Friday, August 13, 2010

25 Worst Figures in American History...

... according to this poll of conservative bloggers that included me.

I did not vote for these:
23) Saul Alinsky (7)
23) Bill Clinton (7)
23) Hillary Clinton (7)
19) Michael Moore (7)
19) George Soros (8)
19) Al Sharpton (8)
13) Al Gore (9)
13) Noam Chomsky (9)
13) Richard Nixon (9)
13) Jane Fonda (9)
13) Harry Reid (9)
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)
2) Barack Obama (23)
1) Jimmy Carter (25)

Apart from Carter and Obama, there aren't a lot of votes backing those candidates. I'm guessing that the votes for other historical figures were split, and that led to current, better-known figures winning the vote. Forty-three bloggers responded, so while seven of them did vote for, say, Bill Clinton, thirty-six of them did not. I would be interested to see a full list of every figure that received votes.

People I voted for who did not make the list:
Robert Hanssen
John Marshall
Boss Tweed
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Bull Connor
Roger B. Taney
Huey Long
George Wallace
Suge Knight

Some of those are purposely provocative choices. You can also probably tell that I especially dislike machine-style politics. I failed to cover criminals. Major figures in organized crime could be on a list like this. There were also, sadly, many more Presidents who could have been on it.

Who would be on your list?


Randy said...

Your list is far more thoughtful than the one referenced. I doubt Harry Reid, Jane Fonda, and Michael Moore will merit even a footnote in American history 50 years from now. I have to think about my list.

Skoumal said...

As far as Presidents go, I'm pretty sure Woodrow Wilson should be ranked higher(lower) than Clinton/Obama/Carter. Wilson's conclusion of World War I led to World War II and his dismissal of Ho Chi Minh led to the Vietnam War. On top of that, the actions he took to get the nation into WWI should be considered.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wilson made it to number five on RWN's list with seventeen votes, including mine. So, higher than Clinton but lower than Obama or Carter.

I'm not sure why Clinton made the list at all.

Matt K Cassens said...

I like your list, but if you have issues with machine-style politics...
Why not include Mayor Richard J. Daley (da fadder of da current mayor of da siddy of Chicawgo, Richie M. Daley)?

Freeman Hunt said...

That would be a good one.

Randy said...

Thomas C. Platt was Tweed's opposite number in the GOP, btw.

Randy said...

Over at Althouse, I listed some others that I wonder if anyone nominated: Robert E. Lee, Charles Ponzi and Harry Dexter White to name three. I was thinking along the lines of people whose actions had long-term influence over either the course of events or the tone & tenor. Joseph R. McCarthy is a good example of someone whose personal influence was sharp but short-lived yet, about three generations later, his peculiar methodology continues to haunt our body politic.

HDHouse said...

Frankly speaking, I am surprised that conservative bloggers on a whole can reach back more than 30 years into their memories so of course the list will be current events and those loopy comparisons of current figures with some in the past. ... Wilson thus explained. The Byrd/Forrest link perhaps.

Bloggers generally and the current ilk of conservative bloggers have seemed to abandoned history to urban legend so it is pretty hard to make any sense of this process whatsoever.

Fire Blanche said...

Freeman--first time on the blog to comment but have visited previously and you do an outstanding job!

Not to be overly critical of your choices as this could be argued about all year long, but if you don't like "machine-style politics" then you left two biggies off the list: the Daley Machine in Chicago (still running it to this day producing people like Obama and "Blago") and the Pendergast machine of Kansas City/State of Missouri that produced Truman, who actually was able to somewhat break away and generaly be his own man (although he was in favor of a lot of social programs we have today) unlike Obama who is having a very difficult time of doing so.

Candle said...

Margarat Sanger - Born in NY, this twisted soul's abortion activism contributed to Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion movement.

Holmes said...

Alger Hiss.

Stuart said...

My main complaint with the people who said Carter and Obama are among the worst Americans is that it falls prey to the common leftie delusion that those who disagree are evil rather than wrong. So I'd take most political actors who acted in what appears to be good faith out of the running. Instead I'd look for lack of principle, power-hunger, violent tendencies, treason or cynical manipulation.

So Chomsky stays on the list. Nathan Bedford Forrest, absolutely. George Wallace, definitely (he cynically abandoned moderation explicitly to get votes by appealing to people's worst impulses). Timothy McVeigh. Woodrow Wilson (racist, anti-democratic, authoritarian). John Walker Lindh. Any of the American spies for the Soviet Union. Joseph Kennedy.

G Joubert said...

Nixon certainly had problems, and blew it bigtime, but I wouldn't have put him on the list. I think he is overly demonized.