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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Martin Luther King, Jr./Inauguration Day Open Thread (272 comments)

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  •  Pretty much agree with all of this .... (3+ / 0-)
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    MichaelNY, betelgeux, bumiputera

    .... but I would put Franklin Pierce as perhaps our country's worst President , with Buchanan a close second.

    •  Would you like to talk a little about Pierce? (0+ / 0-)

      I really need to learn more about 19th-century presidents other than Lincoln.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:02:53 PM PST

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      •  He had probably one of the worst (1+ / 0-)
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        post presidencies.

        Here's the history channel summary

        "Unfortunately when the Republican party needs to be a big tent party it seems to me we are doing everything we can to become a pup tent party. " — Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R)

        by lordpet8 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:11:58 PM PST

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      •  The ultimate doughface (5+ / 0-)

        The model of a northern Democrat with Southern leanings.  His nickname was "Young Hickory" -- young Andrew Jackson from New Hampshire.  Appeasing the South at every turn was the only thing he did effectively -- other than that, he was a weak, ineffective leader.  Perhaps his most effective cabinet appointment was in the War Department, where he appointed his very close friend Jefferson Davis.

        Part of this may have to do with personal things.  Shortly before being sworn in, he and his wife saw their young son crushed to death before their eyes in a train accident.  This sent his wife into a lifelong depression (she was essentially never seen as First Lady) -- and President Pierce turned to the bottle.

        And, during the Civil War, his actions really came pretty close to treason (maybe I'm going a bit too far there), but he really became an outcast in Concord.  His whole family pretty much dead by the late 1860s, he drank himself to death.  Sad case, and terrible President.

        •  interesting (0+ / 0-)

          so Polk and Pierce shared the same nickname

          "Unfortunately when the Republican party needs to be a big tent party it seems to me we are doing everything we can to become a pup tent party. " — Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R)

          by lordpet8 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 04:04:19 PM PST

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      •  Pierce? Well, (1+ / 0-)
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        He was a very dapper dresser.

        A Republican is a person who says we need to rebuild Iraq but not New Orleans. - Temple Stark

        by Christopher Walker on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:45:48 AM PST

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    •  My list (1+ / 0-)
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      of the 10 worst Presidents would be:

      1. James Buchanan
      2. Millard Fillmore
      3. Franklin Pierce (Thanks reminding me about him)
      4. Andrew Johnson
      5. George W. Bush
      6. Warren G. Harding
      7. Ulysses S. Grant
      8. John Tyler
      9. Richard M. Nixon
      10. Ronald Reagan

      Some (like Tyler, Pierce, and Buchanan) were simply ineffective, others (Harding, Nixon, and Grant) were corrupt, and some (Bush and Reagan) simply did a lot of damage to the nation.

      On the flipside, my 10 Best Presidents would be:
      1. Abraham Lincoln
      2. Franklin D. Roosevelt
      3. George Washington
      4. Theodore Roosevelt
      5. Thomas Jefferson
      6. Woodrow Wilson
      7. Harry Truman
      8. John F. Kennedy
      9. John Adams
      10. James K. Polk
      LBJ and Andrew Jackson would be on that list, but they lose points with me for Vietnam and Indian Removal, respectively.

      Student, Proud Progressive, Science Nerd, and Skeptic. Born and raised in CT-03. "Teach a man to reason, and he'll think for a lifetime."--Phil Plait

      by betelgeux on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:30:31 PM PST

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      •  What did Millard Fillmore even do? (1+ / 0-)
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        He was practically a non-entity.

        I have found a nearby soda fountain that has Fruitopia! My life is complete.

        by KingofSpades on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:31:29 PM PST

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        •  Not exactly (2+ / 0-)
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          KingofSpades, MichaelNY

          If he would not have become President, the Compromise of 1850 might not have passed.  It was ironic that President Taylor, a Louisiana slaveholder, became more distrusted by the slaveholding South, and was replaced by Millard Fillmore from Buffalo, NY -- and was hated by the anti-slavery North.

        •  No, he was horrible (1+ / 0-)
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          From Wikipedia:

          Fillmore opposed the proposal to keep slavery out of the territories annexed during the Mexican–American War in order to appease the South and so supported the Compromise of 1850, which he signed, including the Fugitive Slave Act ("Bloodhound Law") which was part of the compromise.[...]After his presidency, he joined the Know-Nothing movement; throughout the Civil War, he opposed President Abraham Lincoln and during Reconstruction supported President Andrew Johnson.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:39:35 PM PST

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          •  Here's some trivia for you (1+ / 0-)
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            Fillmore was just one of three former presidents to later run for office under a third party, the Know Nothings in 1856.

            The other two were Martin Van Buren as the Free Soil nominee in 1848 and Teddy Roosevelt as the Progressive Party nominee in 1912.

            NC-06/NC-04; -9.12, -8.62; Yellow Dog Democrat

            by sawolf on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:45:28 PM PST

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      •  No mention of Calvin Coolidge? (3+ / 0-)
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        MichaelNY, jncca, bumiputera

        His policies were far more responsible for the ridiculous inequality of the 1920s and the Great Depression than Hoover.

        I think Andrew Jackson was a terrible president all around.  He started an incredibly corrupt system of patronage (the spoils system), defied the Supreme Court and committed Ethnic Cleansing (trail of tears) and to top it all of caused a Depression by killing the second Bank of the United States which allowed financial speculators to go crazy and cause a financial crisis.

        I do largely agree with your top 5 worst, though having Pierce, Fillmore, and Buchanan in there seems rather unfair considering George W. Bush only gets to count once and he served just two years less.

        NC-06/NC-04; -9.12, -8.62; Yellow Dog Democrat

        by sawolf on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:36:36 PM PST

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      •  What do you like about Polk? (2+ / 0-)
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        sawolf, bumiputera

        Do you credit him with the Mexican-American War, which I consider a tremendous act of imperialist aggression, or do you like him for some of his other achievements?

        Here's a summary from Wikipedia:

        Polk was the last strong pre–Civil War president, and he is the earliest of whom there are surviving photographs taken during a term in office. He is noted for his foreign policy successes. He threatened war with Britain over the issue of which nation owned the Oregon Country, then backed away and split the ownership of the region with Britain. When Mexico rejected American annexation of Texas, Polk led the nation to a sweeping victory in the Mexican-American War, which gave the United States most of its present Southwest. He secured passage of the Walker tariff of 1846, which had low rates that pleased his native South, and he established a treasury system that lasted until 1913.

        Polk oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first postage stamps in the United States. He promised to serve only one term and did not run for reelection. He died of cholera three months after his term ended.

        Certainly an important president. I'm unsure whether he should be called great, though.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:43:42 PM PST

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        •  well first the difference should be considered (2+ / 0-)
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          sawolf, MichaelNY

          between great (important, powerful, influential) and great (very good).  I don't think Polk was enough of either to be in the top 10 of either.  Whereas Jackson could very well be in the top 10 of the first and the bottom 10 of the second way of defining great.

          ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

          by James Allen on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:45:38 PM PST

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