The Worst President in History?

Discussion in 'SHH Community Forum' started by BT18, May 3, 2006.

  1. BT18 Registered

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    http://www.rollingstone.com/news/profile/story/9961300/the_worst_president_in_history

    One of America's leading historians assesses George W. Bush

    Flashback: Bush in '99 -- We Warned You!

    George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.

    From time to time, after hours, I kick back with my colleagues at Princeton to argue idly about which president really was the worst of them all. For years, these perennial debates have largely focused on the same handful of chief executives whom national polls of historians, from across the ideological and political spectrum, routinely cite as the bottom of the presidential barrel. Was the lousiest James Buchanan, who, confronted with Southern secession in 1860, dithered to a degree that, as his most recent biographer has said, probably amounted to disloyalty -- and who handed to his successor, Abraham Lincoln, a nation already torn asunder? Was it Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, who actively sided with former Confederates and undermined Reconstruction? What about the amiably incompetent Warren G. Harding, whose administration was fabulously corrupt? Or, though he has his defenders, Herbert Hoover, who tried some reforms but remained imprisoned in his own outmoded individualist ethic and collapsed under the weight of the stock-market crash of 1929 and the Depression's onset? The younger historians always put in a word for Richard M. Nixon, the only American president forced to resign from office.

    Now, though, George W. Bush is in serious contention for the title of worst ever. In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a "failure." Among those who called Bush a success, many gave the president high marks only for his ability to mobilize public support and get Congress to go along with what one historian called the administration's "pursuit of disastrous policies." In fact, roughly one in ten of those who called Bush a success was being facetious, rating him only as the best president since Bill Clinton -- a category in which Bush is the only contestant.

    The lopsided decision of historians should give everyone pause. Contrary to popular stereotypes, historians are generally a cautious bunch. We assess the past from widely divergent points of view and are deeply concerned about being viewed as fair and accurate by our colleagues. When we make historical judgments, we are acting not as voters or even pundits, but as scholars who must evaluate all the evidence, good, bad or indifferent. Separate surveys, conducted by those perceived as conservatives as well as liberals, show remarkable unanimity about who the best and worst presidents have been.

    Historians do tend, as a group, to be far more liberal than the citizenry as a whole -- a fact the president's admirers have seized on to dismiss the poll results as transparently biased. One pro-Bush historian said the survey revealed more about "the current crop of history professors" than about Bush or about Bush's eventual standing. But if historians were simply motivated by a strong collective liberal bias, they might be expected to call Bush the worst president since his father, or Ronald Reagan, or Nixon. Instead, more than half of those polled -- and nearly three-fourths of those who gave Bush a negative rating -- reached back before Nixon to find a president they considered as miserable as Bush. The presidents most commonly linked with Bush included Hoover, Andrew Johnson and Buchanan. Twelve percent of the historians polled -- nearly as many as those who rated Bush a success -- flatly called Bush the worst president in American history. And these figures were gathered before the debacles over Hurricane Katrina, Bush's role in the Valerie Plame leak affair and the deterioration of the situation in Iraq. Were the historians polled today, that figure would certainly be higher.

    Even worse for the president, the general public, having once given Bush the highest approval ratings ever recorded, now appears to be coming around to the dismal view held by most historians. To be sure, the president retains a considerable base of supporters who believe in and adore him, and who reject all criticism with a mixture of disbelief and fierce contempt -- about one-third of the electorate. (When the columnist Richard Reeves publicized the historians' poll last year and suggested it might have merit, he drew thousands of abusive replies that called him an idiot and that praised Bush as, in one writer's words, "a Christian who actually acts on his deeply held beliefs.") Yet the ranks of the true believers have thinned dramatically. A majority of voters in forty-three states now disapprove of Bush's handling of his job. Since the commencement of reliable polling in the 1940s, only one twice-elected president has seen his ratings fall as low as Bush's in his second term: Richard Nixon, during the months preceding his resignation in 1974. No two-term president since polling began has fallen from such a height of popularity as Bush's (in the neighborhood of ninety percent, during the patriotic upswell following the 2001 attacks) to such a low (now in the midthirties). No president, including Harry Truman (whose ratings sometimes dipped below Nixonian levels), has experienced such a virtually unrelieved decline as Bush has since his high point. Apart from sharp but temporary upticks that followed the commencement of the Iraq war and the capture of Saddam Hussein, and a recovery during the weeks just before and after his re-election, the Bush trend has been a profile in fairly steady disillusionment.
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  2. Calvin Muchas smooches

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    There might have been a couple worse presidents, but as far as the post FDR modern presidencies go, Bush has to be an obvious choice. Nixon as least accomplished some very good things and was very good at the actual politics of the presidency, had he not been so paranoid, even though his presidency ended in shame.
     
  3. The Chairman Pimps' Main Prophet

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    The worst president ever is Jimmy Carter. Hands down.
     
  4. Mr Sparkle Registered

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    I think that brief period that Deaf-Mute incontinent gorilla was president was pretty sucky.

    innaguration ball indeed :down:
     
  5. Calvin Muchas smooches

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    Pre-W Bush I'd have agreed.
     
  6. TheSlag Registered

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    LOL... he was pretty sad wasn't he. ;)
     
  7. LarryLegend Registered

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    Usually historians wait to evaluate presidencies in order to gain some perspective. Ranking W right now is mere shallow, pop cultural pandering.
     
  8. Lackey Registered

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    I don't like GWB, but I have to agree...but then, this did appear in Rolling Stone, so...
     
  9. Arkady Rossovich Registered

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    Bush without a doubt will be ranked as one of the worst Presidents in US history.Its already safe to say that now,i can not think of any good things he has done at all.
     
  10. Tangled Web Registered

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    The presidents during that manifest destiny crap.
     
  11. Tangled Web Registered

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    He did capture Saddam.

    Was Saddam a threat to us?

    No.

    But still.
     
  12. LarryLegend Registered

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    He did good right after 9-11.
     
  13. DV8 Band Loser

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    seriously . . . can we just impeach this fuack!!?? What is it going to take until someone does something? Who is it going to be that does it? How can I help?
     
  14. Mr Sparkle Registered

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    :confused: really?

    oK I guess, but sending troops to afghanistan? that's doing good.
    even the aforementioned deaf-mute incontinent gorilla would've done that.
     
  15. Tangled Web Registered

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    No! Impeachment isn't there to punish presidents for wrong doings. Only if they cheat on their wives. :o
     
  16. DV8 Band Loser

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    yeah . . . he stood so proudly on that pile of rubble while taking advantage of our country's emotional vulnerability . . . . *claps*
     
  17. DV8 Band Loser

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    oh shyt!!! I forgot . . . we can't impeach him for morally corrupt policies of every other form! :mad:
     
  18. Tangled Web Registered

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    Though I'm sure if he did cheat on his wife the Republicans would be cool with it.
     
  19. The Chairman Pimps' Main Prophet

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    Gerald Ford was also quite pitiful. People say Bush is stupid. This man was the clumsiest, most inept man we ever had next to Carter (well, Ford was clumsier than Carter). And he told the great city of New York to "go to hell".
     
  20. DV8 Band Loser

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    Everyone cept Dick Cheney . . . that creature is asexual . . .
     
  21. Palpadious Registered

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    Don't you heathens understand you can only get impeached for recieving oral pleasure? :confused:
     
  22. Lackey Registered

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    It all depends who's writing the history books... Lincoln was one of the worst presidents in history and yet if you pick up pretty much any high school history textbook it'll praise him as one of the best. Same goes for FDR.
     
  23. DV8 Band Loser

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  24. DV8 Band Loser

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    yeah, let's save the murdering, corruption, lies, murdering, corruption, more lies for the confessional before death . . . that'll fix ol dubya's conscience right up!

    But the oral pleasure . . . . . them's IMPEACHMENTIN' WORDS
     
  25. KingOfDreams Registered

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    I didn't live during that time but I do understand that he didn't get much done. Bush has gotten stuff done...but bad stuff. Carter is still a great, kind, smart man, everything Bush'll never be. Everything he did after his presidency was great (Habitat for Humanity for example). Wait, he did broker peace between the long warring nations of Israel and Egypt during his presidency and this was one of the things that eventually lead to his Nobel Peace Prize. And as for the whole Iranian hostage situation, I firmly believe that Reagan made a deal with the terrorists.
     

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