Saturday, August 14, 2010

Worst of the Worst (American Edition)

John Hawkins at Right Wing News polled right-of-center bloggers for a list of the 20 "worst" figures in American history. His results are here; the two worst were Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

I was among the bloggers polled. Like Hawkins himself, I don't agree with some of the results--here was my (un-ranked) list:
Benedict Arnold
Walter Duranty
Jimmy Carter
Timothy McVeigh
John A. Walker Jr.
J. Edgar Hoover
Richard Nixon
Aldrich Ames
Roger Taney
Joseph McCarthy
Rachel Carson
Lillian Hellman
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Father Charles Coughlin
Woodrow Wilson
Al Sharpton
George Soros
Noam Chomsky
Duncan Kennedy
Readers are encouraged to comment either here or on Right Wing News with their disagreements or alternative suggestions.


Warren said...


Are Western Intellectuals "Useful Idiots"?

There's a link to a great two-part series from the BBC World Service titled "Useful Idiots".

OBloodyHell said...

> Are Western Intellectuals "Useful Idiots"?

remarkably so.

First for commies, now for islamofascists.

OBloodyHell said...

Your list:
J. Edgar Hoover
Richard Nixon
--- ??

Joseph McCarthy
--- ??

Woodrow Wilson
--- ??

DW said...

I'm disappointed at some of the top vote-getters on the poll. It betrays a less than serious conservative mindset to rival the juvenile counterparts on JournoList. Your list is much more balanced and thoughtful, and I appreciate your sense of historical perspective.

Warren said...

Hot Air has a post on this:

How does one become a “worst American?”

Warren said...

Here's an interesting take on the list.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I'm not sure Nixon and McCarthy would have been as high up on the list if the damage they created were not exaggerated by the media whose tribe was being damaged. Both would deserve to be on such a list somewhere, but I'm not sure in the top 20. As Carl mentioned live today, however, Nixon's actual damage was more from his economic actions than any of the
Watergate mess. The latter, were it to occur now, would not be as big a deal.

I posted my top 10 almost five years ago. I had some overlap: Duranty, Carter, Walker. I don't much disagree with Carl's list, but historically, I wanted Boss Tweed, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Al Capone on there. If we were going to 20, I would have had Margaret Sanger, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, Joe Kennedy, and Aaron Burr. And I had Alger Hiss on instead of the Rosenberg's because of the added cultural damage.

Plus some others.

Carl said...

I agree with DW (thanks!), Jim Joyner, Jazz Shaw and others (thanks to Warren for the links) that the poll results are bizarre and do not reflect serious conservatism. OBH: As AVI noted, he and I met yesterday, and I defended my inclusion of Nixon, Hoover, McCarthy and Wilson--Nixon froze wages and prices, was a liar and ruined Republicanism for a decade; Hoover kept files of illegally gathered evidence and used them to threaten political opponents; McCarthy was right about Commies, but was a drunk and a bully and set back anti-Communism for a generation; and Wilson thought Americans should have the right to sail on British vessels during wartime and then gave away the store at the peace conference to preserve his League of Nations while not allowing opposition Republicans to participate in the process, thereby dooming both the peace and the league.

Carl said...

AVI: I thought a lot about including Hiss--he was 21st on my list. And I agree that the "cultural" issue is critical for Hiss. But, ultimately, I left him off because he was responsible (maybe) for fewer deaths than Rosenbergs, Ames and Walker, and four commie spies was enough. Besides, Whittaker Chambers's Witness might be punishment enough for Hiss.

As for the others, I thought about Sanger (but went with Carson), and had Burr and Joe Kennedy further down (25th and 28th). I don't think Sir Jeffrey Amherst counts as American.