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Which US President was the 'sleaziest'?





Bikerman
In another thread, the issue of President Obama being 'surrounded' by disreputable people came up.
I maintain that all Presidents have people in their 'entourage' who are 'dodgy' to say the least.
Do Americans really judge the integrity of the President based on his associates? If so then which President do you think had the 'sleaziest' people 'surrounding' him? Let's keep it to post WW2. Where does Obama rate in the 12?
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Do Americans really judge the integrity of the President based on his associates?

Not solely, but when those associates are personally chosen by him, it bears paying attention to his choices. That goes for anyone with the luxury of choosing their own 'associates'.
lagoon
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are both names that come to mind.
Bikerman
lagoon wrote:
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are both names that come to mind.

Well, I would have thought that the Bin Ladens would also be at least questionable. Bush Snr and Bush Jnr didn't have that association forced on them..
deanhills
Senator Joe McCarthy was pretty sleazy during Truman's Presidency. Probably one of the worst in history, but then he did a complete change of face from being internationally anti-communist, to going for local witch hunts of the extreme variety. He started well, and ended in complete disrepute.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_McCarthy.

It took a while to get him censured, but he must have done Truman a lot of damage in the process.
hunnyhiteshseth
hey, how can you forget Bill 'Monica Lewinsky' Clinton? Laughing
I guess he redefined word 'sleazy' for a president!
deanhills
hunnyhiteshseth wrote:
hey, how can you forget Bill 'Monica Lewinsky' Clinton? Laughing
I guess he redefined word 'sleazy' for a president!
The sleaziest part about it for me was the lies he told afterwards. What he did was perhaps the human part of it. But the lies made it sleazy.
Ophois
What Bill 'Slick Willy' Clinton did with Monica was rather bland compared to what JFK(and his brothers) was allegedly doing with women.
Bikerman wrote:
Well, I would have thought that the Bin Ladens would also be at least questionable. Bush Snr and Bush Jnr didn't have that association forced on them..
In all fairness, the bin Laden family being a 'sleazy' connection is only through name association. As far as I know, it's only Usama who gives the bin Laden name a 'sleazy' label. I could be wrong, but the family and their business are more or less decent, and don't have much of a connection with Usama.

Now, the connection to Bandar bin Sultan, that's another story...
lagoon
It has got to be Josiah Bartlett. Those fictional ones are always the worst.
gandalfthegrey
Politicians in the past were incredibly corrupt. I would say Woodrow Wilson was the worst, as he sold us out to the bankers, usury and speculation.

This is a quote that he gave:
"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country.
A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit.
Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation,
therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men.
We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely
controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world.
No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by
conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by
the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." - Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States
handfleisch
gandalfthegrey wrote:
Politicians in the past were incredibly corrupt. I would say Woodrow Wilson was the worst, as he sold us out to the bankers, usury and speculation.

This is a quote that he gave:
"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country.
A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit.
Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation,
therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men.
We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely
controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world.
No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by
conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by
the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." - Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States


Amazing quote. Reminds me a bit of the Smedley Butler case, the commandant of the Marine Corps, who finally realized that war was just a racket and he had been its stooge.
Quote:

"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket

Which gets me back to the title of this thread -- why "sleaziest"? It's such an ill-defined word, and also not a serious indictment in some contexts. If you mean corrupt, that's one thing, if you mean lascivious, that's another. Better would be which president was most harmful to the country? Which president presided over the creation of worst financial crisis? Or reversed peace and prosperity into war and recession? Which presidents started the most wars or the worst wars, that killed the most innocent people?

But that would get us back to the Worst President Ever debate, and we all know who is a major contender for that.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
But that would get us back to the Worst President Ever debate, and we all know who is a major contender for that.
In Handfleisch's estimate I'm sure we have a good idea who the major contender would be. You have a good point however, sleazy is not really a good word to use for analytical discussions about politics and politicians.
handfleisch
Sleaziest -- I think Richard Nixon would be a good contender. His web of slimy connections, his psychopathic lies (including a secret plan to end the Vietnam war), his use of covert operators to do character assassinations of his political foes, his sloppy drunkenness, his slush funds, his general demeanor... add to the list if you care.
Bikerman
Well, I meant sleazy to mean 'morally/ethically unprincipled'. That is completely distinct from the harm or otherwise a President might have done - after all it is possible to do a great deal of harm with the best of ethical intentions.
One could argue, for example, that Nixon was largely responsible for normalising relations with China - surely a 'positive'. One could not argue, however, that he was a principled and ethical President - he was most certainly 'sleazy'.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Well, I meant sleazy to mean 'morally/ethically unprincipled'. That is completely distinct from the harm or otherwise a President might have done - after all it is possible to do a great deal of harm with the best of ethical intentions.
One could argue, for example, that Nixon was largely responsible for normalising relations with China - surely a 'positive'. One could not argue, however, that he was a principled and ethical President - he was most certainly 'sleazy'.
Thanks Chris. Then Clinton has to be sleazy when he lied to the Grand Jury. That was highly unethical. Between the two of them probably Nixon had to have been the sleazier one. He wove a web of intrigue, layer upon layer of lies, lies and more lies, whereas Clinton was only covering himself.
dickyzin
I guess most of them in my lifetime are sleazy Wink except for Obama so far.
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