Remarks of IP Buffenbarger to the Day of Action

Brothers and Sisters, welcome to this Day of Action.

And it is a day of action, a day of protest, a day to unequivocally say to the President of the United States:


You’re going to hear from impressive speakers this afternoon. So, I will be brief.

Never in the long history of this nation have we had a president who has failed us so miserably.

We all know who the greatest presidents were: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.

Monuments to their greatness stand proudly at the other end of the Mall.

But who were the worst presidents?

Well, the historian Arthur Schlesinger and a group of scholars have ranked all 42 presidents. And they gave pretty darn good reasons for how bad some of them really were.

Their bottom five list contains some pretty sad excuses for Commander in Chief. Here’s their worst of the worst:

# 38 – William Henry Harrison – had the longest inaugural address … delivered in freezing weather …and shortest administration lasting but 31 days. He died of pneumonia.

# 39 – Andrew Johnson – blocked Reconstruction after the Civil War, vetoed civil rights legislation and barely survived impeachment.

#40 – Franklin Pierce – failed to avert the Civil War, watched helplessly as the union pulled apart at the seams, and died from alcoholism.

#41 – James Buchanan – failed to act during the secession crisis in 1860 leaving it all to his successor, played a role in the infamous Dred Scott decision and was prone to depression.

#42 – Warren Harding – a corrupt and short administration best known for the Teapot Dome scandal. Harding said “I am not fit for this office and never should have been here.”

So true, so sad.

Look around Brothers and Sisters. Do you see any monuments on this Mall to Johnson, Harrison, Pierce, Buchanan and Harding?

Of course not.

Abject, utter failures are not heroic figures in American history.

They’re pissants.

These are men of insignificant stature – Webster’s definition of a pissant.

These five men are pathetic political hacks who took the greatest gift a free people could give anyone – the Presidency of the United States – and each one wasted that gift.

They shrank in fear and trembling from doing the right thing … at the right time … for the right reasons … for the people who elected them.

But for all their faults and failures, Presidents Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harrison, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Warren Harding stand like the Colossus of Rhodes compared to #43!

George W. Bush has to crane his neck back to see the worst of the worst. From his subterranean vantage point, Bush can only look up to the likes of Harding, Buchanan, Pierce, Harrison and Johnson.

Number 43’s remarkable record of failure, scandal and corruption will bring him the place in history he so justly deserves.

From the beginning, he made working people and union members a special target.

Airline executives were given a free pass to shred contracts, to dissolve pensions and to eliminate health care for a generation of workers.

Railroad workers were held hostage to old contracts for years while executives raked in millions in profits.

Entire towns were reduced to economic rubble as companies moved away in the name of free trade.

If this president could figure a way to take candy from babies, he would.

And he would claim it was in the name of national security.

This is a president who never shied away from the low road, the cheap shot or even the big lie.

Even before his administration first called union leaders “terrorists” we knew where we stood with this president.

Even before he threatened to use National Guard troops to prevent strikes, we knew where we stood with this president.

For seven long years, every federal agency, every function of government at his disposal has been turned against us.

And while we survived the onslaught against all odds, it has not been without a cost.

The millions of lost jobs, the millions of  shattered dreams is the legacy of abysmal failure that will follow this president through the annals of history.

Yes, historians will judge this presidency harshly.

Brothers and Sisters, we cannot wait on the judgment of history.

Today, we can let this Commander – in – Competent know how we really feel.

Today, we have a chance to say over and over again: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

I’m certain you’ll have lots of chances to shower George Bush with more pungent lines today, but let’s practice a little solidarity here.

When I say “Mister President”, you say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

But first, a bit of bush league humor, Mr. President!


Come on, you can do better than that, Mr. President!


On October 3rd, 2001, George Bush told us, “I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport.”

Flying ticket counters AND airplanes, Mr. President!


On August 5th, 2005, George Bush told us that “our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country, and neither do we.”

So that’s your strategy, Mr. President!


Well, the harm George Bush has done to this country is endless. But let me recount just a few of the ways that he’s harmed the country we love.

America has lost 3.2 million manufacturing jobs, Mr. President!


America’s national debt has doubled to 8.2 trillion dollars, Mr. President.


Billions of Hurricane Katrina’s relief monies were wasted and tens of thousands of New Orleans residents were left to fend for themselves, Mr. President!


Your Medicare Drug program has made insurance and pharmaceutical companies richer and our seniors poorer, Mr. President!


Last year, because of your policies, America achieved a NEGATIVE savings rate, Mr. President!


The price of gasoline has soared to $3.25 a gallon, Mr. President!


America’s annual trade deficit is fast approaching ONE TRILLION DOLLARS, Mr. President!

Hundreds of thousands of America’s workers saw their pensions – everything they had worked for … for twenty, thirty and even thirty-five years – wiped out over the last two years, Mr. President!


Thousands of railroad workers saw their contract negotiations illegally held hostage by your government and their employers for seven heartbreaking years, Mr. President!


And when the working men and women who were most directly affected by the terrorist attacks – the workers in the aerospace and air transportation industries – asked for help, you chose to give all the help you could to the fat cats and executives and SCREW the workers, Mr. President.


And when millions of Americans lost their jobs, their incomes, their homes and, yes, even members of their family, what did you do George Bush? Nothing, not one goddamn thing — except go on long vacations, Mr. President!


And when thousands of Americans gave their lives for this country in Iraq, Mr. President …


            And when ten thousand more came home with cruel and debilitating wounds, your Veterans Administration and your military hospitals treated them like second class citizens, Mr. President …


And when the America people voted to end this systemic failure, Mr. President …


But you want to occupy a foreign land and police a civil war, Mr. President …


You want to surge into Bagdad, Mr. President …


Then, you have earned the enmity of an entire people – the enmity of the American people, sir!

And you well deserve that special place reserved in history for such colossal failures – you will have earned the dismal distinction of being the worst of the worst, Mr. President!


And, Mr. President …


Mr. President ….


Mr. President ….


But the good news is this: you won’t be number forty-three for that much longer.

On January 20, 2009, your term of misinformation, malfeasance and misfeasance will come to an end. 

On that day, the first day of a new DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION, you will automatically become the … single … worst … president … in … the entire … history … of these United States!

And that dubious honor will etched in stone …

For decades, if not centuries, to come, Mr. President!

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