I have written about the legacy of George Walker Bush several times on this site. Most notably, I did a 5 part series that tried to answer the question if GWB is the worst President ever. Now I read an opinion by Thomas Fleming, who is one of the most respected and well written presidential historians that we should all take a long sigh and relax for a bit before grading the man.
I respect the work of Mr. Fleming (and the WSJ) to quote too much of his article on this site. Please go to their site and read the full opinion but here are some highlights that I thought were interesting.
Several polls of historians have named George W. Bush the worst
president in American history. This baffles me. I’ve been writing about
presidents for a long time. What I know, and what I presume these
gentleman know, doesn’t connect.
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For the last 4 posts we have been exploring the claim that George W. Bush is the worst President of the United States ever. I am tired of this conversation now. I may add more topics to grade George W. Bush but I think this is a good list for now. So, how did he do? Lets give the short report card. See the earlier posts if you want to understand the reason behind each grade.
9/11 – A – 4.0
Anthrax – A – 4.0
Afghanistan invasion – A – 4.0
Afghanistan occupation – D – 1.0
Al Qaida – C – 2.0
Preventing terrorism – C – 2.0
We are wimps – A – 4.0
Libya – A – 4.0
Africa – B – 3.0
Economy – C – 2.0
Corporate governance – B – 3.0
Iraq solution – C – 2.0
Iraq invasion – A – 4.0
Iraq occupation – D – 1.0
Israel – B – 3.0
Palestine – D – 1.0
Iran – not sure – no GPA
North Korea – C – 2.0
World opinion – no grade matters – no GPA
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For the last three posts we have been exploring the claim that George W. Bush is the worst President of the United States ever. Some say that he is the worst, some say he is in the middle of the pack but just about everyone agrees he is not the best ever. This post continues the job of grading W on the various issues that he faced in his two terms of office. See the previous posts to get the background for where we are now.
Iraq occupation – D – same as Afghanistan. A lot of good but the job is not done so W can’t get better grade until the job is done. He can’t get better than a C ever since he messed up so bad by putting Bremer in place – Bremer’s decisions really messed up the nation for several years. I think that history will eventually say that the US did better in Iraq than just about any other takeover of a foreign nation (Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Georgia, Poland, etc) although that is a terrible standard to compare us to.
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For the last two posts we have been exploring the claim that George W. Bush is the worst President of the United States ever. This post continues the job of grading W on the various issues that he faced in his two terms of office. See the previous posts to get the background for where we are now.
We are wimps – A – Osama Bin Laden and Sadam Hussein counted on the fact that the US doesn’t like to stay in the fight when the going gets tough (Vietnam and Somalia are great examples). He stood his ground and got destroyed politically to prove this wrong. Much of the animosity most Americans feel about W stems from his unwillingness to allow the cut and run mentality to take over. But now our enemies don’t just assume that we will run home to mommy when the bullets start flying.
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It is probably too early to truly grade W and rank him among his peers. Time will tell if his policies were somewhat effective or total garbage. If you are going to grade a President, you need to take a more inclusive look and not just talk about his various failings. Also the “what if” discussion in that grading is incredibly important such as, “What if President Bush had not gone after Saddam Hussein – what would the world be like?”
It is also difficult to grade individual events because they are so intertwined (Libya, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Al Qaida, Palestine, Syria are all different variations of the same problem). That said – here are my thoughts on the 19 things that GW did (or didn’t do):
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The web is filled with pronouncements that George W. Bush is the worst President of the United States ever (or not). I thought I would spend a few moments on the subject. This is a multi-part post so come back later to read more on this subject. Better yet, subscribe to the feed and you can get it delivered to your email or feed reader.
First, lets look at what the historians say about W or at least how they grade other Presidents. Wikipedia has a pretty good write up on the subject so let’s start there. As with all of the recent Presidents there is a lack of the number of surveys and rankings. We can see from the couple that are there that the Wall Street Journal ranked him 18th out of 42 and Siena put him at 23. That is squarely in the middle of the pack and nowhere near the worst. The worst Presidents tend to Harding, Grant, Andrew Johnson, Nixon and Buchanan. Depending on your political bent, you could throw Carter or Coolidge into this mix for the worst. W doesn’t appear to be in this company.
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