Least Bad?

Is it possible that Donald Trump is the least bad president of recent memory? That’s Matthew Walther’s claim at The Week:

This should not be such a hard argument to make. Iraq alone should and ultimately will seal George W. Bush’s reputation as one of the least qualified men ever to hold the title of commander-in-chief. Nice guy. Would love to catch a ball game with him or talk about painting at a Houston barbecue. Charismatic, too — but also pollyannish, a failson, and a poor judge of character. If only Jeb were less of a dork.

Barack Obama was, at least initially, a brilliant rhetorician. But his achievements in office were few. The Affordable Care Act was at best a stopgap and at worst a sop to insurance companies, whose stranglehold over the provision of medical care is now all but unbreakable. On the advice of Hillary Clinton, he overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, the mad eccentric who had ruled Libya for many years. The result is the migration crisis that has destroyed European social democracy. No president has done more to speed up the destruction of the post-war world order than Obama, albeit unwittingly. His only significant attempt at diplomacy, the nuclear deal made with Iran, was a meaningless formal exercise in making a deal for its own sake.

You don’t need to stop with George W. Bush. Bill Clinton granted China Most Favored Nation trading status and promoted its membership in the World Trade Organization without adequate preconditions, moves which resulted in the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs. George H. W. Bush laid the groundwork for the attacks on 9/11 by stationing American troops in Saudi Arabia. And on and on back to the Kennedy Administration. We’ve had execrably bad foreign policy over the period of the last more than 50 years.

The connecting link in all of these errors is that they did not promote American interests. I can’t say along with Mr. Walther that they were based on sentiment. I don’t know what they were based on.

6 comments… add one
  • Gray Shambler

    Wishful thinking.
    Based on.

  • Andy

    Trump is halfway through his first term. I’d say it’s a bit premature to be sorting him against any former President.

  • Given that various and sundry have been proclaiming Trump the worst president ever since at least May of 2017, I’m surprised at the author’s forebearance.

  • Roy Lofquist

    “The connecting link in all of these errors is that they did not promote American interests. I can’t say along with Mr. Walther that they were based on sentiment. I don’t know what they were based on.”

    In my lifetime there have been two Presidents who were not owned, lock, stock and barrel, by a political party – Eisenhower and Trump.

    Politicians are honorable men – they stay bought. If they don’t stay bough they don’t stay around.

  • steve

    This seems like a popularity contest. Conservatives will hate all of Obama’s policies and love those of the GOP, with a few exceptions. Vice versa for liberals. So, yes some people will consider Trump a good president, but we already knew that. In this case a conservative writer likes Trump. Not sure why that merits much attention.

    That said, I have made the case that Trump is not as bad as many feared. He has poor leadership skills and no ability to make deals with much of anyone, so not much legislation is actually getting passed and the courts are holding back a lot of his attempts to change things since they keep having the Miller guy write policy and rules, rather than an actual professional.

    Steve

  • Guarneri

    This is one of a couple points I’ve tried to make. I’m no big Trump fan. But he is the separated at birth twin of a guy I worked with, and I understand him. More importantly, we have had cads and such during my life from Kennedy through today. But it is rare to see someone tackling tough issues and the fallout be damned. In recent memory we have Bill Clinton who more than anything just wanted to be president. A misguided GWB. And a smooth talking empty suit. Large Corporate climber man Obama.

    At least Trump is going after three of the most important issues of our day: out of control immigration, disadvantageous managed trade and foreign adventurism. That upsets the elites and the entrenched. Add to that the potential to expose true criminality. So they hate him. They will do anything to destroy him. Anything. For that reason alone he has my support.

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