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These Failed Presidents Provided Their Own Headstones

Written by Gary North on November 7, 2015

We do not remember much about the presidencies of recent Presidents.

FDR, yes: the New Deal and World War II. Phrase: “There is nothing to fear except . . . fear itself.” (1933 Inaugural address.)

Truman, yes: World War II, the 1948 victory over Dewey, and the Korean War. Phrase: “The buck stops here.” (Sign on his desk.) Back-up phrase, on politics: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Eisenhower, yes: the Korean War’s truce and eight years of peace. Phrase: “I shall go to Korea.” (Campaign promise, fulfilled.) Back-up phrase: “Military-industrial complex.” (Farewell address, three days before he left office.)

Then came Kennedy: the Bay of Pigs, the near-catastrophic October nuclear war crisis, his decision to start the war in Vietnam, and his assassination. Phrase: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” (Inaugural address. Its importance: the stark contrast between his upbeat inaugural speech rhetoric and the disasters of his Presidency.)

Johnson: the Vietnam War, mass war protests, race riots, and failing to run in 1968. Phrase: “I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party as your President.” Back-up phrase: “I never trust a man unless I’ve got his pecker in my pocket.”

Nixon: Watergate. Phrase: “I am not a crook.” This replaced his November 1962 statement to the press after his defeat by Edmund G. “Pat” Brown for governor of California: “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” This was the most inaccurate political prediction in American history.

Ford: Nixon’s pardon (in advance). Phrase: “I’m a Ford, not a Lincoln.”

(For the rest of these choice sayings, click the link.)

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