Sunday, April 6, 2008

Worst. President. Ever.

When George W. Bush insists that history will judge his presidency as a success, most intelligent Americans just chuckle and shake their heads with visible amusement. Now it appears that there is one more group of people who disagree with Bush's historical self-analysis; the historians aren't buying it either:

A Pew Research Center poll of 109 leading historians found that 61 percent of them rank Bush as “worst ever” among U.S. presidents. Bush’s key competition comes from Buchanan, apparently, and a further 2 percent of the sample puts Bush right behind Buchanan as runner-up for “worst ever.” 96 percent of the respondents place the Bush presidency in the bottom tier of American presidencies. And was his presidency (it’s a bit wishful to speak of his presidency in the past tense–after all there are several more months left to go) a success or failure? On that score the numbers are still more resounding: 98 percent label it a “failure.”

This marks a dramatic deterioration for Bush. Previously he wasn’t viewed in the most positive terms, but there was a consensus that he wasn’t the “worst of the worst” either. That was in the spring of 2004. In the meantime, Bush has established himself as the torture president, the basis for his invasion of Iraq has been exposed as a fraud, the Iraq War itself has gone disastrously, the nation’s network of alliances has faded, and the economy has gone into a tailspin–not to mention the bungled handling of relief for victims of hurricane Katrina. In 2004, only 12 percent of historians were ready to place Bush dead last.

They're lumping him in with Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Franklin Pierce, the lunchroom outcasts of American presidents, and they all still beat him. Sad.


Doug"e" said...

"Ever". Hey now, hold on! What about all those bumper stickers I see around town that say "Jeb Bush 2012".

JBW said...

From what I hear, Jeb was supposed to be the favorite son; the one that followed in his father's footsteps. GW was the family fuck-up. And as we now see, a much deserved title.