US President-elect Barack Obama will seek to reverse Bush administration policies when he enters office on 20 January, his transition chief said.
John Podesta said executive orders by President George W Bush on issues such as stem cell research and oil drilling were at odds with Mr Obama’s views.
Well of course he is going to do this…he’s the new president. And I think that most of us can agree that Bush’s policies, especially those in the last few years, were not all that good. In fact, I think that he was one of the worst two-term president’s we’ve ever had. That said, let’s do a quick rundown of all the two-term presidents in U.S History that left office all by themselves (sorry JFK and Lincoln, FDR too).
1) George Washington – didn’t really do anything but ESTABLISH A FREAKIN’ COUNTRY! That’s all he really needed to do. Plus, let’s not forget that he was the only unanimously elected president ever, and he did it twice!
2) Thomas Jefferson – Before he was president, he wrote the Declaration of Independence. While he was president…he purchased Louisiana (and other land) and sent Lewis and Clark on their famed expedition. Remembered mostly for the Declaration thingee though.
3) James Madison – Was principal in writing the Constitution, but that was before he was president. The War of 1812 was fought during his presidency. That’s…about…it.
4) James Monroe – Hmm…presided during “Era of Good Feelings,” running pretty much unopposed both times he was elected. Largely forgotten as a early president (how many of you know what president he was?), his claim to fame may as well be the Monroe Doctrine.
5) Andrew Jackson – Lowered the National Debt to $33k+, leading to large depression for 8 years or so. See, we need the national debt, and Jackson proved it. Let’s see…sought to abolish the Electoral College because he was bitter over the 1824 election, was opposed to the 2nd National Bank, and nearly caused half of America to secede. Not to shabby. After Jackson, no two-term president until…
6) Ulysses S. Grant – Elected primarily because he “won” the Civil War for the Union, he served two full terms as president, during which time he oversaw Reconstruction in the South and the admittance of Colorado as a state. Had some minor scandals, but generally left the office of the president unscathed, tried to run for president again in 1880, and died of throat cancer, bankrupt. Good times. Grant Park, where President-Elect Barack Obama held his coronation…I mean, election victory is named for U.S. Grant. Not bad for someone who finished 21st out of 39 in his class at West Point.
7) Grover Cleveland – Unlike everyone else on this list, Cleveland’s terms were not consecutive, which in turns changes the second term. Not that Cleveland did anything super neat anyway, so on to the next guy…
8) Theodore Roosevelt – so he was only elected to one of the terms, but the term he finished for McKinley gives him almost 8 years as a president, so I’ll include him on this list. T.R. was the first president really concerned with conservation of the environment, and also was president when the Panama Canal began construction. He also put Lincoln on the penny, and was the first standing president to travel outside of the country (to Panama) and to ride in an automobile.
9) Woodrow Wilson – Kept the U.S. out of World War I, was re-elected based on that fact, and then sent the U.S. into WWI. Perfect example of not really caring what happens in a second term, though term limits had yet to be established at this point. His Fourteen Points were the basis for the Versailles Treaty that ended said war, proposing the “League of Nations” amongst other things. Did not pass Congress in the U.S. though. Had a stroke in 1919, and the last 18 months of his presidency were very unexciting.
10) Harry S. Truman – I’ll put Truman in the same category as T.R. Truman served nearly all of FDR’s fourth term as President, and was reelected on his own in 1948. He made the decision to drop the bombs on Japan, and saw the U.S. through the end of World War II. He advocated national health care in 1948 (Socialist!) but was still reelected. He was also president when Israel came into being, paving the way for 60 years of strife in the Middle East. Also, the United Nations was created during his first term. During his second term, the Korean War started and ended. He started to run for reelection in 1952, but lost the New HAmpshire primary and said “Fuck it!” Not really, but he just quit after that.
11) Dwight D. Eisenhower – Another war hero gets elected president, though this one actually did something. He established the Interstate Highway System in 1956, making it easier to get from place to place in this great country. He issued the Eisenhower Doctrine, which said that the U.S. would use military force to protect its interests in the Persian Gulf region (uh oh). He was big boss man when Brown vs. Board of Education was passed, and also oversaw the additions of Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states, respectively. “Ike” was well-loved and highly respected, and played by Tom Selleck in a TV movie!
12) Ronald Reagan – Boo!!!! Sold guns to bad people (Taliban in Afghanistan and Contras in Nicaragua) covertly, but also “ended” the Cold War, though the collapse of the USSR may have aided him in that. He did fix the economy by cutting the government and “non-essential” programs (Medicaid, food stamps, federal education benefits, EPA funding,) and cutting taxes to encourage spending (“trickle-down economics”). He won reelection in 1984 by a ridiculous amount, and everything was hunky dory for the next few years. Oh, except for Iran-Contra, the “War on Drugs,” and Challenger exploding. I guess he really didn’t have anything to do with the last one, but whatever.
13) Bill Clinton – Yay!!! A very domestically oriented president, he didn’t really make a big splash on the foreign policy front, instead focusing on the U.S. He balanced the budget for most of his presidency and reduced the national debt, while repealing many of the cuts that Reagan had made to programs while in office. “Black Hawk Down” happened while he was president, but if someone else had been president (ahem), we’d probably still be fighting a war there too. Also, Bosnian genocide happened as well, but he also ended that conflict without U.S. deaths.
14) George W. Bush – It hasn’t been all bad, right? He got us through September 11th, which I admit is a pretty big deal. But the PATRIOT Act and the invasion of Iraq were not the best ways to feed off all of the world-wide sympathy in the aftermath of the attack. He cut taxes, which caused programs he supported (No Child Left Behind) to be inadequately funded. He was against the Kyoto Protocol, which is a world-wide treaty signed my the majority of the world. The list is longer of countries that have signed then those that have not signed. After doing such a good ob after 9/11, he really screwed up the response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, causing renowned Political Scientist Kanye West to say “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” He also has one of the lowest approval ratings ever for a two-term president. I won’t even mention the election he stole in 2000.
So, if I were to rank these 14 individuals from top to bottom, I think this is how I would do it (totally unscientific):
1) George Washington
2) Theodore Roosevelt
3) Harry S. Truman
4) Thomas Jefferson
5) Bill Clinton
6) Woodrow Wilson
7) Dwight D. Eisenhower
8) James Madison
9) James Monroe
10) Ulysses S. Grant
11) Grover Cleveland
12) George W. Bush
13) Ronald Reagan
14) Andrew Jackson
Okay, so maybe he wasn’t the worst, but he is sure gonna make it hard for President Obama to get reelected in 2012. He has a lot of ground to make up and might not have enough time to do so.
Thanks for reading this monstrosity of a blog.
2 thoughts on “Obama ‘to use executive orders’”
You know what this reminds me of? That Presidents of the U.S. book we had to do for Mr. McMillan’s class. Do you remember that beast of a project? This is a very interesting post, though I would have put Clinton higher on the list, and Bush definitely would have held spot #14, but that’s just me. 😉
Reagan was a worse president; he did more to put the country in an economic tailspin then he helped. It was all window dressing in the end. I couldn’t overlook Bush being a “uniter” after 9/11, though the next few months could paint a different picture.I also didn’t think you could overlook what Washington and Jefferson did in forming what has become the preeminent democracy in the world, TR is just kick ass (even though he was Republican), and Truman led us out of a major war while minimalizing US casualities. The invasaion of Japan would have been 4x worse then Normandy in most people’s opinions.