An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was A Disaster by Robert Spencer

In this episode, Jason Hartman talks to Robert Spencer about his book, Rating America’s Presidents, An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was A Disaster. Robert explains that the book is not Republican or Democratic, and that it analyzes the US President’s performance in office. They delve into the sociological changes in the US and what would become of the US if Trump wins reelection.

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Jason Hartman 0:29
Welcome to the show, this is Jason Hartman, your host and every 10th episode, we do something kind of special kind of different. What we do is we go off topic, so regardless of which show it is on the Hartman media network, whether it be one of the financial shows economics, real estate, investing, travel, longevity, all of the other topics that we have, every 10th episode, we go off topic, and we explore something of general interest, something of general life success value. And so many of our listeners around the world in 164 countries have absolutely loved our 10th episode shows. So that’s what we’re going to do today. And let’s go ahead and get to our guest with a special 10th episode show. And of course, on the next episode, we’ll be back to our regular programming. Here we go. It’s my pleasure to welcome Robert Spencer to the show. He is the author of rating America’s presidents. Let’s find out who was the best for America, who’s overrated. And let’s just take a dive into this perfect time to do it with another election at hand. Robert, welcome. How are you? Just great things. How are you? Good. And you’re coming to us from Sherman Oaks, California, near where I grew up in Los Angeles. So good to have you. Talk to us about the methodology for this book. And the ratings because you seem to be if I may, and equal opportunity critic, you have a lot of criticism leveled at Republicans and Democrats alike. What was your methodology? Where do you come from when when doing this book?

Robert Spencer 2:07
Yeah, this is not a republican book or a democratic book. This is an America first book. Now, America first is a phrase that has been widely misinterpreted, widely misrepresented. And a lot of people associate it with nativism, with racism with anti semitism, none of these things are necessary. The real definition of America first comes from President Trump, where he said, I’m not the president of the world. I’m the President of the United States, I’m going to put the American people first are not people of any other nation. And I would expect every head of state to put his people first on a horse. Yeah, their nation, it’s obviously, but it’s been ignored. It’s been controverted. It’s been ridiculed. It’s been rejected, really, since before World War Two.

Jason Hartman 2:53
And by the way, if I if I may interject here give you a little more to go down this path with, it’s interesting that the left could make such a ridiculous argument because America is the country of immigrants, right? And they say that all the time. That’s their own words. But we all know, you know, I don’t disagree with it. It’s, it’s true. But what what’s interesting is, if you are America first, then you are for that tossed salad or melting pot, depending on how you want to look at it. So why would that be bad? If you’re thinking from the left hand perspective?

Robert Spencer 3:29
Yeah, it’s completely inconsistent. And that’s actually something that comes through in the book that the left’s position has never been about a rational argument. But it’s always been about appeals, demagoguery, appeals to emotions and feelings, without anything to back them up. I think the primary example of this, and one of the most common is the idea of the people. And it goes back to William Jennings Bryan, the three times failed Democratic presidential candidate I discussed him in the book is 1908 campaign slogan was, shall the people rule, and the democrats have portrayed themselves in the left in general has portrayed itself as the champion of the people, the common folk, as opposed to the rich who are supposedly all Republican. Now, the reality though is when they say the people, they mean big government. They mean when when Brian said shall the people rule he meant he wanted to nationalize industries and put them under the control of the government. That’s not the people that’s the communist equation like in the People’s Republic of North Korea, and the other people’s Republic’s that we see around the world and absolute vinner. So incorrectly named, which, by the way,

Jason Hartman 4:45
saying, therefore the people could be nothing could be further from the truth. But

Robert Spencer 4:49
yeah, so this is a book about which presidents were good for America, good for Americans. They made America safer, stronger and more prosperous than it was when they became pro So that was my primary criteria, then it’s on that basis that I judged every last one of the presidents in here.

Jason Hartman 5:06
It’s a lot of research to understand and interpret all of these administrations. What do we have 45 of them. Now, I think, were you a presidential historian before the book? Or did you do all the research for the book? What’s your background?

Robert Spencer 5:22
Well, I did do all the research for the book I have not been published before as a presidential historian. But this was actually the first thing I got interested in his child got very interested in American history, and particularly in the Presidents I could reel them all off in order. By the time I was about six or seven. You know, it was just something I was fascinated with as a child. I never really thought I would write a book about it. But the left’s war on history over the last few years, it’s come out now in this summer in a virulent way. But it’s been brewing for quite some time, that the left wants to make us ashamed of our history, ashamed of our heritage, ashamed of being Americans, and then we’re more easily conquered. And it was that that made me think, Well, you know, I have all this information. I remember once I was at a speaking at a club in Philadelphia, and was with some of the other speakers after the event. And I saw that there were a bunch of presidents on the wall, and started telling stories about them to them. And they were saying, you know, these are very entertaining. This is all very interesting, you should write a book about it. So that and the left’s war on history made me think now’s the time to get this out to be an antidote to that hatred of history, that hatred of American history that we’re seeing everywhere.

Jason Hartman 6:35
Yeah, there’s certainly no shortage, sadly, of revisionist history going on. I hate to sound like I’m supporting one side or the other here. But I’ll just use the words and I don’t remember exactly what he said. But if you listen, I you know, I watched both acceptance speeches from the DNC and the RNC. In Trump’s speech, he said, you know, the other side would have you believe something to the effect of the other side would have you believe that America is this wicked nation that must be punished for its sins, in this whole idea of like stolen land and all this stuff? Tell me where on the map of the world that isn’t true. Every country was formed by one power overcoming another, you know, they may both be ethnic Chinese, for example, or ethnic Russians or, or whatever, but they were still one side overcoming another, usually with bloodshed, violence force, it’s like they, they want to just make the the settlers that came over and developed the country, these evil people, and those who were here, we’re like, perfect. They didn’t, you know, they didn’t scalp. Anybody. They didn’t do a bunch of terrible things on their own. I mean, I’m not saying either side was right or wrong. I’m just saying, This is history. Okay, this is the way the entire world has always worked. So why is it that the US has a special blame? versus any other country, lots of other countries had slavery? Lots of other countries did all sorts of horrible things, had violent takeovers have to gain land and gain resources? Why is it that just the US is so evil in this respect? I mean, this is the narrative of the left.

Robert Spencer 8:21
Yeah, and this shows why we need history because these kids that are out there burning up Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Portland, and Seattle, and all the rest of it, they don’t have the slightest idea about history. It’s very clear. And they probably really believe what they’ve been told that America is this uniquely evil entity, and they ought to be ashamed to be in it. And if you were to ask them, well, what country has a better record? Are you aware that America actually led the way along with Great Britain to the global abolition of slavery? It didn’t start in Iran, or Pakistan, that slavery was abolished? As a matter of fact, in a lot of Muslim countries, it’s still going on? Because it’s sanctioned in Islamic teaching. And are you aware that America has been the most magnanimous world power ever on the scene, the only one ever to rebuild its vanquished enemies and spend billions of dollars to do so? Are you aware of the fact that America is a uniquely non corrupt at least until recently, a uniquely non corrupt political culture where the peaceful transition of power has been going on uninterrupted, and let’s hope it continues for far longer than it has ever gone on anywhere else in the world? They don’t realize the idea of this. And this is one of the reasons why I wrote the book. Because with the truth about history, we can reclaim the public discourse.

Jason Hartman 9:45
It’s truly amazing that they just they must know nothing about the Marshall Plan. America didn’t get into World War Two, by its own desire or for its own motivation. It was simply a response to Japan. And then it finally entered the war. And then when it was done and it won the war, it could have just taken over and you know, pillaged the world, right. But instead, it gave them all money to rebuild. I mean, how can you get more altruistic than that as a as a nation, it’s just unbelievable. They have no concept of history. It is truly amazing. And this mostly is the millennial And sadly, Generation Y now Gen or Generation Z generation coming up through college. It’s just a brainwashing institution. These universities have this

Robert Spencer 10:39
Yeah, they’ve been filled with nonsense. The universities, as you say, are just centers for leftist indoctrination, essentially, and Tifa recruiting centers. They don’t teach real history. And I hope people will realize it’s coming out of the view that it’s very important for us to know our history. It’s not just about dusty, old books and names and dates. It’s about who we are as a people, and what principles we should be willing to defend as a people and what principles have been established in the United States as being worthy of defense. And the young people today, they don’t have any idea of any of this.

Jason Hartman 11:19
It’s truly amazing. Well, I want to get to that in a moment. But you know, when you were mentioning a bunch of other countries and their history and current day slavery, not to mention women’s rights. In Saudi Arabia, women were just recently allowed to drive much less anything else, it still

Robert Spencer 11:36
remains house without their male guardians permission, their husband or their brother or their father. So to talk about America as being some uniquely difficult place for women is absolutely ridiculous.

Jason Hartman 11:49
When women dominate college entrance, they dominate the college population, they dominate the master’s degree population now. So where is the oppression? Everybody’s talking about? You know, they they never asked themselves that, then we’re speaking of the protesters, the leftist, they never asked themselves the question compared to what I mean, compared to what you don’t just give us I’m not saying it’s perfect. It’s definitely not. But compared to what other country? Absolutely. I mean, you just can’t there’s there’s just not a better example of that kind of altruism and openness. And, you know, I often ask myself, though, how is it that the left was able to revise history in the public schools and the universities? You know, certainly we’ve got the NEA at the grade school level, the National what Steve Forbes calls the national extortion Association, otherwise known as the National Education Association, you know, the teachers unions. And then in the universities, you’ve got these professors that work 12 hours a week, they just are in an ivory tower, out of touch with reality. But why would they be 99%? left leaning? I mean, is it just the culture that it just kind of develops that way? Because

Robert Spencer 13:08
on your chosen strategy, this is the Long March through the institutions that began in the 1960s. In the 1960s, you may remember, there was the Free Speech Movement, so called in the University of California at Berkeley, and they

Jason Hartman 13:23
were and by the way, I must say, my mom went to Berkeley in the 60s. So you know,

Robert Spencer 13:28
yeah. So these movements, they were, supposedly to bring a new focus to academia and a sense of social justice and the usual things that leftists say that they’re for. But the thing was, is that they took over some colleges, they occupied the administration buildings, they had a few talks with administrators, they were ushered out, that was the end of it. And it was it was essentially a stunt. And it failed. However, that was not the end of the story. What began then was what is called the Long March through the institutions, that the leftists who were occupying administrative buildings. Instead, they became the administrators, they became the professors. And then they became the tenure committees, and they only hired people who saw their who saw things the way they did, and slowly and steadily they took over the entire academic apparatus in the United States. And that’s why we see them out burning down cities now.

Jason Hartman 14:31
What’s their endgame? You know, it’s just, you know, what’s kind of interesting is, what will these people be like when they grow up and run the world in 20 years? You know, I am glad I won’t be around. Yeah, well, don’t say that. But

Robert Spencer 14:46
we’re talking about Marxist internationalists. You know, the Black Lives Matter leader recently said openly we are trained Marxists. And Tifa is obviously a Marxist organization that actually goes back with the logo is the same to mark assist organizations in Nazi Germany, I actually first encountered an Tifa speaking in Germany, and they’ve now come to the United States. But if they get into power, they will establish an authoritarian Marxist state. And just like other authoritarian Marxist states, they will brutalize and imprison and kill their enemies. And you will say, Oh, no, that’s, that’s hysterical. Now you’re going too far that will never happen in the United States will look, did you ever envision a time when in the United States, there would be people who were murdered solely for their political views by roving gangs of people who held the opposite political views, and yet that’s happening now. And it’s not Trump supporters who are killing leftists. It’s the other way around. So that that’s what’s happening now, what is what is this going to look like in five years? 10 years? 15 years? If it isn’t checked?

Jason Hartman 15:53
Well, that’s a good question. But what’s your prediction?

Robert Spencer 15:55
Well, I do think that if Trump wins re election,

Jason Hartman 15:58
and by the way, what’s your prediction about that, but go ahead,

Robert Spencer 16:02
I think it’s likely that he will be reelected. I think that however, the left is already setting us up for refusing to accept the results, contesting the election, trying to keep it undecided, so that if they retain the house, which I don’t think is certain either, then they’ll be able to put Nancy Pelosi and his president on January 20 2021. destroy any legitimacy that Trump’s presidency would have. But if he’s able to withstand all that and prevail, then he’s got a very good chance to roll this movement back. And we may look back at 2020 and say this was their high watermark. But then he began to reassert the control of the of the government over the cities in terms of stopping rioting and unrest, and so on. And people were rejecting this far left agenda in large numbers. And so by 2024, there might be a completely different political landscape. If however, he does not prevail, it might 2020 might be the last free election that we have.

Jason Hartman 17:01
It’s been predicted that Trump would be the last republican president. And I don’t know that he’s that much of a Republican, frankly. I mean, he was definitely a democrat before, you know, he’s on the ticket, obviously. But he’s, he’s a different breed. I mean, the Republican establishment, a lot of a lot of them hate him,

Robert Spencer 17:17
the party of McCain of Romney, of George W. Bush, George HW Bush, that party and look how low ratings they got. Those who were president, the bush, family presidents, they got very low ratings in the book rating America’s presidents. But anyway, they’re just internationalists and soft socialists, doing the same thing that the Democratic Party agenda is but only slower or more efficiently. That’s all. And so they hate Trump because he represents a real alternative. So Trump might be the last republican president because the Republican Party might not last and new party form with the establishment Republicans joining the Democrats, as we’re already seeing with john k sic and others speaking at the Democratic National Convention, and the genuine pro American pro freedom America first republicans joining with Trump in Newport.

Jason Hartman 18:09
Very interesting. So, you know, any other predictions on what’s to come? One thing we didn’t touch on at all is the economy and the lockdowns and this this damage to the economy that has been caused. It’s the, you know, maybe it’s the world’s first self induced recession. Even after inducing it once we seem to be inducing it again and again.

Robert Spencer 18:33
Political, you know, it was just released by the Center for Disease Control that actually only 9000 people died of COVID.

Jason Hartman 18:39
I saw that very quietly released by very, yeah, right. Right, both the whole narrative. In other words, let’s let’s just elaborate on that, though. Make sure listeners understand what you’re talking about. So, you know, they they I believe they say that the estimates around a half a million people in the US died of COVID. And but now the CDC has released, you know, they’ve taped stripped out the comorbidity and the high risk people. And then they drill down on to the, what they think are the actual COVID deaths. And they’re like, 9800, it’s what, you know, a tiny percentage of what was what’s being stated out in the media. And this was just quietly showed up on their website last week. nobody’s talking about it in the media.

Robert Spencer 19:21
So this is not a serious problem. It’s not a global pandemic, the whole thing has been probably designed. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist. But this is actually the best explanation why would anybody be pushing this when it wasn’t nearly as serious as they were saying, Why were they inflating the numbers of people who had died and so on? Why were people who had died of other things classified as having died of COVID. They wanted to destroy the economy so that they could defeat the president because bad economies generally favor Democrats. Because people think well, I need help from the government and that’s what the democrats give them.

Jason Hartman 20:00
Right, I need a handout. The other thing about it, which we haven’t seen that much of yet other countries have seen more of it than we are. But it’s going to be the Orwellian world, we wake up to that I fear, where now the government has a giant excuse to really intrude in everybody’s life to track their location to do all of this stuff. And you know, what’s amazing, Robert, is that, you know, years ago, everybody was talking about the NSA. And that, you know, the data center in Salt Lake City and all the intrusion on our lives and monitoring every conversation. Now, nobody’s talking about that anymore. It’s certainly still happening. But everybody just kind of forgot about it and accepted it. And that’s the way it is. And what’s the next thing everybody’s going to be accepting? Is it going to be just this contact tracing everywhere we go, you know, where you near someone who was diagnosed, you’re going to be forced to take a vaccine most assuredly, that will be forced? And who knows what the side effects will be? It’s COVID 1984? Yeah. Crazy, crazy stuff. In your book, just pick out a couple highlights in terms of these presidents here. You know, you’ve got every one of them, you rank them. You talk about them, you rated george bush and George W. Bush, very low. You rated Obama low, you rate Trump pretty high. You know, what do you what do you think and just throughout history, you know, some of the Presidents maybe we don’t think about very much anything you want to say,

Robert Spencer 21:27
let’s take, say, Woodrow Wilson, Woodrow Wilson was president during World War One. And he was one of the first to set us on this internationalist path. When he was justifying our entry into World War One. He said, we need to make the world safe for democracy. And it sounds very lofty, high minded, we learned it in school. But what does it really mean? If you think about it, it’s very insidious, that it’s the United States responsibility to make sure that every country in the world has good government that will destroy us and completely deplete our resources. And it’s exactly what we’re seeing happen with the American military committed all over the world, solely to improve the situation for people in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Somalia, everywhere else, and not the position of Americans. This is the end point of Wilsonian internationalism. And it’s one of the main things that has sapped America’s strength in the last few decades. And Trump is to be commended for being the first president since before World War Two, to start to roll it all back and not get us involved in new wars.

Jason Hartman 22:34
And you would think the left would like that, because supposedly they’re the peace loving flower children who hate war. Yet, you know, Obama was much more warlike than Trump. Pretty interesting that they give him no credit for that, of course. But that that was the opposite of, of our first president George Washington who said beware of foreign entanglements, I think in his, you know, when he left office, he said that, and so that’s when we went the other way, and became this kind of international country, the isolationism was totally gone. At that point, you know, now we’ve got what military bases in almost every country on Earth, right?

Robert Spencer 23:11
Yeah. And the thing is that a lot of these are based on old Cold War models. I mean, Trump is pulling some of our troops out of Germany, because the Germans are not paying their fair share of their NATO expenses. And he noted quite rightly, that they’re, we’re supposed to be protecting them from the Russians with these troops there. But yet they’re dealing with the Russians and buying Russian oil, I believe it is. And so you’ve got a wonder we’re being taken advantage of there. But also, what’s the point of having American troops in Germany to protect them from the Russians, when they’re not remotely close to war, and the Germans are on friendly basis with Russia and buying Russian goods, though Cold War’s over the world war post World War Two arrangements should be ended. And so there should be no American troops in Germany,

Jason Hartman 24:01
at least we shouldn’t be paying for it. Because if you look at the population and the GDP of the eurozone, it rivals the US it might even be larger. I’m not sure. Why is the US responsible for that? You know, sure. It made sense. post World War Two, because they didn’t you know, the threat was right there. Right. But it makes no sense anymore. Yeah. Unbelievable. Well, interesting. Other highlight presidents before you wrap it up. Just anything else you

Robert Spencer 24:28
want to tell us? Yeah. You know, one of the recipes for being a good president is throughout history. And I show this in the book, rolling back regulations, lowering taxes, every raising tariffs, every time it’s been done with only a couple of exceptions it has made for prosperity in the United States. And that’s what Trump has done, of course, and that’s one of the reasons why the economy was booming before COVID and why it’s rebounding so quickly now. And one guy who doesn’t get credit is Warren G. Harding, who’s universally considered failure as president, he was actually one of the most effective presidents Wilson’s successor, who rolled back a lot of the controls that restrictions on speech and other things that Wilson had put into place during the war. And he got the economy booming, again, the roaring 20s were due to him. And so if we follow that kind of program, America always does well. And that’s what Trump is doing.

Jason Hartman 25:26
give out your website,

Robert Spencer 25:27
the website is Jihad watch, because my day job is tracking Jihad activity, written many books about that, and aspects of that problem. That’s jihad, watch.org. And Jihad watch RS on Twitter, and there’s even a Facebook page, but it’s so shadow banned, that you won’t be able to find it anyway.

Jason Hartman 25:45
The censors in the big tech world, we didn’t even talk about big tech, by the way, and that’s a whole nother topic. You know, I think people need to realize, in the in the media bath in which we all live, you just don’t know what you never see. You know, the old thing I talk about all the time, you can’t hear the dogs that don’t bark. And you’ve got to ask yourself, What don’t you see in your Facebook feed? What don’t you see in your Google search results? That’s the question. And what you see forms your beliefs. And what you don’t see, has no chance to form them.

Robert Spencer 26:23
America’s is a free society, because they control the public discourse to a tremendous degree. And they are increasingly clamping down on anybody who doesn’t who descends from the leftist agenda.

Jason Hartman 26:33
Right? And it’s, it’s really scary stuff that executive order from I guess a little over a month ago, was a step in the right direction, but a lot more needs to be done. Yeah, there do. We talk about a concentration of power. It’s like, you know, under the former Soviet Union, we have the task news agency. And now we’ve got a new version of tasks. It’s just these big tech companies is basically now the task news agency, and it’s global. It’s not just for one country. So really scary stuff that the power should be that concentrated. Robert, thanks so much for joining us. pleasure. Thank you.

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