Happy Presidents Day 2022. Are y’all ready for more presidential gaffes, blunders, and general stupidity? I sure hope so, because that’s exactly what I have for you. It’s a certainty that you have to be smart in at least one way to become the president, but not everyone can be good at everything. Here are five examples of the dumbest presidential moments.
There are a lot of obvious choices for Slick Willy, including his many questionable and/or detestable sexual escapades, but his signing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 was the decision with the longest knock-on affects. Bill Clinton promised in his campaign to reform welfare into something that made sense, and helped lift people from poverty. Instead he signed into law something from his nemesis Newt Gingrich’s wet dreams and effectively gutted much of the social safety net established under previous Democratic presidents of the 20th Century.
Gerald Ford fell down the stairs one time and for some reason that haunted him for the rest of his presidency, but that’s not very dumb because we all trip and fall sometimes. I bet in the past year, LeBron James was looking at his phone or reading the first two pages of some biography while ascending the stairs and lost his footing. The point is it can happen to any of us. Ford was not all bad, despite how he is remembered. We can thank him for special education in America and he was a supporter of the still yet to be ratified Equal Rights Amendment.
He also, quite strangely, had two assassination attempts on his life, both carried out by women, which is probably to no fault of his own. No, Gerald Ford’s dumbest act started as a good idea, as they often do. Ford fired the entire Nixon staff and hired, as his Chief of Staff, Donald Rumsfeld. He seemed to like Rumsfeld enough that he then appointed him to his first stint as Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld’s replacement as Chief? Richard Bruce Cheney… There are known unknowns, unknown knowns, and unknown unknowns. You decide which one is worse.
Cleveland won two non-consecutive presidencies and unlike most of the other post civil war presidents, he hated corruption and wasn’t a Republican. However, he handled striking railroad workers in his second term very poorly, sending the army to force the trains to run, but that wasn’t his low moment. In 1892, he campaigned against the Lodge Bill, which would have strengthened federal voting rights established in reconstruction and two years later he oversaw the repeal of the 1871 voting rights protections.
If you sense a trend it is this, every president from reconstruction to the New Deal botched every opportunity to fully see through the ideas and ideals of what reconstruction should have been and the American South and our nation’s Black population are still feeling those reverberations through to today.
John Quincy Adams
QAdams straight up stole the election. He didn’t win the popular vote or the electoral vote and he also established the precedent of less popular former president’s sons thinking, hey, I could do that.
If you’ve seen Hamilton, you know two of Washington’s cabinet members, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, didn’t exactly see eye to eye. Their division sparked a divide in Wahsinton’s government and the eventual formation of two distinct parties with opposing ideals. Washington chose not to intervene on either side and generally tried to stay above the fray. This tactic led to the two parties becoming more entrenched in their opposition toward one another, and, as they say, the rest is history.