The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever. Worse than [James] Buchanan.I think they're right. Bush may look bad now, but with a little perspective I think he can overtake Buchanan and stand alone as the Worst President Ever.
This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record:
# He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;
# He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;
# He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;
# He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;
# He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign (
Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);
# He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;
# He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;
# He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.
Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
"History, We Don't Know. We'll All Be Dead"
President Bush may not know or care how history will judge him, as the title's quote suggests. A recent survey of professional historians shows that he probably wouldn't like the answer: