It is so hard right now to be a Republican. With so many Republican voters feeling like they are getting stuck with Donald Trump and so many Democrat voters feeling like they are getting stuck with Hillary Clinton, the election as a whole has been a real drag. But Trump is so easy to make fun of that the entire Republican party suffers. The Republicans cry that media is so liberally bent that Trump's discourse is subject to more scrutiny, but if that is true (which it is) Trump hasn't tried to tone it down at all. You don't start speeding when you see a police officer behind you, but Trump won't stop saying dumb things even though he knows the media is out to get him.
This entire situation obfuscates the fact that Democrats say dumb things too, and have historically had many, many dumb ideas that shaped United States policy. We are going to give the Donald a bit of a break here, but not much, and focus on fifteen incredibly dumb Democrat ideas taken from famous Democratic politicians and one famous Democratic celebrity. Of course, Hillary Clinton made the list on principle, but many of the other Democrats discussed here made decisions just as unpopular as she has. What these dumb decisions really boil down to is politicians on both side of the aisle being equally apt to random acts of stupidity. Read on and see for yourself.
16 Andrew Johnson Tries To Undo the Civil war
Racism is always a dumb, dumb idea as it incorporates the terribly stupid concept of stereotyping with negative views about people who don't deserve it. President Johnson was our vice president under Abraham Lincoln, chosen because his ideals were so different from Lincoln. The idea, good in theory, was to have a politically balanced White House. Unfortunately, Lincoln was a kind, intelligent person while Andrew Johnson was a racist neanderthal. More unfortunate, Johnson became president when Lincoln was killed and immediately tried to undo the positive effects of the Civil War.
Johnson tried to allow Southern states to reestablish their pre-Civil War governments and attempted to block the fourteenth amendment, which made all the former slaves legally American citizens. Johnson's backward policy and attitude gridlocked government, led to the country attempting to impeach him, and led our country away from the wonderful egalitarian society we were headed toward and kept us living in a world where precious Americans who had formerly been slaves were still treated poorly for no intelligent reason.
15 Woodrow Wilson Demands Blind loyalty
The point of a democratic society, as far as our personal rights go, is to be able to freely express our opinions and allow others to freely express their opinions. We are supposed to criticize our president, and we are supposed to criticize Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and we are supposed to criticize each other so we can all strive to be better people. When you tell someone to be quiet, or deny other people the ability to talk freely, you are violating our constitution and being a poor American. Often though, people in power seem flummoxed and surprised when they are criticized. President Wilson was one of these people, whose dumb idea was that all citizens should automatically conform to government policy.
When the United States entered World War I many Americans were upset with Wilson, but instead of allowing them to voice their opinions, Wilson had many arrested. He passed a number of Federal laws, such as the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, as well as created the Committee on Public Information, which pushed censorship over truthfulness and violated our first amendment rights severely. The amount of people arrested or deported by Wilson was staggering, considering these people were only trying to exercise their patriotic right to discourse.
14 Franklin Roosevelt Persecutes Our Japanese Citizens
President Roosevelt is considered by many to be a pretty great guy, but he signed Executive Order 9066, which was dumb, racist, and basically evil all rolled into one. The way ignorant politicians and Donald Trump talk about Muslims now is how ignorant politicians, including President Roosevelt, talked about the Japanese, convinced that our Japanese citizens were dangerous and plotting against the government. So, after actual dangerous Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt targeted all the many, many non-dangerous Japanese Americans.
Around 120,000 Japanese, most of whom were actually American citizens, were arrested and moved from, mostly, the West Coast to prison camps. Of those 120,o00 people, exactly zero turned out to be terrorists or dangerous to our country. I am from the West Coast, and the area I grew up in was badly damaged by Japanese Americans being removed from our economy. Attacking American citizens for no reason is something the government should never be part of, and Roosevelt's dumb idea damaged a lot of innocent people. As a side note, over 10,000 innocent German Americans and several thousand innocent Italian Americans were also arrested over the course of World War II.
13 Andrew Jackson Forces limitations
Andrew Jackson was the first true democrat to be President of the United States, and as our seventh president tried to progress the United States further as a nation, but when one mixes racism--already a terrible, dumb idea--with another dumb idea, one has a recipe for tragedy. First, Jackson's racist idea was that the United States would be much better off without having to deal with pesky Native Americans, whose land had already been seized by the government. Second, his dumb idea was that the United States would never expand further than the Mississippi river. Jackson's idea was that the entire Western half of the current USA would remain a desolate wasteland, making it suitable for the Native Americans to call home.
Jackson's idea of a Native American country adjacent to the United States severely limited nationalistic expansion, but also justified, in his mind, the forced relocation of the East Coast's Native American population. Unfortunately, Jackson didn't really give the Native tribes a chance to prepare for the journey, causing many of them to die on the way to "the promised land." Of course, when the United States began to further expand into Jackson's "Indian Country," the nearly fifty thousand Americans Jackson had booted from the East Coast were forced to relocate again.
12 Martin Van Buren Forgets The Alamo
I'm not sure why early democratic presidents had so little faith in the expansion of the United States, but President Van Buren utterly refused to add Texas to our country. Obviously, Texas covers a huge piece of land, and the geography is full of important natural resources like oil, not to mention it is the birthplace of Nachos. When we absorbed Texas from Mexico, it was a great boon to our nation, but Martin Van Buren simply wasn't interested while he was president.
President Van Buren maybe didn't want to get on bad terms with Mexico and also didn't want to add more territory to the United States that could have increased the slave trade, but he was in a small minority in not seeing the benefits of an American Texas. With Republicans and Democrats demanding Texas be brought into our country, Van Buren found himself very unpopular very quickly, and when he ran for re-election while the land that would be the longhorn state was still not in American possession, he was absolutely destroyed, losing by an amazing margin. With Van Buren out of office, everyone in the United States got what he and she wanted: Texas and all its riches.
11 James Polk One-Ups The Donald
So, President Polk is mostly remembered for forcing the United States into a war against Mexico, which was generally seen by most people, most poetically by Henry David Thoreau and Fredrick Douglas at the time, as a dumb idea. The war did dramatically expand the territory of the United States, giving us California (who doesn't love California, right?), New Mexico (who doesn't love New Mexico, right?), Utah, Arizona, and Nevada (man, who doesn't love any of these states?), but also led to a lot of drawbacks. I wasn't going to talk about Polk in this column originally, but with so many people criticizing Donald Trump about his dumb idea to build a wall between our country and Mexico, Polk's dumb idea to actually conquer Mexico makes Trump seem like a rather thoughtful individual.
First, the war was very unpopular with many people in the United States. There was tension with Mexico over our absorption of Texas into our country, but it didn't seem like attacking Mexico was a very ethical response to that criticism. People didn't see the need and felt that Polk had badly overreacted. Second, a little over 13,000 US citizens and soldiers and around 25,000 Mexican citizens and soldiers were killed during the war, which lasted less than two years. Third, although we took a lot of territory from Mexico, after the war the US paid Mexico for the damages, costing our country millions and millions of dollars that Mexico used to rebuild what was left of their country. Not good President Polk, although maybe Donald Trump feels like Mexico paying for his wall will make up for Polk's expenditure.
10 James Buchanan Just Doesn't Care
A lot of citizens, Republican and Democrat alike, often complain that government is interfering too much with our day to day lives, but when the actual government feels like it doesn't need to do its job it comes off as laziness. President Buchanan's dumb idea was that the tensions that led to the United States' Civil War would just go away on their own, with no need for government intervention. Buchanan continually acted like being president was a burden he didn't want to bear. He literally did nothing as the country began falling apart.
When the southern United States declared that they were breaking away from the rest of the country, Buchanan put the pressure on the states themselves to take care of the situation, and when many of his cabinet began leaving in protest, Buchanan still didn't respond. He was easily, and luckily, replaced by his Republican opponent, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln of course tackled the war head on and led our country to a much better place.
9 Harry Truman Makes Many Dumb Decisions About the Korean War
The Korean war was part of the Cold War between Capitalism and Communism; this time taking place in the divided Korea (still divided today). Truman was the democratic president at the time, and had a number of dumb ideas that influenced the war. Dumb idea number one was that everyone automatically wanted to send soldiers to Korea. Truman declared war on Korea without seeking the approval of Congress. When he realized he had violated our constitution (and the very basis of a democracy), he did apologize, but the president can't just make decisions for our country on his own without at least asking, right?
Dumb idea number two was that North Korea would stand on its own, in the face of United States, British, and South Korean forces. Truman was surprised when China sent its armies to help North Korea and was very afraid that the Soviet Union was also going to help North Korea. I guess the idea of "unified front" seemed easier to apply to democracy than communism? Anyway, the war was a lot more terrible than Truman expected it to be, leading to his next dumb idea, to fire Douglas Macarthur, who had been successfully leading our forces against the Koreans. Truman supposedly believed that if we were too good at fighting the communists, the USSR would certainly enter the battle, so he sacrificed what could have been a decisive military victory and tens of thousands of American lives and actually weakened our chances. No wonder most people hated Truman when he left office.
8 Lyndon Johnson Escalates The Vietnam War
When President Johnson took office, after the assassination of John Kennedy, he walked into the hellish position of commander and chief during the Vietnam war. So far, the United States was not fairing too well, being unable to defeat the North Vietnamese in the name of Democracy over Communism. President Kennedy realized things were not going as planned and was preparing to withdraw troops from Vietnam. There were only around 13,000 US troops in the country at the time anyway, but Johnson had a different, dumb idea. His idea was to send more and more troops in the hopes of turning around and winning the war.
This idea seems pretty smart from the perspective of "Might makes Right," but the reason our troops were failing was the North Vietnamese were not meeting our troops on the field of battle but sniping them from behind bushes and trees. More soldiers made bigger targets, which wound up being a big problem. Also, many Americans didn't support the war and wanted our soldiers home. Johnson disregarded the opinion of the public and kept pushing this war. Johnson sent more and more troops, nothing improved, and finally the United States was forced to withdraw, making our country look much weaker globally, although saving many US soldiers' lives. Johnson should have followed Kennedy and backed off much sooner.
7 Jimmy Carter Signs Off On Operation Eagle Claw
As a President of the United States, Jimmy Carter had to deal with the "Iran Hostage Crisis," a very frightening period of time in 1979-1980 when 52 Americans were trapped in Iran after our embassy in that country was attacked. These Americans needed a miracle to escape, a good old fashioned knight in shining armor to save them. Carter wanted to be that savior and signed off on a rescue mission called Operation Eagle Claw, but the entire operation was a pathetic failure.
The idea was 8 US attack helicopters (RH-53D Sea Stallions) and over 150 troops would storm Iran and evacuate the hostages, but the plan never even really got started. Eight transport helicopters were needed to first airlift the troops and weapons to a secured staging area in Iran, but the transports encountered a nasty sandstorm (damn desert winds!) and three of them couldn't even make it into the country. So, with only 5/8 of the attack force available, President Carter decided to call the mission and get our people out. We came nowhere close to even attempting the rescue, which was already dumb and embarrassing for Carter, but then the real tragedy happened. As our forces were leaving Iran one of the five helicopters crashed into the refueling plane, causing a catastrophic explosion that killed eight soldiers and one Iranian citizen. All of this expense and death made Carter look like an idiot and helped contribute to him being voted out of the White House on the next election day. As for the 52 American hostages, they had to wait until diplomatic measures could free them.
6 Al Gore Believes He Created The Internet
Al Gore was Vice President under Bill Clinton and almost became president after him. He is now a Nobel Prize winning environmentalist but still gets a bad rap for having a dumb idea that he didn't even have. Even though Al Gore never actually said he created the Internet, I wanted to write about this one because it is so famous. During an interview, Al Gore said he "took initiative to create the Internet" referring to the work he did getting funding for the various companies that actually created the internet. Gore actually worked very hard to help the actual technology entities that created the internet system have enough money to continue their work. Gore saw the potential for a world wide system of communication and probably allowed the modern internet to happen years before it would have without the funding he found for it.
However, the wording of the above quote could be misconstrued, which it was, to sound like some hyperbolic braggadocio typical of politicians who really have nothing important to say. For years, Gore was poked fun at for the statement, but he never actually meant that he created the internet like his detractors like to laugh about. That would have been a really dumb idea. Gore did create the term "Information superhighway" though, and no detractors can take that from him.
5 Bill Clinton Argues The Semantics Of Sex
Bill Clinton was one of the United States' most loved presidents based on his super- high approval rating, but he was (and maybe still is) a terrible husband, who cheated on his wife many times. Cheating on your spouse is a dumb idea, but for the purposes of this article it is not the dumb idea I want to focus on. Bill Clinton's dumb idea was to lie about it to the United States public. But the way Clinton lied about it was also dumb, manipulating semantics to try to not actually tell the truth. Clinton didn't actually "penetrate" Monica Lewinsky, which allowed him to manipulate language to an absurd degree to make himself seem innocent.
Disputing the usage of the word "is" was particularly egregious and made Clinton seem just as guilty as if he had actually just confessed in the first place. But Bill's creative manipulation of English to get out of his indiscretions led directly to an impeachment hearing over perjury, which would have been totally avoided if Clinton had just confessed in the first place. Clinton wasn't impeached, but the lesson is "If you do the deed you can't hide the seed," as attested by Lewinsky's stained dress, and Bill trying to get away with it was just plain dumb.
4 Gun Control Laws In the Last few Years
Guns allow criminals and terrorists to be way more dangerous than they should be. The NRA likes to say "guns don't kill, people do," (the truth) but then fails to mention that guns do allow people to kill a lot more, a lot faster (the point). If Omar Mateen attacked Pulse with a baseball bat or James Eagan Holmes attacked the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado with a butcher knife, a lot less people would have died. We understand that the US needs some sort of gun control to stop the "bad guys" from being so dangerous, but the democratic ideas of President Obama and Hillary Clinton to eliminate everyone's guns isn't going to get the job done. The idea is sound- if no one has a gun we are all safer, but the reality is you can't take guns away from criminals and terrorists by passing laws.
Criminals and terrorists don't follow laws, so stripping law abiding citizens of firearms while the "bad guys" illegally keep their guns puts law abiding citizens in more danger. We need gun control that leaves regular citizens alone and strips guns from criminals. The harsh requirements to obtain a gun in the first place can help weed out the dangerous consumers and should be enforced, but laws that strip the rights of criminals allowing their possessions to be seized easier or laws that punish more severely people who have guns when they shouldn't are the type of gun control we need, not unilateral seizure of weapons.
3 Hillary Clinton Wants World Religion To Change
Everyone in the United States has the right to believe what he or she wants, meaning one can be a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Satanist, or a Hindu if one wants to. This is an important and powerful right that all Americans should fight to keep. However, people who are religious do not have the right to impose their will on other people, which would be unconstitutional. Maybe that was what Hillary Clinton was talking about when she gave a speech about abortion to "Women in the World" media, but it didn't sound like it.
If you don't agree with abortion on an ethical level that is your choice and your right, but while Clinton was talking about strengthening abortion rights in the United States she said that religion should change to accept the procedure. Unless your religion encourages you to blow up abortion clinics, she has no constitutional basis to make this claim. People don't have to like a law to support it, and people should be able to voice their dislike for a law freely. We don't have the right to stop abortions illegally just as Mrs. Clinton does not have the right to tell people how to think on a religious level.
2 Kanye West Blames Hurricane Katrina debacle On Racism
Every once and awhile, a famous person says something so dumb that the idea of the word "dumb" bends in a new way, causing society to look at the concept of dumbness with a new depth of understanding. Kanye West makes that famous person look like a genius. Of all of his preposterous musings though, none was more damaging than his assertion the Federal government botched helping people after Hurricane Katrina because President Bush was racist. A little history first: Katrina was a category 5 hurricane that traveled along the entire Gulf of Mexico, destroying the coastal land of the United States from Florida all the way to Texas. All told, the hurricane cost the United States over $100 billion in repairs and killed over 1,000 people. The worst damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana where around 80% of the city was flooded.
In the immediate aftermath, a lot of blame was applied to the government for badly mishandling the tragedy. For example, the mayor of New Orleans did not call for evacuation until it was too late, and the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, didn't seem to know what he was doing as he spearheaded the rescue efforts, taking too long and placing people in more danger due to his decisions. Kanye West, the Democrat celebrity I mentioned in the introduction of this column, on live television, blamed these problems on President Bush and racism, suggesting that the mishandling was some conspiracy to let black Americans die off. This is so stupid, even if Bush does hate blacks (which I see no evidence of). Blaming the problems of the government on racism strips blaming the government of incompetence, which is the real issue here. Brown quit so more able leaders could help the people of New Orleans, and instead of being fully outraged about our leaders not knowing what they were doing, the idea of racial conspiracy distracted Americans from the real issue. What happened was terrible, but the real problem needed to be addressed, and Kanye took emphasis off of it at that critical juncture.