The American President

By Lloyd Graff

The musings of a wandering used machinery dealer.

Donald Trump, real estate mogul, is killing the housing market in his first week as president-elect.  Mortgage rates have bounced up to over 4%.  The refi market is nauseous and near vomiting.  People are dithering whether to rush in now to buy, refi or wait for the unexpected knee jerk reaction to jerk back.  Fortunately, November and December are not big home buying months, but if the Fed raises interest rates in December everybody will be paying more for money, including the car sellers and buyers.


Interest rates may be rising but pro-football ratings are plummeting.  There are lots of reasons being floated, like Colin Kaepernick’s politically incorrect kneeling, matchups like Jacksonville versus Tennessee so unappealing and 70 minutes a game of commercial spieling.  Throw in referees throwing 23 flags in a game, injury lists a yard long, an exciting election and a fantastic baseball season and you have NFL ratings in the toilet.  The League is actually refunding money to TV advertisers.  I did see a great Sunday night game, New England against Seattle, but frankly the NFL is a boring time suck.


Michael Douglas in “The American President”

Wow, Donald Trump’s first week as president-elect has been totally fascinating.  There was the Trump-Obama 90-minute lovers’ tryst, Leslie Stahl’s terrific interview on 60 Minutes, the hiring of Steve Bannon for the West Wing, and the emergence of his 35-year-old Orthodox Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as the new President’s true Number Two.

Kushner’s background mimics Donald’s in many ways and may explain why they are so simpatico.

Kushner’s grandparents on his father’s side were Holocaust survivors.  He may look like a choir boy with a yarmulke, but he grew up in both wealth and turmoil like Trump.  His father is a rich real estate developer in New Jersey.  Donald’s dad Fred owned apartment buildings in Queens.  Both men wanted to be in the New York elite which meant buying expensive properties in Manhattan.

Jared was a mediocre student at a Jewish high school he attended, as was Donald at the rugged military academy he attended.  Jared got into Harvard after his father gave $2.5 million to the college.  Donald somehow got into Penn.

Jared devoted most of his time at Harvard to investing in local apartment buildings and watching the cash flows.  Then he got into NYU Law School after Pop gave the school $3 million.

Jared’s dad, Charles, plays in the big leagues, and he plays rough.  He ran afoul of Chris Christie in New Jersey when Christie was State’s Attorney.  He was indicted for corruption, jury tampering and dirty tricks like setting up his brother-in-law with a prostitute he hired during a sibling fight with his sister.  His father plea bargained his sentence to one year of jail in Alabama where he could keep kosher.

Jared took over the family business while his father was in prison at age 25.  He bought his way into Manhattan real estate’s inner circle by buying a prestigious building for $1.2 billion, almost all borrowed.  Interest was $6.2 million a month which really hurt in the dark days of 2008 and 2009.  He also bought the New York Observer, a New York newspaper focusing on business and business gossip.  It was another way to raise his status.

He met, wooed and married Ivanka Trump who converted to Judaism, and he also courted her father, Donald, who surely saw a lot of himself in Jared.

So now Jared and his strange bedfellow Steve Bannon appear to be the two men closest to Donald Trump.  Jared seems to be the key man in the transition team, and he just purged Chris Christie, the man who had put his dad in an Alabama prison.  I think Donald really gets his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and vice versa.

Question: Who was the worst American President of all time?

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22 thoughts on “The American President

    1. Doug S

      What exactly are you afraid of? Frankly, if progressives hadn’t spent the last several decades, the most recent one in particular, dismantling our federalist system, degrading the checks and balances constraining the federal government, and centralizing authoritarian power within the executive, if he was 10 times the monster you consider him to be you would still have nothing to fear from him. The original construct of our government was designed to protect us from who you think he is.

  1. Lloyd Graff

    Robert Strauss who wrote several pieces for TMW the magazine just wrote a book about James Buchanan, The Worst American President. It’s getting a lot of good reviews. I talked to Bob a couple days ago as he was on his book tour in Chicago. He ranks the presidents in the book. Buchanan wins because his bad decisions led directly to the Civil War.
    Incidentally, my choice is Lyndon Johnson for sending 500,000 American troops to Vietnam. 58,000 of my peers died. Go to the Memorial in DC. You will find some of my friends’ names.

  2. Tom Hogge

    Rate climbs were inevitable. Can`t just follow Obamas lead of Print ,Print. Borrow. Run up the debt!!
    But my nod to worse President. Carter was worse than Obama. Not by much. So Bar not to high for Trump to compete.
    As a 35% tax payer Hope Trump is Successful On his Tax plan.
    If nothing else. Close second Secure Border.

  3. Butch

    In terms of constitutional trampling, Woodrow Wilson.
    In terms of the collective psyche and general spirit of the American people,
    Jimmy Carter. Each presided over their own very dark era in U.S. history.

    GWB: Not even close to ‘the worst.’ Those who argue to the contrary ignore wide swaths of history.

  4. Noah Graff

    Fictional President Awards:

    Nicest presidents: Dave form “Dave” (although he really was faking being the real President)

    Sleaziest President: Billy Bob Thornton in “Love Actually”

    Most Idiotic President: Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove”

    Toughest President: Harrison Ford in “Air Force 1”

    Most Evil President: Donald Moffat in “Clear in Present Danger”

    Worst, most evil, “sort of President”: President Snow (Donald Sutherland): “Hunger Games”

  5. Randy

    Carter was just grossly incompetent and in way over his head with the Iranian hostage crisis and the economy. In my lifetime, Obama has been the most destructive to the republic. He is very smart, calculating and strategic. He used the teachings of his heros Karl Marx, Saul Alinsky, Cloward-Piven, and Frank Marshall Davis, to try to convert our country to socialism. Had Hil-liar-y won, we would continue the plunge into Socialism and never return.
    We can argue about who was the worst but regarding who was the best, the greatest president in my 56 years, there is no contest,…….Ronald Reagan.

  6. Ken

    Here is the absolute fact: Trump is President. All HRC fans need to get over it. Trump hasn’t done anything yet and so it is a bit early for everyone to start piling on. He can’t be blamed for any interest rate increases/decreases on anything yet. God willing he will rein in the Fed’s money printing and just kicking the cans down the street. While he doesn’t sound like a normal politician to be sure, let’s see what he does as a President. Then pile on I suppose. He has done so far what no one thought was possible; maybe he can do some more that will actually do some good. No one thinks that is possible either. Wait and see.

  7. Mark Rollinson

    Franklin Pierce – Raging Alcoholic, Anti-abolishionist, he also did a lot to bring the civil war about. Critics tend to list him as one of the worst. He died of cirrhosis of the liver.
    GWB wasn’t the greatest, but he was far from the worst. I wonder if his detractors could really sit down and HONESTLY list what his faults were. If you do your homework, yoiu find out that the Financial disater in ’08 was really due to things that were set in motion tin the 1990’s during the Clinton admin. The repealing of the Glass-Steagle act for starters.
    I agree about LBJ and Carter, although Carter was probably the nicest guy to live in the White House.

  8. Burt

    Glass-Steagle was repealed by Gramm-Leach-Bliley three 90’s republicans. You can’t blame that on Clinton.

    GWB is by far the worst president of all time. Just look at the 2008 election. If nominated, HRC would have won more than just the popular vote against McCain.

    So, how bad does a president have to screw up that his successor (after over 200 years of consistency) is going to be a black guy or a woman?

    How did he screw up? Try 4,000+ dead Americans on our soil, due to foreign hands. Worst tragedy in history. Weapons of Mass Destruction mean anything to anyone? The Great Recession count for poor leadership? There is a pile of evidence to indict GWB as the worst ever.

    Can anybody in history beat that? Don’t think so.

    1. Doug S

      So… The only way a black guy or a woman can be elected president is if the previous one is a monumental screw up? This coming from a member of the cabal who’s agonizingly cliché refrain is the constant droning of “You guys are stupid, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, pigs!” Project much?

  9. Mike

    While Carter ranks as one of the worst, he has done the most good for the world since leaving office. But then I haven’t seen GWB’s paintings.

  10. Mark Ellenberger

    In the Navy during the Carter days, our Fleet (USS Constellation group) had to Anchor twice in mid ocean waiting for our Government to buy us fuel. Our whole Fleet was sitting ducks, and the Russians didn’t hesitate to reveal in it. 1976-1980 the U.S. was held hostage by Saudi-Arabia. Worst, Carter, and Obama, with Obama introducing more socialist everything. I’m glad we are for all intents and purposes now energy independent. The world is also poised an another great leap in energy and automation. Education mainly K-12 has to be better, pulling people up to a higher level, not making more do nothing global bottomless pits. This transition could make or brake us. I don’t know how it will play out. We are witnessing the rise of the small machine shop that can do everything. Incredible potential for the inspired and willing young minds, there is a future and a hope. Just look at the new Swiss Turning Centers!!!!

  11. Peter

    Warren Harding.
    We are discussing “Worst Presidents” because our political system in its current state is not encouraging individuals to run for office who would rank as a “Best President”.
    I urge all to support the development of a strong third (and fourth) political party.

  12. Max

    Listen to yourselves, reread what has been written days later and see if what you read is really what you thought it said. Interpretation and preconceptions ….. none of us really know what an individual prez did other than knowing the facts after the fact or the outcome then we criticize and feel important that we could have solved the crisis before it happened ??? Has anyone making these statements wore the shoes and been involved in making the decisions before the outcome, guess not.
    Think about it, for example, the USA cannot print its way out every time it needs to buy someone off, the outcome is INFLATION at its worst and it will come on the shoulders of one or two presidents down the road …. The blame is not get into the situation at all … If developing a cell utilizing automation one MUST think of what is going to happen down stream if something goes wrong upstream or it will crash !!!
    I read a billboard that said ” life does not have a remote so get up and change it yourself ” ………. Interesting.


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