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The bad presidents club

By Bill Ferguson The Macon Telegraph As I look back on the presidents who have served in office during my adult life, I can remember the exact moment when I became officially disillusioned with each one of them. There was always one thing that happened during their term that served as a turning point, a point at which I went from giving them the benefit of the doubt to giving up on them and looking forward to the end of their time in office. Technically, there was one president I never did sour on. Ronald Reagan enjoyed my support all throughout his eight years as commander-in-chief. It was probably a combination of his charisma and my youthful idealism that protected him from a harsher evaluation. But after he rode off into the sunset, I thought I’d never love (a president) again. Bush the First lost me at the same time he lost quite a few Americans ‘” when he approved a tax increase after promising during his campaign that he would never, ever do so. With Bill Clinton my expectations were a lot lower, but he managed to hit his head on my low bar nonetheless when he interfered with the BRAC process to save his popularity (and re-election prospects) in Texas and California. Bush the Second lost me for good when he championed a massive increase to the scope of a Medicare program that was already headed for disaster.Now, our latest president has had his moment of truth with me. Frankly, I was not high on Obama from the start given his far-left philosophical leanings, but once again I tried to keep an open mind for as long as I could. But I have to say that my mind is now closed after what transpired this past Sunday. It’s not what’s in the health-care legislation that has me riled up (I’m really not sure how much it’s going to help us or hurt in the long run), it’s the way this thing was passed.What went down in Washington, D.C., over the last couple of weeks was partisan politics at its absolute worst. Every single Republican in the House of Representatives voted against this bill. Every one of them. Even the more moderate ones who are sometimes derisively referred to as Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) by their more conservative brethren refused to support it. Why does it matter that the vote was so noninclusive? It matters because this legislation represents a sweeping change to the way the government operates, and it changes the basic relationship between the government and its citizens. We are now going to be required, by federal law, to purchase health insurance. And the bottom line is that this change is being made unilaterally by the Democratic Party, disregarding the protests of the other major party and many independent voices. Polling data suggests that about a third of the country identify themselves as Democrats, a third identify themselves as Republicans and a third are independents. President Obama is supposed to represent all Americans. That has never been less true than it is right now. Any claims that he made as a candidate about ‘changing the way the government does business’ can now be laughed off as empty rhetoric. And so I welcome Barack Obama to my Bad President’s Club. There’s a seat for him right next to George W. As the president basks in the glow of his health-care victory, he should be aware that many of the people in Congress who supported him in this ultra-partisan crusade are going to be facing re-election this year. We will see how many of them are still around this time next year. I have a feeling that he might have to learn to be a little more bipartisan in the near future whether he would like to or not. Bill Ferguson is a resident of Centerville, Ga. Visit his blog at

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