160 Years Later

Reading Robert Strauss’s Worst. President. Ever.: James Buchanan, the POTUS Rating Game, and the Legacy of the Least of the Lesser Presidents, which quotes this passage from Robert Merry’s Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians:

Long before he became president, Buchanan demonstrated that he lacked the character required for strong presidential leadership. His weakness wasn’t grubby venality; he had made a tidy fortune as an effective Pennsylvania lawyer before going into politics, and he felt no need to seek financial gain through public office. Rather, Buchanan was a man of no fixed principles and no consistent political or personal loyalties. With ease he could flit from one position to an opposing one without so much as an explanation to those left behind. Any contorted rationalization could justify in his mind whatever actions he considered in his interest at any time. And, while he took pride in his personal incorruptibility, he was not above corrupting others in pursuit of his policy aims.

Funny how the man elected to the presidency in 1856 can sound so similar to one who’s running for the same position 160 years later.