The Worst President

A couple of weeks ago a survey of 170 presidential historians put Donald Trump in last place—behind even James Buchanan, whom many historians blame for failing to stop the Civil War. That led me to think about a comment that Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. the preeminent political historian of our time, made about American presidents, which was this, “President serve us as inspirations, and they also serve us as warnings. They provide bad examples, as well as good.”

As to the bad examples, the Supreme Court said over one hundred years ago that “The nation has no right to expect that it will always have wise and humane rulers, sincerely attached to the principles of the Constitution. Wicked men, ambitious of power, with hatred of liberty and contempt of law, may fill the place once occupied by Washington and Lincoln.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know such a person is sitting in the White House right now.

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