The worst president ever
We are a nation of measures. We love to rank anything and anyone. We rank the richest men, the top home run hitters, the greatest quarterbacks and the best films.
And for the past 50 years or so, our best and brightest scholars and journalists have indulged in ranking US presidents.
Lincoln, Washington and the two Roosevelts always show up in the top tier, but recently our attention has turned to chief executives who appear at the bottom of the heap.
Traditionally those spots have been reserved for Nixon, Harding, Hoover and a slew of pre- and post-Civil War Presidents. But now, the experts are starting to give George Bush serious consideration as the worst president ever.
In early 2004 the non partisan History News Network surveyed 415 historians, 81 percent of whom called the Bush presidency a failure. Moreover, 12 percent of those called Bush the worst president in history, and that was three years ago before George’s failures had escalated.
Since then, many historians are revising their opinions of Bush downward. Columbia University professor Eric Foner said in December of last year that he now concluded Bush was the worst president of all time.
We all know the big reasons for Bush’s decline in popularity with scholars and civilians alike – among them the War in Iraq and the mishandling of Katrina. I’ve covered these and other impeachable offenses many times before.
But for me, Bush’s recent pronouncements are more telling and even more egregious.
For example, after six years in office the man has finally admitted that global warming is a problem. This is after a top advisor tampered with a scientific report so that the administration could disparage environmentalist opponents.
And after Katrina struck, Bush announced that we shouldn’t be dependent on foreign oil and that gasoline prices were too high. This is after the president’s oil buddies had a field day jacking up gas prices and then registering record profits during the hurricane disaster.
After the recent election when Democrats took control of government, Bush fired Rumsfeld and admitted that mistakes had been made in Iraq. His apology came too late for the 3,000 US soldiers who died for nothing.
Last week came two more startling revelations from our commander in chief.
He now believes that CEO salaries are out of control, and that subsidies for rich farmers are too high.
We should have seen this coming years ago, when Bush proudly admitted that he didn’t read newspapers. The man may be politically savvy, but he is intellectually inept and his lack of judgment, combined with a tardiness to come to his senses (which is oxymoronically impossible), have cost thousands of lives and untold damage to our economy.
Presidents are supposed to lead. They are supposed to act, not react. Most of all, they are supposed to be informed and open-minded. Bush’s ignorance has only been exceeded by his stubbornness, which is the reason it takes him so long to recognize and embrace the realities of any problem.
His inability to comprehend crucial situations, his ill-advised policies and his unwillingness to reverse them are already placing Bush among the worst presidents in history.
His recent revelations only assure a low ranking in the future.
Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7), and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on MY48 (cable channel 15).