Trump is the worst U.S. president in history by any measure. That said:
--George W. Bush launched an invasion of Iraq that killed in excess of half a million people based on fabricated "evidence"
--Bill Clinton abused the power of his office & lied about it
--George H.W. Bush also launched a war based on false pretenses resulting in many innocent deaths & pardoned those involved in the Iran-Contra affair (in which he played a role)
--Ronald Reagan shared intelligence with Iraq when to help their chemical weapons attacks on neighbors
--Reagan, on the record making racist comments, oversaw Iran-Contra and a major shift--supported by both Bushes, Clinton and Obama--granting ever greater benefits to the few and a 40 year trend making inequality one of the greatest threats the U.S. ever faced.
--Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, setting a precedent we may soon come to regret
--Richard Nixon was a crook, corrupt, and launched an assault on the Constitution that has only been exceeded in modern times by Trump
--LBJ oversaw the escalation of the Vietnam War, a foreign policy catastrophe resulting in the deaths of over 3 million people in Vietnam
--John F. Kennedy was elected via election fraud and was a serial abuser of women, using the harshest possible means to cover it up
No American president during the past 50 years has taken strong enough action against climate change, against racism, to grant women full participation in society, to fix our corrupt campaign finance system, or to provide minimum security for the weakest in our society.
Trump is a monster. He is a disaster. He is weakening the U.S. as no U.S. president as ever before. But we would do well to ask ourselves why the presidents of the past 50 have--for the most part--been so flawed, so inadequate to the job.
The same can be said for many others in our political leadership class. Take a step back. Try for a moment not to reflexively defend your political favorites. Don't focus on one or two people. Ask--why does our system elevate and reward mediocrity? Who does that serve?
(And forgive all the typos. I had to get this off my chest.)
You can follow @djrothkopf.
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