Interesting timing considering.

    Clearly every bit as objective and unbiased as Rotten Tomatoes reviews, I’m sure.

    I went off about Obama’s absurdly high ranking last year, but the one that really perplexes me is Wilson’s. That guy was seriously evil.

  11. Let’s play Alternate History.

    What if Crooked Hillary had won in 2016?

    Before taking office, Cooked Hillary needs to clean house, so she settles a class action lawsuit against her that alleges that she committed fraud, breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation of bad faith.

    Conservatives say they are looking forward to having a President that is different from all those lying politicians.

    She was also the subject of 16 separate sexual harassment claims, which she claims are all lies, despite being caught on tape admitting she likes to force herself on men and ‘grab them by the dong’. One of the accusers is suing her for defamation, but Clinton claims that now she’s president she should be immune from lawsuits as ‘it would distract her from her public duties’.

    Paul Ryan says that while he believes all women, these particular 16 women are all lying, and that the idea of a President being above the law is ‘troubling, but I didn’t see that tweet’.

    She wins as least popular Democratic candidate ever, so her inauguration is a wash out with very few people turning up to watch. In addition, across the country, conservatives gather to protest in the biggest single day of demonstration against an individual in world history. Even though there is TV footage of the smaller crowd sizes, Crooked Hillary sends her press secretary out to claim that it was actually the biggest in a blatant lie.

    Fox news says this is fine.

    Despite the ethics committee advising that she divest herself of the Clinton Foundation, Crooked Hillary refuses, and even names the Foundation HQ the ‘Southern Whitehouse’, and charges people to visit. In fact as she’s president now, she up the fees. It’s fine anyway because it’s going to be run by Bill, and we all know he’d never do anything dodgy. This may or may not be unconstitutional, but hey, what are you going to do?

    Axios says this is fine.

    Hillary then proposes amnesty for refugees immediately, and without her administration thinking the policy through logisticslly. The implementation leads to chaos, as the new rules are open to interpretation, and people are left stranded in Airports. The rule is later struck down by a judge. Crooked Hillary questions the legitimacy of a Fox news reporter who reports on the chaos, and says that the Judges are biased against her.

    Sean Hannity says this shows strong leadership.

    Crooked Hillary appoints her own daughter as a senior advisor, and she uses her name to gain favourable investments in China, with the promise of visas. What’s weird is that when Chelsea Clinton was filling in her security form, and was asked if he’d been meeting with foreig officials, she ticked ‘no’ – when it was later uncovered that she’d actually been meeting with over 100. We later find out about a meeting with an enemy spy that she also forgot to mention. She’s also keen to install secret backchannel communications with the Chinese government so she can make deals without anyone knowing.

    Fox news says that this isn’t suspicious and that filling in forms is hard. And nepotism is cool!

    When militant ANTIFA terrorists murder a woman by deliberately running her over with a car. Hillary claims that there are good people on the side of the murderers.

    Breitbart says that the debate about the terrorists demands is well overdue.

    It emerges that Crooked Hillary’s lawyer paid $145,000 to a porn star to cover up news of a time when they banged and did some weird stuff with a magazine. Hillary is also accused by a male model of having an affair with her – both while she was married.

    Axios says that this is fake news, and after it is proven, they say that we all knew Hillary is a horn dog, so it’s all fine.

    It emerges that her staff secretary was a wife beater, and that he didn’t have enough security clearance to handle the national security materials he was handling. Crooked Hillary knew this, but didn’t care enough about the nations security to do anything about it. She comes out in favour of the man accused of beating his wives.

    Alex Jones wonders what the big deal is about national security anyway.

    Several more of Hillary’s appointees are found with their hand in the cookie jar. The secretary of the interior is investigated for inappropriate use of funds, the secretary of veterans affairs used taxpayers money to fly to watch a tennis match in Wimbledon, the HHS chief spend tax payer money on private jets, and her National Security Advisor turns out to be working for a different country.

    Sebastian Gorka just shrugs and says that you can’t get every hire 100% right.

    Legislatively it’s a mixed bag. Her promise to extend Obamacare fails several times, as she can’t get her own party to agree. Her promise to build infrastructure and get Canada to pay for it doesn’t materialise, and she’s now dropped the part about Canada paying for it.

    The one piece of legislation she does pass is a fiscal giveaway. Despite promising tax reform, what she actually does is borrow a Trillion dollars, and redistribute the wealth to people and corporations. George Soros saves $1.4 billion, so he donates half a million dollars to the DNC.

    Congressional Republicans say “Sometimes you have to go into a little bit of debt to make your business stronger.”

    At the end of her first year, Fox News gives her an A minus, saying that she’s got a lot of important things done, and is always putting America first. The minus part is because she’s shrill.

  12. Let’s play Alternate History.

    What if Crooked Hillary had won in 2016?

    I’ll run with the premise, but leave aside the un-Discourseslike partisan point-scoring. I’m only remarking on it at all because you clearly worked very hard on that and I want to acknowledge that I appreciate the irony and all. So good work.

    That aside, it’s a good premise. I’d say that she would be in deep shit. The House Intelligence Committee would still be investigating the Steele Dossier, and the Judiciary Committee in both houses of Congress would still be looking into Mueller and McCabe’s role in squashing the email investigation. So that would be the same.

    However, all of it would be working into a narrative that the election was rigged in Clinton’s favor after the previous Administration spied on her opponent’s campaign. Former candidate Trump would be aggravating the shit out of on Twitter and Fox News every single day.

    Any agenda she was planning to pursue would be dead-on-arrival as Republicans hate her even more than they did Obama. She’d have zero chance of getting anything through Congress and we’d be in the same stasis we have been since 2010.

    Since Hillary is a friend of Harvey Weinstein’s, the #MeToo movement probably wouldn’t have sprung from that as the media would have found it inconvenient.

    I could see her withdrawing Garland’s nomination and nominating a far-Left crony instead to fill Scalia’s SCOTUS seat. From there, it would just be a matter of time until a case made it to SCOTUS to overturn Heller and solidify a permanent liberal majority on the Court.

    Oh, and she’d permanently extend DACA by Executive Order. The illegality of this would further inflame the Right, but Congress wouldn’t act.

    Truth be told, I honestly think a Hillary Clinton presidency would have led to civil war. I’m not even exaggerating. You’d be seeing a Charlottesville every month at the beginning and it would just go downhill from there.

    You can be upset that Trump won, but you also have to acknowledge that he’s straitjacketed by the reluctance of the federal bureaucracy to obey him, federal judges who are willing to issue lunatic rulings to thwart his orders, and a hostile media.

    Hillary Clinton would have had all of these fully willing to do her bidding with no restraints unless Congress decided to try and impeach her. They still wouldn’t remove her from office because “Uh, we don’t have supermajority.

    To me, that scenario is too terrifying to come to terms with. You can disagree with me and say, “Oh, she’s not that bad.” Even if you could convince me, you’d still have millions of pissed off people on the Right and they’re far more frightening when they’re pissed off than a bunch of people wearing pussy hats.

  13. I’ll run with the premise, but leave aside the un-Discourseslike partisan point-scoring.

    My bad – I actually forgot it was a discourses post. So I humbly admit my nomination for best president as Alexander Hamilton because he has the best rhymes. #lowinformationvoter

    For what it’s worth, I think that your assessment is correct – maybe not as far as civil war, but definitely as divided, if not more so.

  14. My bad – I actually forgot it was a discourses post.

    I don’t want you to misunderstand and think I’m not impressed. I am.

    For what it’s worth, I think that your assessment is correct – maybe not as far as civil war, but definitely as divided, if not more so.

    Divided, for sure. For the record, I’m saying that if “my side” had lost the 2016 election, it’s “my side” that would have taken the violent path. I do not say that with pride or happiness.

  15. Don’t forget that there are a bunch of people on ‘my side’ (me included? Maybe? I dunno) who would be just as pissed off.

  16. Don’t forget that there are a bunch of people on ‘my side’ (me included? Maybe? I dunno) who would be just as pissed off.

    Yeah, but we have the guns.

  17. So in a discourse thread we can’t actually have discourse. This is the kind of shit that makes me want to quit reading.

    I told you Thrill, you can play the nice guy card and only want to “have honest debate” but that only works when both sides agree to it.

    Good luck with all that.

  18. One area that would be identical with a Hilliary win, the outright delays and obstruction Nunes has so far received from his document requests. I swear, the glacial speed at which a supposed Trump Executive branch has moved in co operating with a lawfully mandated congressional subpoena, who’s side are they on, forchrrissakes.

  19. So in a discourse thread we can’t actually have discourse. This is the kind of shit that makes me want to quit reading.

    I’m not sure what you mean though. I set ground rules so this doesn’t turn into a predictable “TRUMP SUCKS!”…..”NO, OBAMA SUCKED!” pissing match.

    The idea of a Discourses thread is that we can talk about topics without these guys over here who watch CNN saying what CNN wants them to say and those who watch Fox doing likewise. We discuss those points on those terms all of the time on every other thread. Nothing wrong with it, but I want to talk about the US presidents without doing it. Is that too much to ask? Hell, even historians aren’t able to do it, going by Zurvan’s link.

    This is one of the reasons we haven’t had a Discourses post in months, you know. I personally love the idea of having moderated discussions every now and then that try to bring out the best possible quality of debate without it devolving into whatever the predictable partisan bullshit of the day is. Apparently, I’m the only fucking guy on Earth who feels that way.

    Nope. People would rather fight and bitch about whether or not Sean Hannity sucks. We ought to just have one day where I just copy and paste “OBAMA SUCKED” 100 times and then JDPS can throw up a post copy and pasting “TRUMP IS A CUCK” 100 times and let whoever wants to fight over it do so.

    I told you Thrill, you can play the nice guy card and only want to “have honest debate” but that only works when both sides agree to it.

    I chided ilovecress for doing it and refused to address those points. I then responded to his central premise (what if Hillary won?) which was within the scope of the discussion. He acknowledged that he made a mistake by posting that argument here and we moved on.

    Note that I also let Rich’s dig at Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize go undeleted and without comment, if you think I’m not being fair to conservatives. I only mentioned ilovecress’s at all because he clearly put a lot of work into it and I did it really sarcastically. Again, my only response to it was to note that it doesn’t belong on this thread.

    If you think I let ilovecress off with too gentle a rebuke, then alright.

    “ilovecress, you Communist ass-bag. How dare you hijack my Discourses thread with your Trump Derangement Syndrome? I will delete you across time and space, you pervert.”

    Nah, I went easy on him because I know how he is. He said “My bad” and I know that he got the message. We’ve been discussing things for years and I know what enough is in his case. Is anyone else besides me capable of ignoring his out of bounds comment and moving on or do I have to cull it? If I do, I’m also going to have to do it to Rich’s. If I do that, I’m sure someone else will complain that I’m not allowing discussion because I’m deleting comments.

    FML, folks.

    Let’s reboot this.

    Rich: Your tongue-in-cheek comment about Nobel Prizes was funny, but a cheap shot.

    ilovecress: What you wrote was flamebait and you know it. Have some respect for what I’m trying to do here. You’re better than that.

    Now can we please have a discussion or should I just go ahead and put up that “Does Obama Suck More Than Trump?” post where everybody robotically throws up whatever they heard on Huffington Post or Red State until they get bored? Because you all know I will do it. I won’t enjoy it, but I’ll do it if that’s what you guys really want.

    Sweet Janet Jackson. Can’t even have a decent conversation about anything these days. It makes me sad and it should make everyone else sad too.

  20. Alright, I’ve had my rant and a snack break. I’d like to resume the thread.

    I swear, the glacial speed at which a supposed Trump Executive branch has moved in co operating with a lawfully mandated congressional subpoena, who’s side are they on, forchrrissakes.

    This is worthy of exploration and it even ties in to the Discourses topic I almost went with this week: how much does the president even really matter?

    After the election, I asked a colleague how he felt about Trump’s win. He said, “Well, I would’ve preferred Rand Paul, but Trump will be fine. The president doesn’t do very much. The government mostly runs itself.”

    I was truly surprised by that. But it’s looking more and more like he was right. Trump really doesn’t seem to have as much power as I always assumed a president does. He tweets about McCabe being fired before retirement, but that just highlights that he can’t actually fire him.

    That concept is incredible to me. When did this start? I don’t know of any other case where the president so clearly had so little control of the Executive Branch administration . It seems to be by design and I’m wondering how and when it came about.

    If it’s true, then how much do presidents really matter, in the grand scheme? What’s their role?

  21. Firstly, apologies – I saw the opportunity for a wisecrack and took it. Happy for the post to be deleted if needs be. Your presidents discussion was way beyond my A Level History education and the fact that I read Dan O’Briens book.

    If it’s true, then how much do presidents really matter, in the grand scheme? What’s their role?

    Maybe it’s a bit more esoteric than simply legislating. This may be my perspective from outside the US, but the President basically IS America’s brand. And the brand matters in terms of getting things done without spending any money or spilling any blood.

    And related to that, the President is who everyone turns to when shit goes down. In a global sense too. Despite the flaws I felt he had, Bush was still the person everyone looked to (and supported, in a global sense) after 9/11. Whatever your thoughts on Obama, him getting Bin Laden was a big leadership moment for the US. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Reagan in the 85 Hijacking – there are heaps.

    Internationally that’s our perspective on presidents I guess – who most embodied the American brand of freedom, liberty and civic decency that us Europeans are trying to shoehorn our weird archaic civilisations into.

    We’ve got Winston Churchill, and that’s been our brand for over 100 years. Thatcher I guess. Are you guys going to look towards Theresa May for leadership during the next crisis. She went missing during Grenfell.

    This is also your reminder that I’m technically the subject of a 91 year old Queen, so your system isn’t really that fucked up in comparison.

  22. Meh. I responded before I read the rest of he thread. No need for deleting posts and what not. I’m just really hopeful we can have discussions without over the top partisanship BS all the time. I’m all for fun threads to poke each other at times, but when it’s actually called out to tone it down it’d be awesome for that to actually happen. Over the top partisanship ruined (among other things) RTFTLC and I’m hoping that doesn’t happen here.

  23. This is worthy of exploration and it even ties in to the Discourses topic I almost went with this week: how much does the president even really matter?

    The point being is that the Constitutionally mandated separation of powers demands that each branch respects the other and complies with lawful requests and subpoenas. The Trump judicial arm (both A.G. and FBI) has delayed, stonewalled and outright ignored lawful requests from Nunes and other heads of congressional committee’s for documents they have a perfect right to see. I wouldn’t like it if Hillary did it and I certainly don’t like it when Trump does.

  24. We are still suffering the effects of Andrew Johnson’s failed Presidency. In another time he may have been a better President but the same could be said of many Presidents. They play the hand that they are dealt just like the rest of us.

  25. That’s an interesting question. Other than Lincoln, which President was handed the biggest shit storm, and dealt with it the best?

  26. Conversely, which President left the biggest shit storm for his predecessor to clean up?

    If we’re not counting Buchanan going into Lincoln, I think it’s George W Bush. Obama got a near-economic collapse and two unwinnable wars handed to him on day one.

    I could mention Hoover, but I think he did the best he could with the Great Depression. FDR made it worse and I think Hoover unfairly gets the blame.

    There’s also Madison, who left Monroe with the War of 1812 quagmire. Monroe ended up having to flee the White House thanks to a war his predecessor started.

    I’ll get to the other replies when I can. Lot to unpack.

  27. I’d give it to Truman on the grounds of whether to drop the atomic bomb or not…not that that was the previous President’s fault per se, but what a thing to face in your first few months of an unexpected Presidency.

  28. Zurvan, was about to suggest Truman. I can quibble with the decision, but he certainly was left a pile of shit in the tail end and aftermath of WWII.

  29. Rich: Your tongue-in-cheek comment about Nobel Prizes was funny, but a cheap shot.

    Gee, I didn’t think so, but OK. I didn’t name him by name, most of his own party saw how ludicrous it was to award such an important achievement to a new guy just for being him, and for over a hundred years Teddy’s ancestors and those American’s that were aware were proud that a sitting US president won the Nobel Peace Prize for actually brokering a peace between 2 Waring nations. It was a big deal. But like Cress, now that I know what the rules are, I’ll do better in the future.

  30. This is also your reminder that I’m technically the subject of a 91 year old Queen

    Cress, OT but what do you think of Prince Harry marrying an American?

  31. Gee, I didn’t think so, but OK.

    I know, I know. I have to at least provide the illusion of being evenhanded.

  32. Firstly, apologies – I saw the opportunity for a wisecrack and took it.

    It’s okay. I’m climbing down off my cross now. We’ll speak no more of it.

    Despite the flaws I felt he had, Bush was still the person everyone looked to (and supported, in a global sense) after 9/11. Whatever your thoughts on Obama, him getting Bin Laden was a big leadership moment for the US. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Reagan in the 85 Hijacking – there are heaps.

    It’s interesting though that you mentioned so many PM’s and then mentioned the Queen. I wonder to what degree the president isn’t figurehead in modern America. There is the “vision thing” that presidents provide in the bad times, but it almost seems like it’s all coming down to judicial nominations when we look at what actually counts in the long term.

    Whether this means we need to make changes to the Executive or Judicial branch is a topic for another discussion.

  33. Over the top partisanship ruined (among other things) RTFTLC and I’m hoping that doesn’t happen here.

    I hope you understand that you, of all people, threatening to quit reading cuts me deeply. I’ll be explaining my recent direction in an upcoming post.

  34. I’d give it to Truman on the grounds of whether to drop the atomic bomb or not…not that that was the previous President’s fault per se, but what a thing to face in your first few months of an unexpected Presidency.

    Truman is one of those men you read about and end up gaining a tremendous amount of respect for. He’s one of the “misunderstood” presidents. Deeply unpopular when he left office, but vindicated by time, for the most part. Also totally incorruptible.

  35. We are still suffering the effects of Andrew Johnson’s failed Presidency.

    This is very true, specifically as far as the South is concerned. Had Lincoln lived, he would have been able to spare it the worst excesses of the radicals in Congress and managed Reconstruction tons better.

    It’s always strange to me that history books basically say, “The Civil War ended and then America went on to become a great power.” The South was devastated after the Civil War and it took a couple of generations to truly recover (if it ever really did).

    Fun fact: Woodrow Wilson grew up in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. He knew what it was like to grow up among a defeated people and that was his primary motivation for giving the Germans a just peace after WWI. Nobody listened to him among the Allies. Consequences.

  36. The Trump judicial arm (both A.G. and FBI) has delayed, stonewalled and outright ignored lawful requests from Nunes and other heads of congressional committee’s for documents they have a perfect right to see. I wouldn’t like it if Hillary did it and I certainly don’t like it when Trump does.

    For this situation, I blame Congress, honestly. Remember my post about the Strzok/Page texts? There was a whole thing there about how Trey Gowdy went off on a FBI official for stonewalling. The texts confirmed that he was put up to it and it was a coordinated effort by the FBI.

    Congress needs to nut up and start impeaching Executive branch officials who do this. It set a bad precedent when they found Holder in contempt but didn’t impeach him. If they would just do this to one or two FBI/DOJ officials, the rest would get the message and knock it off.

    I’m not sure the president can do much about this anymore, honestly.

  37. Strong evidence suggests (we don’t know for sure until the IG report comes out) that an unsubstantiated opposition research dossier was the “probable cause” used to secure the Page FISA warrant. Conflicting statements by those in the room say McCabe either said that a warrant would have been impossible without the dossier or he didn’t, again, the IG report will tell us for sure. The congressional investigative committees have jurisdiction as well into these areas. They want to know what the basis was for the Page warrant and how was the illegal Hillary server investigation compromised by later found out partisan FBI agents. Some believe The Exclusionary Rule might apply here, that fruit of the poisonous tree is equally poisonous and an affront to our judicial system. McCabe knew most of the dossier was unverified yet still presented it to the FISA court.

    Contempt of Congress resolutions are being drafted against both Rosentein and Wray for their noncompliance in lawful congressional requests for documents. This is not how it’s supposed to work. The FBI works for the Dept. of Justice, and Justice is part the Executive so Trump is the boss. Maybe Congress does need to start impeaching some of these guys but it seems to me that Sessions could call them all into his office with an order to quit stonewalling. This of course assumes that Trump/Sessions want complete exposure. If they have something to hide, well, that’s another matter.

  38. Well, Rich, for everything related to the dossier, I’d have to refer you to some of my posts on the topic. They’re beyond the scope of this thread.

    For the rest, I’m wondering what Sessions can do. He’s technically recused from anything related to the election. A president should, theoretically, be able to threaten them all with firing but I’m guessing that their independence has made them bulletproof since Watergate.

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