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December 28, 2005
The Ten Worst Americans: Number One

• #1: John Edgar Hoover

At first, this attorney-cum-supercop only wanted to make America safer, but in short order, this bureaucrat re-enacted every Machiavellian nightmare while transforming a backwater investigative office into the free world’s most effective police force. He didn’t last 47 years as America’s top cop by playing fair. He used his influence and abused his power to accrue files on almost every political player, friend or foe, to use as blackmail to increase his personal power or as leverage for legislative and executive action. He became the closest thing America has ever known to an emperor and managed to die before his empire came crashing down around him. The tragedy of his life can be seen in his contradictions: a gay man who persecuted homosexuals; his undeniable love of country getting consumed by his thirst for power; his desire to enforce the law giving way to his paranoid domestic-espionage activities designed to derail political opponents, such as Martin Luther King and others he deemed dangerous. Hoover did good work as well in creating a first-class law enforcement agency, but his ego forced it to miss the rise of the Italian Mafia and his racism kept it lily-white far past his death.

For the unfettered power he garnered through his Orwellian efforts and his reflexive use of blackmail to maintain that power -- a power which cowed presidents and Congresses alike for decades -- Hoover is, I believe, the obvious choice of worst American in national history.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 28, 2005 8:39 PM

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» America's Bottom Ten from High Country Conservative
Captain Ed has listed his top ten worst Americans. I can't say I agree with a number of his choices, particularly his choices of Richard Nixon (#6), Nathan Bedford Forrest (#4), and J. Edgar Hoover (#1). [Read More]

Tracked on December 29, 2005 1:56 AM

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Tracked on March 30, 2007 11:42 AM


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