POTUS Thirteen Through Eighteen
I’ll say again, the Presidents of the United States are a motley crew. So far the scorecard reads 45 attempts, 45 shortfallen. I am not saying there were no honorable persons in the group (“honorable” itself is a very unwieldy word). But I have practically no regard for the intellects of any of the half-dozen listed below. With the exceptions of the monstrous pair, Lincoln and Grant, the other 4 are bound for the abyss of the forgotten. But, to me, there is no such thing as a great President. To have been a POTUS places a black mark on that career. Few (ie none) have risen above.
On some occasions, some wisdom has been dispensed independently of the downward slide to the oval office. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the third six (13-18):
- Millard Fillmore
It is not strange… to mistake change for progress.
- Franklin Pierce
The dangers of a concentration of all power in the general government of a confederacy so vast as ours are too obvious to be disregarded.
- James Buchanan
Has the Constitution delegated to Congress the power to coerce a State into submission which is attempting to withdraw or has actually withdrawn from the Confederacy?
- Abraham Lincoln
No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.
- Andrew Johnson
There are no good laws but such as repeal other laws.
- Ulysses S. Grant
… the most confident critics are generally those who know the least about the matter criticised.
But every person who has served in furtherance of this benighted office, in my view, has a great atrocity to their name. Again, the list:
- Millard Fillmore — Know-Nothing Party, Accidental President
- Franklin Pierce — pro-slavery, cirrhosis, not renominated
- James Buchanan — alcoholic
- Abraham Lincoln — Civil War, first president to be assassinated, suspension of habeas corpus, General McClellan, Mankato mass hanging, Sand Creek Massacre
- Andrew Johnson — Native American relocation, Reconstruction, Black Codes, Impeachment
- Ulysses S. Grant — Reconstruction, scandals, KKK
— Kilgore Forelle