Olbermann brings out the obscure historical references
To the extent to which references to past Presidents can be obscure, I guess.
Early in his special comment defending Bill Clinton, he refers to the Bush administration as "the worst administration since James Buchanan."
I actually couldn't focus on the rest of the speech until I found out what Buchanan did that was so bad.
Turns out he was the president just before Lincoln. He was afraid to do much of anything to soothe the tensions between slave and free states. He took office just before the Supreme Court handed down its Dred Scott decision, and he really hoped that would be the end of it. His policy of inaction is thought to be a factor in starting the Civil War.
It's not the way we normally think of our "Let's bomb Iraq for no real reason!" president, but Olbermann's comparison is perfect in the context of the piece, which points out that Bush ignored warnings of terrorist activity for eight months before the Sept. 11 attacks and is now trying to place all responsibility for the attacks on the Clinton administration.
Man, I hope our next president's more of a Lincoln.
If you're interested, you can read about Buchanan here. Wikipedia is good too.
Of course, Olbermann's entire comment is worth watching; it's a very rare thing nowadays to see a news anchor who knows how to turn a phrase.