Is It Still the Economy, Stupid?
by Gary Aldrich - Volume 1 Issue 8
One of the great mysteries about Bill Clinton is his claim that he’s a lover and student of presidential history. We are told that from a very young age, he aspired to the White House. Well, we have all seen the photo of a young Bill Clinton fawning over JFK on the South lawn of the House White. However, what exactly did he admire about JFK?
Presidential historians may have finally figured that out. How disappointing it must be for Clinton to hear the damning verdict from important America’s historians about his incredibly flawed presidency.
In a recent C-SPAN survey, the nation’s top historians ranked President Clinton as the worst scoundrel among all U.S. presidents, hitting moral rock bottom below Richard Nixon and pro-slavery leader James Buchanan.
In other respects Clinton ranked an average 21st, just ahead of Jimmy Carter (22nd), a one-term president who is widely regarded by scholars as a good man soiled by an unquestionably failed presidency.
Bill Clinton rated 20th in Crisis Leadership; 21st in International Relations; 21st in Administrative Skills; 22nd in Vision/Agenda Setting; and 21st in Performance in the Context of the Times. His lowest scores were in Relations with Congress (36th) and Moral Authority (41st), the lowest possible score.
Historians were not alone in their low assessment. Two other surveys asked the opinion of members of the public. C-SPAN viewers likewise ranked Clinton at the bottom for moral authority, but otherwise rated him even more harshly than historians. Viewers rated Clinton as 36th worst overall, with rankings below average for every category except economic management (19th) and public persuasion (15th). By the way: Ronald Reagan, the president the Clintons love to hate, was ranked in the top 12 of all presidents!
The verdict is in, and for a President so concerned with his legacy, the news is not good. Clinton may have escaped removal from the White House last year, but he will never escape history. Clinton has tarnished the White House in ways previously unimaginable, and time is only likely to further reveal the true extent of the damage done.
To make sure we as citizens get all the truth about the "Clinton legacy," we need to support institutions, authorities and organizations that clearly demonstrate through their words and deeds, a desire to know the truth. A growing number of Americans at last understand that the truth - often quite disturbing and ugly - is something to seek, not a crazy uncle to be hidden away in some closet.
The truth can set you free, but especially ugly truth can help you avoid making the same mistake twice.