Wednesday at noon I ran five miles on the Mall with my work running group. We talked presidents as we trotted past the statues of Grant and Garfield below the Capitol, by the FDR and Jefferson Memorials over on the Tidal Basin, past the Washington Monument and up to the Lincoln Memorial, with the Kennedy Center visible off to our right.
Between the four of us, we all agreed on the Worst President ever. That's spelled with a capital W. Did anyone ever vote for this guy? Twice?
Being federal workers, we all have a personal stake in this administration's performance, in that the centerpiece of our retirement plan is our TSP (Thrift Savings Plan) account, along with social security. I know many federal workers who have lost over $100,000 out of their TSP plans since the end of the summer. Some accounts have diminished by 40% or more in a few short months, after years of assiduous buildup. Hello Social Security!
It is unbelievable to me that the current guy thought he had "political capital" immediately after stealing the 2004 election in Ohio and he was going to spend it by privatizing social security. Events overtook him and he never got this cherished Republican agenda done. Imagine if he had! The financial carnage these looters foisted upon us through their lax enforcement and reckless deregulation could have impoverished all of us for the rest of our lives.
What amazes me is that as we impatiently wait for the Decider and his crowd to leave, mainstream pundits speak blithely about their vast shortfalls as if they are absolute givens. Joe Klein of Time writes of this administration's "stupefying ineptitude." Bob Herbert of the New York Times writes that we "lionized dimwits." I don't know why these columnists thought it was necessary to sugarcoat the situation.
What was interesting to me, being a history major, was how quickly the running group dispensed with their unanimous judgment on the Worst ever and started squabbling about the next Worst. There was no consensus here. One had it for Buchanan, for leading us up to the Civil War through his astonishing inaction. One had it for LBJ for giving us Vietnam in his astonishing arrogance. Another had it for Hoover for giving us the Great Depression. The last one argued for Nixon for leaving us with a legacy of duplicitous crookedness and meanness in modern politics.
It's apparently a toss up between Buchanan, Hoover, Johnson and Nixon for the second-worst president ever. W has clearly separated himself from this pack.