Liberal historians have been ranking Presidents for years and of course there's always a heavy leftward skew to their evaluations. Republicans are inevitably ranked lower than they deserve to be while Democrats are sure to be portrayed in the kindest historical light. Here's a different take on the issue: A look at the worst Presidents of the last hundred years from a conservative perspective.
7) Herbert Hoover (R): Hoover didn't make the list because the Depression started on his watch. After all, it's not as if he created that problem. But, his protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act created a trade war at the worst possible time and helped lock the Depression in place.
6) Warren Harding (R): Harding was only in office for a couple of years before he died of a heart attack. The bright side to that silver lining for Harding was that much of the incredible corruption that was going on during his presidency wasn't revealed until after his death. The worst of these ignominious adventures was the "Teapot Dome scandal," which involved bribery and a new first in American politics -- a cabinet member, Albert Fall, being sent to jail.
5) Richard Nixon (R): Not only was "Tricky Dick" Nixon almost impeached over Watergate, he shook the American people's faith in our government. Given the chronic overreach of the federal government, some might say that's a good thing. But, you generally get what you expect and if the American people don't expect competency, honesty, and decency from our government, we're not likely to get it.
Nixon did improve relations with China. He also put America in a position where we could have won in Vietnam had the Democrats in Congress not cut off supplies and air support to our former allies and left them to be slaughtered. Still, Nixon did a lot of damage domestically. He created the out-of-control EPA and was primarily responsible for creating the federal government's Affirmative Action program, which codified discrimination against white Americans into the law. Additionally, he imposed wage and price controls that hurt the economy. That’s not much of a domestic legacy.
4) Jimmy Carter (D): Not only did Carter stand by and watch our ally, the Shah of Iran, get overthrown by fundamentalist crazies, he botched the Iranian hostage crisis that sprang from the overthrow in almost every way possible. It's also worth noting that the Soviets were inspired by Carter's naiveté to invade Afghanistan on his watch. In other words, both the war on terror and Iran's quest for nuclear weapons can be directly traced back to Jimmy Carter's presidency. To top off all of that incompetence, Carter gave away the Panama Canal.
Then there was the domestic front. Carter was famous for his notorious malaise speech, gas lines, boycotting the Olympics, and an economy that was so dismal it actually diminished people's faith in the American dream.
3) Woodrow Wilson (D): Adding Wilson to this list was a tough call because he deserves a lot of credit for his leadership during WWI. Of course, the failure of the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles, both of which contributed significantly to WWII, also occurred on his watch. Additionally, speaking plainly, Wilson was also a fascist. Here's Jonah Goldberg describing American life under Wilson during WWI,
The first appearance of modern totalitarianism in the Western world wasn't in Italy or Germany but in the United States of America. How else would you describe a country where the world's first modern propaganda ministry was established; political prisoners by the thousands were harassed, beaten, spied upon, and thrown in jail simply for expressing private opinions; the national leader accused foreigners or immigrants of injecting treasonous "poison into the American bloodstream;" newspapers and magazines were shut down for criticizing the government; nearly a hundred thousand government propaganda agents were sent out among the people to whip up support for the regime and its war; college professors imposed loyalty oaths on their colleagues; nearly a quarter-million goons were given legal authority to intimidate and beat "slackers" and dissenters; and leading artists and writers dedicated their crafts to proselytizing for the government?
1) Barack Obama (D):
PS: Many conservatives will undoubtedly be asking why Franklin D. Roosevelt isn't on this list. Had the list merely dealt with domestic policy, he would have easily been a contender for the top spot. His awful management of the economy alone, which extended the Depression for years, would merit a top 3 spot. However, FDR's leadership during World War II was so meritorious that it simply could not be overlooked. That being said, FDR is often ranked by historians as one of America's great Presidents. A man whose greatness on the foreign policy front is quite nearly matched by the titanic damage he did to America on the domestic side certainly doesn't deserve that sort of honor.
Editors' note: the original version of this article said that Richard Nixon was impeached over Watergate. He resigned before he could be impeached.