Worst Ever

From Harper’s:

They (historians) want to stack him up against his thirty-three predecessors as the nation’s chief executive. Among historians, there is no doubt into which echelon he falls–his competitors are Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Franklin Pierce, the worst of the presidential worst. But does Bush actually come in dead last?

Yes. 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.”

Though admittedly, the final historical verdict on Bush won’t be reached during my lifetime, these results are encouraging. It’s a strange victory for those of us who have spent the last eight years decrying that man’s performance in office.

Best quote offered by one of the historians?

This one:

“No individual president can compare to the second Bush,” wrote one. “Glib, contemptuous, ignorant, incurious, a dupe of anyone who humors his deluded belief in his heroic self, he has bankrupted the country with his disastrous war and his tax breaks for the rich, trampled on the Bill of Rights, appointed foxes in every henhouse, compounded the terrorist threat, turned a blind eye to torture and corruption and a looming ecological disaster, and squandered the rest of the world’s goodwill. In short, no other president’s faults have had so deleterious an effect on not only the country but the world at large.”

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2 responses to “Worst Ever

  1. My mother was 85 when she died 2 years ago. A year or so before that, I asked her what she thought about this. I figured she’d lived through the Depression, WWII, McCarthyism, and a was a bit of a history buff besides, so I wanted her perspective. She said that nothing in her lifetime could touch Bush and his administration when it came to being bad. Bad intentions, bad execution, bad to the bone.

  2. Absolutely.

    And for someone born during the Harding administration, that’s saying a hell of a lot!

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