George W Bush often likes to believe that despite his abysmal unpopularity now, that in the years to come he will be proven right and portrayed as a strong, brave, and brilliant visionary in the mold of Winston Churchill, Harry S Truman, or Abraham Lincoln; who decided to transform the Middle East into a fountain of democracy and that the means he has employed over the past seven years, including heavy government secrecy, will in the ends justify the ends.
However a new non-scientific poll from the History News Network, which was released last week, surveyed 109 well-known historians. These are the people who study, analyze, teach, and write history. The results show that 98%! That is 98.2%, view the Bush/Cheney administration as a failure, while 1.8% deemed it a success.
The respondents were also asked to rate President George W Bush amongst his 42 predecessors. A startling 61% said he was the worst President in U.S history, while another 35% placed Bush in the bottom ten, while only four placed him in the top ten best.
A similar survey was conducted in 2004. At that time 81% ranked the Bush/Cheney administration as a failure and 19% as a success.
“George Bush combined mediocrity with malevolent policies and thus seriously damaged the welfare and standing of the United States,” wrote one historian, echoing the sentiments of many of his professional colleagues. “Bush does only two things well, said one of the most distinguished historians. ” He knows how to make the very rich very much richer, and has an amazing talent for f**king up everything else he even approaches. His administration has been the most reckless, dangerous, irresponsible, mendacious, arrogant, self-righteous, incompetent, and deeply corrupt one in all of American history.”
MY TAKE: There are genuine criticisms and flaws in this poll. Only 109 historians were surveyed and this was a non-scientific poll. Also his administration isn’t over yet and it will take sometime to get the full verdict of history.
Having said all that Bush from what can be seen now by 70-80% of the American people, he is certainly pulling ahead in the race for being one of the worst, if not the worst for his mishaps, stupidity, corruption, and his occupation of Iraq, amongst a myriad of other issues.
So the study isn’t flawless and calling him the worst might be somewhat premature. But I don’t see such an incompetent, careless, and disdainful figure as George W Bush ever ranking as a heroic and much admired leader. The question when assessing him should never be what did he do wrong, but whether or not anybody can find anything he has ever done that wasn’t either malicious or ineptly performed.