Andrew Jackson, hands down.
Reason number one – he started this whole political party nonsense. I don’t think anything has been more damaging to the nation than political parties. As someone who barely cares about politics I find it interesting how many people on the “inside” will say something about how the two party system and partisan politics are ruining the country, and then two seconds later go on at length about how the OTHER party is the bad one and their party should be in charge of everything. Having political parties that are fighting to the death over the fate of the nation is not conducive to good government if you ask me. Probably a lot of people agree with that, and then also they think about how it’s the OTHER party that causes that problem. The party they belong to is obviously logical and rational and good and nice, it’s the OTHER party that ruins everything.
At best political parties are a horrible idea. At worst if you want to be cynical and paranoid you could say that it’s all a smokescreen. The parties put on a big show about how much they hate each other and want to crush the other, but they both have the united goal of staying in power. It’s like pro wrestling (everything is) they go out and have a big fight and get everyone riled up and someone “wins” but then later on they’re both backstage counting their money and shooting the shit. They may not be pals but they’re in it together. They’re both in it for the save reason – making a buck, and they play off each other to do it. Republicans and Democrats – Heels and Faces, what’s the difference really? Republicans do their part by talking about Jesus and the eight acceptable types of rape, the Democrats do their part by being atheistic hedonists who want to give all your money to drug addicts and let everyone out of jail. No matter what you believe you can find someone to hate and scream at.
Political parties seem to be inevitable, I’m not aware of a democratic country that doesn’t have them, so probably they would have come about anyway but I’m still blaming Jackson because he did it. Andrew Jackson decided to be president but he knew that he had no chance because he was a homicidal lunatic that no one had ever heard of. So he had the change the way things were done. He came up with a plan – creating a political party.
“But Jeremy, they were political parties before Andrew Jackson you fat liar!”
There were technically, but it wasn’t like it is now, thanks to Jackson. Before the election of 1828 politicians would align themselves with people that had similar views – that was the “party”. The voting populace didn’t know or care what party someone was – it had no bearing on them. They voted for whomever because of whatever reason they wanted – hopefully because they knew what the candidates’ views were and agreed with the, but probably for some other reason. As Nixon said “the average voter is still as drunk and stupid as ever”.
Andrew Jackson changed all that. His strategy was to get the voters in on the action. His political party wasn’t for politicians because he didn’t know any, his deal was to get everyone else to form a party and they’d be his minions and vote for him. In return they would be appointed civil service jobs as a reward for working toward his victory and as an incentive to keep working for the party. You know, corrupting the system and ruining it forever. Which you have to admit was brilliant – vote me for and your life gets better, YOU specifically not the country, fuck the country. The funny thing is he pulled this scam under the guise of preventing graft and giving power to the people. The game had changed fundamentally – now you could join a political party and it was just like a pyramid scheme, you get in early and you can be balls deep in money! And the only victim is everyone who’s not part of the party – which is fine because those people are all THE WORST. They’re corrupt and only care about money! Boo other people! I only like MY PARTY. Everyone else should die in a fire.
Needless to say Andrew Jackson won the election in a landslide. Of course he did. He came up with a novel tactic that had never been seen before – how could he lose? It’s akin to if a modern day politician came up with a way to turn the election into a dance contest – if you’re still out kissing babies and shaking hands when you should be learning how to pop and lock you’re screwed. So that’s when it started – political parties as we know them today were spawned and now that’s the only way to go. Put people in two camps and let them wail away at each other – it’s a great way to win an election. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but you always get another bite at the apple.
That alone would make Jackson the worst president ever in my book, but I hate political parties so there’s a bias there. Let’s look at what he did as president once he had ruined the democratic process forever by shifting the path to victory. One thing he did was destroy the economy. Jackson didn’t believe in “money”. He wanted to go back to the days of people trading beaver pelts for fresh baked bread. A few years before the government had come up with the idea of national banks to make sure that people didn’t get the shaft when their state banks took all they money and ran to Texas – which they did all the time. Andrew Jackson would have none of that – the national backs were shut down. This let state banks do whatever they wanted – and what they wanted was to fuck people over. Jackson’s move to stop that? Get rid of money. No money, no banks right? You had to pay for shit with gold and silver, money was out. Do you have any gold or silver? Me neither, and no one did then either.
Some people like to say that Jackson is the only president to ever pay off the national debt. Which is technically true, in the sense that there was no economy anymore. What he did was trigger a depression, not a recession, an honest to goodness Grape of Wrath style depression. Funny how that happens huh? Imagine if tomorrow all your money went away, how would things be going for you then? Some people will tell you that while the depression ended in the 1840s the effects of that insanity are still being felt today. That seems far-fetched but it supports my argument so let’s believe it just for fun. Those people claim that by fucking up the economy so badly Jackson started the boom-bust cycle that’s been going on ever since.
And if ruining the economy forever isn’t enough for you, let’s talk about Native Americans for a moment. Andrew Jackson loved killing Native Americans. “But Jeremy all presidents in those days loved killing native Americas!” True, but he REALLY loved it. Up until that point the destruction of the native peoples was kind of passive thing – the government just looked the other way and let it happen. Jackson was the one who wanted to get down and dirty. Remember learning about the Trail of Tears in school? That was Andrew Jackson’s pet project. He did love killing Native Americans, but his presidential actions were mostly about putting them on reservations – which was a more indirect way of killing them. The Indian Removal Act? That was Jackson’s baby. He killed plenty of Native people in military conquest too, but that was before his presidency so it doesn’t count.
And here’s the best part – Jackson unlike a lot of people at the time didn’t think the native people were inferior or they didn’t have souls or whatever other racist justifications people came up with, he just didn’t care. I wish I could find the quote, I know that I read where something he said was along the lines of “What we’re doing is wrong but it makes the country stronger so fuck ‘em”. He wasn’t even justified in his own mind morally – it was just purely a power move. America needed more shit and the natives had it – so kill them.
I feel that those three arguments – ruining democracy forever, ruining the economy forever, and killing boatloads of Native Americans – support my argument like the three legs of a milking stool support the sweet ass of a buxom milkmaid. But there’s a few more item if you want, beyond him being a violent lunatic who was shooting people and getting in brawls all the time.
- He didn’t believe the Supreme should exist, he couldn’t get rid of it but he did ignore their rulings
- He invaded Spanish lands without orders to do so, which I believe is treason (this was before he was president so it doesn’t count though)
- He loved slavery (he hated free slaves almost as much as Native Americans)
Interesting, thanks for spelling it all out.
I’m too lazy to do more, but there are others in my opinion – it’s not quite “fair” because the earlier a president is in the history of the nation the worse they have the potential to be. George Washington could have been the worst president. Modern day presidents don’t have the ability to do as much damage.