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Smithson Thus Far... ·


When this strip ran there was a lot of debate on my message board about whether it was appropriate for me to complain about the election results and all. But I was really bothered by the fact that there were a lot of big anti-Bush protests throughout his term, and they never got reported much by the mainstream media. It turns out protests aren't news unless they're mostly made up of rich white retirees.

Also, in retrospect, Bush was the worst president since Warren G. Harding and I should have bitched about him way more, so I'm not sorry. That's right, I said it. Worst since Harding. I guess people more prone to hyperbole would say worst ever, but you have to understand that Harding was really bad. Everybody thought he sucked as president because he spent all his time having sex with secretaries on the Oval Office desk instead of going to meetings, but then it turned out he had also made time for stealing the entire national oil reserve and selling it to some friends for quick cash.

Wait, no, Herbert Hoover was a terrible president too. Not only was his economic depression worse than Bush's, so was his New Orleans flood. Screw that guy, I hope he feels really bad.

Looking back, America has had some pretty lousy presidents. I'm sorry, world. We really do try sometimes.

James Rice (jhrice) says:

You've gotten better at drawing helicopters.

Viktor Dosk (hugin) says:

Bush was bad, but I don't think Kerry could have been much better. Hell, look at the simply wonderful job Obama is doing now. Neither main party has nominated anyone I want to vote for in the past 12 years. 

And we've had quite a few shitty presidents. Grant is up there on the list, as was the awesome asshole, Jackson. FDR's terrible moves get glossed over, but he made a lot of bad decisions. Andrew Johnson, though he didn't exactly have a lot of good options, still should never have held office. Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the other forms. 

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

I think Hoover gets a bum rap. Everyone wants to blame the president for things that go wrong - and usually it's stuff that the president has no control over or stuff that was set in motion by the voters years before. What makes W.'s presidency particularly bad is that it didn't so much inherit problems as make them.

Hoover didn't have a button on his desk labelled "Cause heat wave and drought to complicate decades of bad farming practice". He didn't have a spacecraft that would give him a four-day warning of a hurricane approaching America's Most Popular Underwater City of People Who Think It's a Good Idea to Cluster On A River Mouth. And the stock market bubble had already collapsed, taking with it all the people who bought overpriced stock hoping to sell it for even more.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I'd have to go with younger Bush as the worst President.  "If one country attacks us, let's retaliate against an entirely different country.  If foreigners say we're evil, let's shoot them.  And if a major city is damaged, I'll fly over it a couple of days later and shake my head sadly, that should show I care."

Rodford Smith (stickmaker) says:


I'll see your Boosh and raise with Nixon.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Kery might have read the report on alQueda preparing to strike at the US, instead of taking a month off to play cowboy on his Potemkin ranch.  We'll never know.

Andrew Barton (andrewandkatebarton) says:

It's too soon to rate the younger Bush.  If it turns out that climate change is the serious problem the scientists think it is, and the world's response is too little too late, then the history books will blame Bush for delaying that response and he will be rated the worst national leader anywhere ever.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

I don't think that people give presidents since 1900 enough credit, since some of the presidents before 1900 were *really* awful.

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: People who know me know my opinions of the 20th century presidents, but almost no one who's held the office gets anywhere near Franklin Pierce. Now there was a bad president.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

George Bush Sr. poked at Saddam Hussein
Clinton gave an intern a cigar
Dubya's second term just barely started
Obama still a Senate rising star

In the year 2004 we were out of money
In San Francisco protests on the march
And they said we couldn't make political statements


(apologies to Jonathan Coulton - "The Presidents", of course)

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Young and fierce was Franklin Pierce, the man without a chin.

Doug Wykstra (dougthehead) says:

Yeah, Pierce was a pretty shitty President (or should that be pretty, shitty President?  No it shouldn't).  The South revolted a few months before Lincoln officially took office, and Pierce's response was- raise an army?  blockade Confederate ports?  reinforce Union positions in strategically important areas?  open diplomatic negotiations with Jefferson Davis?  nah, he chose "run out the clock until it becomes Lincoln's problem."

Bush is an interesting case- I'm not a fan of his policies, and when he left office I was pretty sure he'd be in the James K. Polk tradition of presidents who, despite presiding over major military actions, would be remembered as pretty minor and ineffectual.  But the issues of climate change and Middle East democracy pretty much guarantee that he'll be a major figure in U.S. history, and I'd argue that his legacy is still up in the air.  If successful democratic uprisings continue throughout the Middle East, then Iraq will be seen as a precursor, rightly or wrongly.

Bob Alexander (rea5245) says:

I don't think we should be apologizing to the world for our presidents. Did Russia apologize for any of its preniers from Lenin to Gorbachev? Did Britain apologize for Chamberlain? Did the Palestinians apologize for Arafat? Did the French apologize for Mitterand?

Our worst President, whomever you may choose him to be, is better than the best offered by many other countries.

Iain Henderson (sdf_iain) says:

Two points:

1. We live in a republic, not a democracy... democracies are what happen when republics fail.  Representative government gives us a buffer between the ignorant masses and government (of course our buffer is filled with politicians >.<)

2. The younger Bush would have been an awesome president if he hadn't had to deal with things like 9/11 and Katrina.  Everyone would have loved his frat boy antics if we hadn't been exposed to his frat boy crisis management ;)

The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

1. Representational democratic republic, to be a completist. We vote for the folks who vote for stuff.

2. He would still have dragged us into war with Iraq. He was of the opinion that a great president needs a great war. As for Cheney, Enron, and Haliburton.... So, no, without 9/11 or Katrina he would still be bad.

The Auld Grump

Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says:

I was going to write a vigorous political essay, pushing my own political opinions, which don't have much in common with either Shaennon's or most of those who have commented.  But then I decided that that missed the point.  When all is said and done, I'm really glad that this strip has very seldom been about Shaenon's politics.  If it was, I wouldn't read it. 

And if I hadn't read Narbonics (and Skin Horse) I'd have missed a lot of fun.  (And some good wall decorations, too!)

So I'm just as glad that things here seldom get political.

But I can't help but point out that it was James Buchanan who was President in the run-up to the War for Southern independance.  Pierce was the one before him.



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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile