Most Hated President

Indulge me, if you would, in a quick bit of history: Who was the first president to be regarded by historians as the United States’ most hated president?

Answer: George Washington. Some of his policies were vehemently hated during his time in office, which will sound strange to us centuries later.

His successor John Adams was also bitterly hated, but you couldn’t say that at the time; he enacted laws that made it illegal to criticize the President or Congress. Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, who had followed the family tradition of newspaper publishing, died in jail after having written harshly about President Adams.

Let’s go forward a bit in history: Who was the first Republican president to be assassinated in office? (Trick question!)

Killed by an Anarchist

Answer: William McKinley. I can hear you now: “What? Not Abraham Lincoln?” The trick is the fact that during the previous year (1864), when Lincoln ran for re-election during the time when the Civil War was going very badly, the Republican Party was widely despised. The human cost of the Civil War was many dozens of times worse than Vietnam, for example, and that doesn’t count the fact that the rebels should also properly be counted as part of that toll.

So Lincoln’s supporters created a new party, the Union Party or National Union Party, to try to side-step the stigma of the Republican name, and it was as a Union Party candidate that former Republican Lincoln and former Democrat Andrew Johnson ultimately won re-election. This win came about because the war had turned around in the weeks before the election. Here’s a banner for Lincoln and Johnson during the 1864 campaign:

Republican_presidential_ticket_1864b

Evolution of Perceptions

I mention this because we are about to be subjected to an election cycle in which President George W. Bush’s name, so recently hated by leftists/media and considered toxic to associate with, is now considered a good name to have as his brother Jeb Bush  attempts to gain the same office.

I will oppose this nomination for policy reasons, all to do with Jeb and independent of concerns about “family dynasty” issues, which do not bother me.

The evolution in history between hated and fondly remembered can happen quickly. It’s only been a few years for George W. Bush.

For Lincoln, it was much faster yet, at least in the North: His assassination (as the first president from the National Union Party) produced a tremendous outpouring of grief and appreciation across the northern states — though it was illegal to have a statue of Lincoln in Texas until the 20th century. But even southern states began to fondly remember Lincoln’s comparatively gentle plans to re-unite the country after the war, compared to the harsh reconstruction efforts of Andrew Johnson. In fact, differences between Johnson and the largely Republican Congress on this process led to Johnson’s impeachment and getting within one vote of being expelled from office. He was the Most Hated President for some time thereafter.

Next Year

Jeb Bush will sort-of run on GWB’s legacy, while Hillary Clinton will continue to distance herself from Barack Obama — a surprising turn of events considering 2008’s doings, but less surprising in view of the shellacking taken by Democrats in 2010 and especially 2014.

In the meantime, a real Constitutional Conservative would be a breath of fresh air. I’m for Ted Cruz, who is arguably the most accomplished man currently in the Senate.

And the most hated.

I hope he makes it; considering our current leftist media, he’d instantly be in the running for Most Hated President. But he would be decidedly good for the country.

==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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