The Most Destructive Presidencies In U.S. History: George W. Bush & Barack H. Obama

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Powers once granted are almost impossible to take back.

After 13.5 years, there is more than enough evidence for reasonable people to conclude that the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are easily the most destructive in U.S. history.

When historians speak of failed presidencies or weak presidencies, they are typically referring to presidencies characterized by uneven leadership, petty corruption by self-serving cronies or in extreme cases such as the Nixon presidency, abuses of executive power.

But weak or failed presidencies are not destructive to the rule of law and the foundations of the nation. The failed president leaves office and the basic structure of the nation continues: the rule of law, the balance of powers and a free-market economy.

A destructive president weakens or corrupts these core structures in favor of executive-branch powers, and passes these unconstitutional powers to the next executive for further expansion.

The Bush and Obama presidencies have effectively dismantled the rule of law and the Constitution by invoking essentially unlimited executive powers in the name of "national security:" we the citizens of the U.S. can now be accused of violating secret laws, be indicted in secret, tried in secret and sentenced to life in prison based on evidence fabricated in secret, i.e. declaring unclassified documents classified after the fact to incriminate and imprison whistleblowers.

How is this any different from totalitarian fascist regimes?

This is absolutely contrary to basic civil liberties defined by the Constitution. Who benefits from this destruction of fundamental civil liberties? (Always start by asking cui bono--to whose benefit?)

The Big Lie is that this destruction of the foundations of the rule of law and civil liberties is for our own good: if the President and the National Security State don't grab all these powers and deprive you of your constitutional rights, bad guys will destroy the nation.

This is of course the same old tired justification used by dictators and despots everywhere, and it is always a lie. The truth that must be hidden is that this wholesale expansion of executive powers at the expense of civil liberties, democracy, the rule of law and the balance of powers benefits the executive branch.

Every abuse of the law is now declared legal by executive order. Anyone questioning the legality of extra-legal abuses of power is told "this is legal because it was authorized by the President." In other words, executive power is now unquestioned and cannot be challenged.

For a variety of unsavory reasons, the Supreme Court has enabled this expansion of essentially unlimited executive power. Congress has also rubber-stamped it as part of The Global War on Terror (GWOT), the unlimited war that justifies unlimited executive powers, unlimited secrecy and unlimited expansion of the National Security State, the Deep State that is impervious to changes in electoral government.

Presidents Bush and Obama have directed this expansion of the National Security State because it greatly enhances the power of the Presidency. This is how we get a president who is delighted to discover that he's good at killing people remotely with drone strikes.

The expansion of secret programs and secret wars has engorged the Pentagon, the C.I.A. and the N.S.A., not just with funding but more importantly, with new powers granted by the executive branch and rubber-stamped by an impotent Congress and supine Supreme Court.

The president's power is greatly enhanced by this expansion of the National Security State, and the self-serving "patriots" empowered by the essentially unlimited secrecy are free to do whatever they please under the umbrella of executive privilege.

True patriots attempting to defend basic constitutional rights are labeled terrorists by the phony patriots busy destroying the foundations of the nation. The Orwellian doublespeak is as unlimited as executive power: a citizen who releases unclassified material about the secret abuse of power can be accused of treason on the Kafkaesque basis that unclassified material can be considered classified if it exposes the abuse of executive power.

All of this is well-documented and has been in the public realm for years. There is nothing mysterious about the destruction of basic rights or the abrogation of the balance or power or the rule of law. It's visible and painfully obvious to anyone who cares to read or watch a few interviews of whistleblowers who have been hounded and harassed by the Obama Administration.

For two examples of hundreds of articles and interviews, please read:

Senior NSA Executive: NSA Started Spying On Journalists in 2002... In Order to Make Sure They Didn’t Report On Mass Surveillance (; I recommend the entire series of interviews)
"To me, there’s a psychology that’s not often written about: What happens when you have this much reach and power, and constraints of law and even policy simply fade into the woodwork."

PBS Frontline Interview - Thomas Drake.

This destruction of the fundamental building blocks of the nation has been rubber-stamped by gutless Republicans and Democrats alike. Cowed by the threat of appearing "soft on terrorism," left and right alike have scrambled to appear "tough on terrorism" by approving the wholesale transfer of power to the National Security State and the executive branch.

Of the dozens of books published on the abuses of executive power and the uncontrolled expansion of the National Security State, here are two worthy starting points:

The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power

The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

This destruction of the fundamental building blocks of the nation has been rubber-stamped by gutless Republicans and Democrats alike. Cowed by the threat of appearing "soft on terrorism," left and right alike have scrambled to appear "tough on terrorism" by approving the wholesale transfer of power to the National Security State and the executive branch.

It is laughable to see so-called liberals and conservatives alike in Congress kow-tow to the National Security State while claiming they have effective oversight, even as the revelations of whistleblowers reveals them as clueless toadies with no real grasp of what is being done in the name of the American people they claim to represent.

Those abusing executive power in the Nixon administration knew they were breaking the law. Those abusing power in the Bush and Obama administrations simply declare their actions legal. In effect, any action taken by the president or the National Security State is legal in name if not in principle.

Powers once granted are almost impossible to take back. What president will give away essentially unlimited executive powers established as "law" by previous presidents? We don't elect saints as presidents, we elect infinitely ambitious people desiring power. We should not be surprised that such people not only consolidate the power they inherit but actively seek more.

We should also not be surprised that all these power grabs by the executive branch and the National Security State are cloaked in secrecy, and that anyone who dares to reveal the power grabs and abuses of power to the public is declared a traitor and crucified.

A traitor to what? It's a question every citizen should ask and answer for themselves.

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prains's picture

The Same Team paradigm is then a troothy throoth and exposes the Oligarch controlled political system for what it is


complete bullshit

0b1knob's picture

President Lincoln laid waste to a large section of the US, killed millions, and used the constitution to whipe his ass.  Bush and Obama are minor league.

He is of course the ideal that all presidents aspire to be.

Flakmeister's picture

Get over it, you lost...

Not that the South had any shred of "moral ascendency"...

Gotta love those roving packs of militias hanging "deserters" just like the NKVD and SS....

knukles's picture

Interestingly, many of my neo-con buds have started to seriously give up on the Establishment Repubs... now wonder out loud about a third party... not that they've missed anything, what?
But the libtard progressives still sit embroiled in their Hegelian Dialectic but now blame the Tea Party for everything, including Cantor's defeat, of which they are wary.
Wary because they see the Teas as their "new threat"... domestic threat, mind you.

But ever so understandable as even they want the Establishment Repubs in power... after all, look at what has befallen us, no?
In the end the Establishment Repubs go along with the Obozonites after a lot of bitching, pissing and moaning.

Border invasion, anyone? 

NotApplicable's picture

Thing is, what you're witnessing is generational, and matters not ultimately, as there will always be the next generation yet to experience discovery of the Grand Facade. Which, of course, is why nothing matters more than who holds power over the educational system and MSM.

I can only hope that The Daily Bell is right, and that the Internet Reformation is too much for the gatekeepers.

john39's picture

Bush and Obama are distant cousins:

As most of the rest of the presidents. In short, the electoral system is a fraud.

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

Bush and Obama destructive, certainly. And it may be too early to tell for sure, but I would suggest you read and take a close look at two champions of flagrant ham-fisted political tyranny:

1. Abraham Lincoln - (Obama's brother from another mother) great speeches and policies that bore nor resemblance to them, read the text of the emancipation proclamation. America's first serial violator of the US Constitution, responsible for the official end of states rights.

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - 3 terms of massive government programs including price fixing and innumerable expensive make-work programs and architect of ill-fated SSI program. He was the first openly "ask what your government can do for you" entitlement president.

Nuff said...

TahoeBilly2012's picture

CHS...."DEEP STATE"! Protocols of Learned Elders of Zion..."DEEP STATE"!! 

Cheduba's picture

Yes!  The Daily Bell!  That is part of my daily routine to read - excellent analysis of memes the elite are trying to push on us and I was devastated when they said they were closing down and I thought I would never see the site again (but thankfully it restarted).

J S Bach's picture

What a joke.  Thinking people immediately substitute the word, "President" with "Puppet".



"The Most Destructive Puppets In U.S. History: George W. Bush & Barack H. Obama".


Those two morons could care less about anything but the remote chances of their perverted indescretions being aired publicly by their blackmailing puppet masters.

The same is true for Clinton and Bush Senior before them.


The whole rotten structure has to be replaced.  The hidden usurious powers behind the throne must be exposed and eliminated... for all time.


May our children live to see written in their history books about the Great Usury Epoch which led them into the (hopefully brief) Dark Age before the Enlightened Reform.


Seize Mars's picture

Now do you see the wisdom of the Stateless society?

Flakmeister's picture

It would be *so* cool if Santa Claus was truly real...

Babaloo's picture

Cantor's defeat? Hegelian dialectic?

You don't have the vaguest idea of what you're talking about and the people who up voted you must be as medicated as you.

James_Cole's picture

Cantor's defeat? Hegelian dialectic?

Hegelian dialectic is something stupid people have appropriated incorrectly in a futile bid to seem intelligent. 

“What the fuck? What the fuck are you talking about man? What the fuck has this got to do with Vietnam, man??”

NotApplicable's picture

We all lost, you fool. One in every twenty people were murdered to prove once and for all, that you will pay, not simply walk away.

TheReplacement's picture

Another might say the South shot first and how many poor southerner's died so their social betters could try to maintain their slave-owning lives of luxury?

The slave South was no better than the oligarchs of today.  They both live on the backs of beasts of burden - human slavery.  Hang 'em all.

icanhasbailout's picture

Saying the South shot first is a lie of ommission. Lincoln committed the first act of war in that conflict, and he did so with deliberate intent.

Flakmeister's picture

Could you read for us the Preamble of the Missisippi Articles of Secession....

Then maybe hum a few bars to the "Cornerstone Speech"....

Pants McPants's picture

In other words, naked tyrannical behavior is justified so long as you are on the winning 'team'

Got it.

TheReplacement's picture

That would really apply perfectly if the South had won and been able to keep their slaves. 

Pants McPants's picture

Right, because everyone knows the US civil war was fought solely over slavery.

nmewn's picture

Not to turn this into slave-this-slave-that...but, Lee freed his slaves (manumission) in 1862, before the bogus Emancipation Proclamation of Lincoln and even further before Grants family (by marriage) were forced to free theirs in 1865 by law.

His thoughts on 1856

Point is, Lee didn't fight for slavery, he fought for his state and his people. The war was not fought over slavery (Lincoln said so) despite what you've been told or taught. It was fought over the right of sovereign states to secede from a voluntary arrangement of alliance with a central power by brute force but "the real issue" never will be resolved, rebellion is as old as central governments.

Any unbiased reading of the Emancipation Proclamation proves it, Lincoln DID NOT free slaves from the areas under control of his army, he specifically excluded those areas.

Google it and look for the phrase "except the" ;-)

No, its not what you've been told.

The Navigator's picture

Also Google 'Lincoln said "Who will pay for the government"' when asked 'why not let the South go'

Also see the Morrill Tariff -

Southerners were paying the bulk of taxes and most government expenditures were spent on Northern projects.

Lincoln only brought up the slavery issue 2 years after the War for Sourthern Secession had started and wanted to have a "nobel excuse' for starting the war.

Psychopathological Lying  bastard.

dreadnaught's picture

Wait...if it wasnt for slavery, then why did the South want to suceed from the Union?  Interesting read on Lee, if factual

Pants McPants's picture

This kind of thinking is akin to wondering who'll pick the cotton and the food if the slaves were set free?

Nervermind we're talking about human beings here, even if the rest of the US refused to see them as such.  To this day 'north' US is far more racist than is 'south' US.

To your original question, several reasons are given for secession, none of which are worthy of expansion here exept that north/south secession was practiced 80 years earlier.  Are we to believe 'southern' secession was in any way different than US Revolutionary War?

icanhasbailout's picture

Actually that conflict will never be over as long as the States are bound to the Union by force. Lincoln abrogated the voluntary nature of the United States and turned it into an empire. As long as the empire exists, its constituent parts will strive to return to equilibrium.

I need Another Beer's picture

U r so right !! 1000 up votes. Its sad no else knows their history

jekyll island's picture

Uhh, can I get a shout out for Woodrow Wilson? 

nmewn's picture

The worst, in my opinion.

And its a crowded field.

////////// my reddie, there is always one timid, lurking, mouth breathing, socialist-statist-one-world-order type in the bunch ;-)

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I don't know about that. The fed/income tax/direct election of senators was pretty bad, but Lincoln ended the whole idea of a voluntary union of states, caused a civil war that killed untold numbers of people, used federal troops to intimidate voters, jailed opposing politicians, shut down newspapers, suspended habeus corpus, and unnecessarily destroyed and occupied the south. Posse comitatus was written due to him, to make sure he happened again. Plus, I would argue Wilson and his crimes, indeed much of the abuses of power that would come later, happened BECAUSE of the Lincoln presidency. And the worst part is, he is lionized more so than almost every other president. Moron republicans STILL brag about being 'the party of Lincoln'
Wow, that was much longer than I planned, sorry for the rant...

Edit- not your down voter, by the way

29.5 hours's picture



"President Lincoln laid waste...[further nonsense deleted...]"

For the record: the American Civil War was started by an elite class of people who felt their position weakening politically and socially. They decided they would rather see this country broken up and hundreds of thousands of innocent youth die before they would cede one iota of their effete privilege.

The American Civil War was brought to successful conclusion by masses of working people (north and south and west) who gave their all to keep this country united and strong, despite the disgusting obstruction of vermin (both in the north and south).

Anyone who denies this and gives a pass to the slave-masters of 1860 is probably someone who will give a pass to the slave-masters of the 21st Century when push comes to shove.

And it will.



potato's picture

Union armies attacked civilian centers.

Gee, wouldn't it be helpful to know how many southerners actually owned slaves?

Well, anyone who wants to know will find out that only 1% of southerners owned slaves. So 99% of the other southerners were either 1.) so stupid as to fight and die for their 1%ers,; or 2.) freedom-fighters against the war of northern aggression.

Flakmeister's picture

Re: the 99%, did it occur to you that they got conned by the 1% into going along with something that was not in their best interests, before AND after....

All_Your_Base's picture

before AND after....

poor conned might even be taught that "slavery" was "ended" and "freedom" "won"



Frankie Carbone's picture

I am not going to dismiss your idea out of hand. That doesn't mean that i accept it as fact, but more that it is an interesting thesis worth entertaining. 

Interesting because, regardless of whether the playbook that you espouse was indeed followed or not, it would be a perfect execution plan today to break up the last barrier to total global slavery, and that is that portion of the United States that still thinks self-governance is a nobel idea. 

Except in this case, this time, we would split along the lines of the Northeast + Great Lakes States + California, Oregon, Washington,  vs Everything west of the California border, all of the western states,  to Tennessee and south of there. 

The perfect way to split a nation in two. 

stant's picture

That's when the us gov discovered there was good money in freeing the shit of of folks. But thier day is coming

Flakmeister's picture

Agreed, but the one point where real changes could have been made but the US fell in love with Ronnie and this is what it begat...

They threw out the last president that had the courage to be honest with the American people. And this is what you get when you think there is a free lunch to be had...

nmewn's picture

"They threw out the last president that had the courage to be honest with the American people."

And he was...?

Flakmeister's picture

Since you need help, I'll give you three guesses and a hint: It wasn't Nixon....

nmewn's picture

I'm thinking you believe its Carter.

Am I right again? ;-)

Flakmeister's picture

God luv ya....

First rule of being a sucessful president is don't inherit a mess and always endevour to blow smoke up the collective asses of the American people...

nmewn's picture

So Carter then?

(I feel like an overly aggressive dentist, standing on your chest, trying to extract a straight answer from you)


And after all your mindless vitriol about Southerners too, tsk tsk.


Just like all your AGW nonsense, all your beliefs disappear into a polar vortex of absolute bullshit when the facts of the matter go against you? Carter was Southerner, wasn't he?  And yet, your ego can't let yourself admit an error in judgement.

Must suck to be you ;-)

americanreality's picture

So Carter then what?   So Carter now?  

nmewn's picture

Carter is an amiable man but a goofball. The sort of man who makes for a great next door neighbor in times of peace but if you ever came under attack from gangbangers he would be completely unreliable, preferring to negotiate your stuff away or take their car keys (nana-nana-boo-boo style) instead of shooting them in defense of you.

That is my image of Jimmy Carter.

thamnosma's picture

LOL, Jimmy Carter....thanks for the best laugh in a long time.

monad's picture

Andrew Jackson. But though he didn't advertise it, given the circumstances, Abe Lincoln did it right. JFK was murdered before he went public, and defaimed afterward. 11/22/1963.

Most since AJ and all since JFK are shit. This alleged human experiment is so contaminated by its supposedly objective sponsors that I can only call for absolute independence from said sponsor States. With absolution exoneration from the contrived debts these butt monkeys have allocated themselves, to feed their pussies.


DerdyBulls's picture

Oh I don't know. Grover Cleveland was a decent man. Ironically he was probably the most libertarian too.