December 18, 2013

Panel of "distinguished historians" convened to find a President who had a worse Year 5 than Obama.

It's a history emergency over at Politico, where they've called out the experts to cast a better light on Obama than the light that's shining on him here in the present, where there are actual emergencies and the deficiencies of the experts convened to deal with them are glaringly obvious. But in the field of history, nothing occurs to expose the glitches and utter screwups. It's all already occurred and all that's left is to interpret what seems to have happened.

AND: I love the prominence of FDR and Ronald Reagan in this distinguished opinion-manufacturing. It's as if the experts know that their role in this history emergency is to boost Obama, and with that understanding, they find a way to say not only that there are Presidents with worse 5th years, but that having a wretched 5th year is the very mark of a great presidency.

58 comments:

Brando said...

Bad as Obama's Year 5 has been--and it's been awful--there are some real doozies in history. 1973 was terrible for Nixon--Watergate heating up, oil shortage, recession and inflation kicking in. He did have peace in Vietnam, but that got overshadowed.

Bush II's 2005 wasn't great either--Katrina I think was really where he started his slide and never recovered. I think that was the same year as the Harriet Miers (sp?) fiasco, and failed Social Security reform (which is unfortunate, as nearly a decade later nothing has been done to fix SS).

FDR's 1937 was pretty bad, though it wasn't a mortal wounding for his presidency. And Ike's 1957 and Reagan's 1985 weren't really bad at all. Clinton's 1997 wasn't his worst year (that'd have to be 1994, or possibly 1998 depending on whether policy failures or personal scandals outweigh the other).

Obama's 2013 is definitely his worst so far, though thinking about it--has he had a good year? He passed his stimulus and ACA but neither really helped his popularity. 2012 would have to have been his good year so far--in that the election and economy worked out just well enough that he could win reelection--but that's like saying he's the best jazz pianist in northern Alaska.

rehajm said...

In 1937, the greatest president of the twentieth century suffered the worst fifth year in presidential history.

Can't be true- In 1937 the greatest president of the 20th century was only 26 years old!

Bob Ellison said...

It's a competition? Maybe like Who Wants to Be a President?

Good executives don't set out to develop personality cults; they just execute. Obama is not a good executive, and the cult is all that sustains him now. This will not end well.

rhhardin said...

It's blame shifting.

This was brought on by idiot voters.

madAsHell said...

Down is the new up.

A study has shown that we need better experts.

This is turd polishing.

Curious George said...

5th year? Pfffft. Worst president ever. History will not be kind to this colossal failure.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Obviously we should remove term limits for presidents so that he can have a mulligan. I mean, it's just not fair that the most historically important president EVER shouldn't get the chance to finish his new new deal!

Big Mike said...

... but that having a wretched 5th year is the very mark of a great presidency.

So by their standard Nixon is one of the all-time greats?

Bob Loblaw said...

Well, one of them was honest enough to include this nugget:

If war had not come, FDR would have been a two-term president. And he would have been ranked good, not great.

Big Mike said...

History will not be kind to this colossal failure.

@Deirdre, I think history will be much harder on the media and academia and especially the leadership of his party than on him. He's probably doing his best by his lights, but his party chose poorly and the general unwillingness of most to hold Barack Obama to the same standard that a white president would be held to is a root cause of this debacle of a presidency.

Henry said...

How does LBJ not make the list? A failure of the imagination.

Lincoln's year 5 was worst of all. For Lincoln and the country.

Matthew Sablan said...

The question should really be: What President has MADE their 5th year as bad as Obama did? Reagan and FDR's fifth years had problems, but not of their own making. Every problem hitting Obama -- F&F, the Benghazi response, IRS abuse scandal, NSA abuse scandal, the failure of the ACA website [and ACA] -- are all failures of his own choosing.

Big Mike said...

Another thought, just as historians are trying to rewrite history by suggesting the Lincoln was a Democrat and not a founding member of the Republican party, so I look forward to the future history books that will proclaim Obama to have been a Republican.

rehajm said...

I'll tell you, the media, it's under the radar right now, but the media is livid about this.... And they are frosted. They are livid.....

Rush was wrong, the media isn't livid, they are capitalizing on post-president Obama's post-president popularity to bolster present-president Obama's present unpopularity.

Speak of unpopular Obama in the reverence of popular former president Obama- problem solved! Unless not, when it will be time for the reverence of future deceased president Obama...

SGT Ted said...

Matthew shhh you're spoiling the Narrative.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It would be hard for any president to have a worse fifth year than William McKinley (1843-1901) had in 1901.

SGT Ted said...

They aren't historians in doing what they are doing.

They are propagandists.

campy said...

It's as if the experts know that their role in this history emergency is to boost Obama,

All people who are not racist bigots know that that is their role every day.

Obama is Awesome!!!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Now that I think of it, Abraham Lincoln's fifth year was not without its little difficulties either.

AustinRoth said...

And obviously their next task is to project what a horrible 5th year Kennedy would have had, also in the name of improving the Obama optics problem.

Of course, that last sentence is the real issue, isn't it? As for as the MSM and Obama and his supporters are concerned, he doesn't have REAL problems and failings, just PR problems.

Hagar said...

I have been/am reading up on the early history of the United States, and the Federalists and Anti-Federalists were just as nutty about each other as today's Republicans and Democrats; they just did not have the resources to cause as much damage to the country.

Basil said...

This is what "Cult of Personality" looks like. See, Walters, Barbara calling Obama the new Messiah. We are just not used to it in America, because we used to have something called journalism.

jacksonjay said...

I am a little surprised that some feel history will be unkind to Saint Barry the Provider. Historians are honest? Historians are objective?

Who ended the Cold War and defeated the USSR? Reagan, Maggie and Paul or Gorby?

Hagar said...

Read up on what the Jeffersonians called Washington and Hamilton, and the Hamiltonians called the Jeffersonians in return.

Skipper said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0Qcv3YV4aA

AustinRoth said...

"Cult of Personality"

It started with the post-assassination hagiography of Kennedy, was tried (but failed miserably) with Carter, succeeded with Clinton, and was perfected with Obama on the campaign trail.

Thankfully, this Emperor has no clothes, and as with Carter the toxicity of his personality and his shortcomings is destroying all attempts to salvage the legitimacy of his supposed transcendency, and very, very soon (beginning to happen already, actually), the press will turn on him.

Viciously.

Basil said...

Hagar, the anti-federalists were right, but the government was not grown to grow big enough to kill the country like they predicted until the Supreme Court finished its re-write of the Constitution with Wickard in 1942.

Professor Epstein had a good article yesterday on the Supreme Court's culpability in allowing the federal government to get big enough to kill the country by changing the meaning of the Constitution. Remember, the Constitutution was intended to limit the national government and that limit is expressly written in the 10th Amendment, which should trump the Commerce Clause and the general welfare clause, since it was passed later and was intended to limit those clauses.

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jacksonjay said...


The One needs some time off! Maybe a couple of weeks spent body-surfing and golfing will do the trick! A shirtless, dripping-wet, pec pic wouldn't hurt! Shaved-ice with the girls! Dinner out with Michelle ( make-up for the selfie)!

Good as new!

Larry J said...

Curious George said...
5th year? Pfffft. Worst president ever. History will not be kind to this colossal failure.


This probably won't be true until the current generation of historians is dead and gone.

William said...

Wilson's second term was a failure of world historical proportions. He probably should not have attempted to negotiate the boundaries of the world while undergoing the mental changes associated with a stroke........Wilson is the President I most associate with Obama. His academic career was far more distinguished than Obama's, but he had that same prim demeanor and awareness of his superior intellect and rectitude.......Wilson did not feel it necessary to include a single Republican in his peace delegation. World peace, universal health insurance--who needs Republcans. They just get in te way.

Bob Boyd said...

Lookey here!
Presidents don't have bad years in a vacuum. There is an undeniable cause and effect relationship between Presidential bad years and criticism of the President in the media.
If we want the President to have better years going forward, and it would be pretty unpatriotic to want anything else, we need to focus on what we all can do to make that happen.
Think about it!

Bob Ellison said...

The great political personality cults in modern history are those of Mao, Hitler, and Stalin. Obama is not doing what they did. Obama's personality cult is more like that of the fictional character Harry Potter. The cult arose around him unwittingly.

lgv said...

Yes, indeed. This bad 5th year is sure sign of greatness, based on history.

Farms, a great idea for a suburban amenity.

Severe cold weather caused by climate change, which is caused by global warming.

I think I woke up in a strange new world. Why does cat over there have a weird smile on its face? Why are all these farm animals talking? Maybe I should go back to bed. This cold medicine is doing strange things.

SJ said...

@Bob Loblaw,

Well, one of them was honest enough to include this nugget:

If war had not come, FDR would have been a two-term president. And he would have been ranked good, not great.


That sounds weird, because FDR was elected in 1932, 1936, and 1940.

There was an unofficial war in in the Atlantic in 1940; American Naval assets were protecting convoys of supplies sold to Britain. But Pearl Harbor didn't happen until December 1941.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I assume that Jean Edward Smith, whom Bob Loblaw was quoting, was referring to the upturn in economic activity resulting from arms sales to some of the combatants-- which was very real in 1940-- and not to direct US involvement in the war.

Temujin said...

He was ill-equipped to be the President before he was ever elected. He had no experience or background to show that he was chief executive material for a shoe store company, let alone the USA. His best quality, speech-giving, was highlighted by sophomoric speeches at which adults swooned and young adults became ether-eyed. Hell- we even saw videos shortly after his election sporting groups of children singing his praises, like a scene from N. Korea. (this was after he told us it was time for the planet to heal and the seas to lower). Unicorns for everyone!

So the last ones to get that he is a bad President are the press, academia, and anyone else between the ages of 6 and 22.

He's been horrible, by any objective standard, in both domestic and foreign policies. And I see no reason to think that he'll get it going forward. Hell- he just brought on John Podesta, a raving, proud Socialist attack dog as his WH Advisor. Clearly, this is only going to get more hilarious with time.

The only question now is: at what point do 'professional journalists' (and I hate to use both of those words together) get embarrassed at their lack of insight?

Paddy O said...

Obama didn't have an especially bad year 5. Just about everything that happened to him was put into motion during his first term.

He just got found out this year. Which makes it bad for him personally. Which is I guess what this is about. Self-esteem issues as a category for how bad things can be. Bad in terms of polling.

Lots of Presidents have had worse actual 5th years, with wars or rumors of wars demanding their constant attention. Lincoln's 5th year ended up being much worse than Obama's.

Obama is the cause of everything that is worse about this year for him. If he showed the slightest bit of leadership or an ability for compromise with his opponents he wouldn't be here and he could get out pretty quickly.

He's like an alcoholic, though, it's making things worse but he can't let go of his drug of choice: his ego. He's addicted to his ego. He an egoic. Someone needs to stage an intervention.

lemondog said...

Folks, waaaay too much negativity. Rather lets consider his first terms accomplishments

Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments

First up: Health Care.... *snicker*... Reform...

CWJ said...

Basil@9:16,

Thanks for referencing Wickard. I just did some cursory googling on that case, and boy it is SOME case.

William@9:47,

I'm glad you brought up Wilson. It reminded me that the allies in WWI had much the same eyerolling reaction to him as our allies today seem to have developed for Obama.

tim maguire said...

Maybe they're the same historians who declared that history will judge GW Bush to be the worst president ever based on a bunch complaints that history has never given a crap about.

They don't make history degrees like they used to.

Michael K said...

If you think Obama's 5th year was bad, wait until 6 and 7.

Basil said...

Wickard is where the Supreme Court jumped the shark and re-wrote the entire Constitution from a document that limited the federal government to a document that empowered the federal government. We are now dealing with the results of that change - a government that has become big enough to kill the nation with debt.

LTMG said...

The contortions that the media and pundits are undertaking to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear are simply amazing. If ever they find themselves unemployed, maybe they have job opportunities in Venezuela or Argentina.

Alex said...

Just wait until year 6. Then he'll be competing with the Nixon resignation and Iran-Contra.

Ambrose said...

"The science is settled, Obama is one of our greatest presidents. What are you some kind of denier?"

"Gee, he had kind of a bad year 5."

"Of course, don't you know anything? That proves how great he is! A bad year 5 is consistent with all the greatness models."

Larry Nelson said...

History will be most unkind to the media and low information voters.

campy said...

If you think Obama's 5th year was bad, wait until 6 and 7.

Year 10 will be a doozy too.

cubanbob said...

Wickard is where the Supreme Court jumped the shark and re-wrote the entire Constitution from a document that limited the federal government to a document that empowered the federal government. We are now dealing with the results of that change - a government that has become big enough to kill the nation with debt."

Basil we always had a government capable of killing the country with debt. Wickard was simply a way to justify the spending. Now the real question is will the ObamaCare ruling putting some outer markers on Congress's powers under the commerce clause have any real world effect on Wickard?

Clyde said...

Obama has to be thankful that in Year 5, James Buchanan was back at home on his couch watching Lincoln bungle the start of the Civil War that Buchanan had helped to bring about.

rhhardin said...

Belmont Club

Peggy Noonan is also disappointed in [Obama]. In a piece titled Incompetence she argues that not only has he proved incompetent, there are no obvious limits to his incompetence.

readering said...

In fifty years historians will look back and be dumbfounded that a presidency could be deemed to be in crisis over glitches in the software for a website sign-up process and over the political post mortem into the death of an ambassador from smoke inhalation while visiting another city in the unstable country to which he had been posted.

mtrobertsattorney said...

I predict that it will not be long before Obama and his inner circle of worshippers come to the conclusion that if his Grand Vision for America is to come to fruition, he must rule by edict.

mtrobertsattorney said...

I predict that it will not be long before Obama and his inner circle of worshippers come to the conclusion that if his Grand Vision for America is to come to fruition, he must rule by edict.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Newly hired White House consigliere John Podesta:

"They need to focus on executive action given that they are facing second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress."

Rusty said...

SJ said...
@Bob Loblaw,

Well, one of them was honest enough to include this nugget:

If war had not come, FDR would have been a two-term president. And he would have been ranked good, not great.

That sounds weird, because FDR was elected in 1932, 1936, and 1940.

There was an unofficial war in in the Atlantic in 1940; American Naval assets were protecting convoys of supplies sold to Britain. But Pearl Harbor didn't happen until December 1941.

And the economy was still in the tank until Lend Lease. If it weren't for Hitler there'd still be major unemployment in 1940.

wildswan said...

The "little guy" is suffering
Poor economy
Loss of health care
Detroit bankruptcy leading to pension cuts

The Democrats have no solutions and don't even acknowledge the problem. They try to spin other people's pain. "Well, history shows that other Presidents had a hard time." Laughingly dancing in Washington to the tune of Sorrow in the Flyovers is what they won't recover from.

Cordwainer said...

Obama has been a great executor and his personality cult is not one of his own making but a natural extension of his political stances, background and party-based propaganda. Where Obama has fallen short when it comes to long term planning and his ability to control and deal with Congress on domestic issues and developing and putting forward legislation in his own right as President. He has allowed special interests and party elites walk all over him and get whatever they wanted out of him.

Benghazi was blown way out of proportion to reality and the response was actually adequate considering the facts available at the time. There is no evidence that anyone knew of the IRS scandal before it came out. The NSA scandal was brewing long before his tenure in office and it was probably in the best interests of national security to have handled it in the way it was handled. Intelligence agencies should be able to mass collect. The problem was that no one was properly policing them neither themselves, the courts or the Congress. ACA was a failure of everyone pushing too far and too fast and not putting in support mechanisms and contingency plans in place to deal with obvious problems inherent in its rollout.

If you want to go after Obama on something where you have real evidence of culpability then look at his pushing through a looser restrictions on the use of drone attacks and the various election scandals surrounding both his elections. The voter scandals in 2012 and the vetting of certain individuals to take over his seat after his 2008 election.