Why Nobody in the Future Will Think Obama Was Wonderful

Photograph by Pete Souza

It’s not difficult to predict how history will view Barack Obama. We have two historical examples to point to.

1. The eight presidents who served between Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln (Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan) are now almost universally considered among the worst in history.

Harrison and Taylor (who both died in office– 3 months and 15 into their their terms) get incompletes. Polk (who served one term by choice) is considered pretty decent. Some historians credit Tyler for establishing the succession. (When Harrison dies, Tyler refused suggestions that he be considered the acting president; he insisted that the VP became president if the president died, and got to serve out his term.

The rest are seen to have sucked rocks and spit gravel.

If you know American History, you probably know that, What you might not know is that they were all reasonably popular, Their failings were explained away. Congress was so polarized that is was dysfunctional– it was impossible for civility and Tip’n’Ronnie to prevail.

The issues at the time–slavery, and how it should affect territorial expansion–were HAAAARRRD. Nobody was sure what the best solution was, or how it would affect the country. And NOBODY knew how to get from where the US (a slaveholding nation) to where EVERY other civilized nation in the world was.

As Senator Halfwit…

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