Since the November 2004 election, a number of people have posed this question: Is George W. Bush the worst President ever? The answer, for an appallingly long list of reasons, is an unequivocal yes! Keep in mind that those who claim it is too early to make this type of assessment are those who are still blaming Bill Clinton, and in some cases Jimmy Carter who has been out of office for nearly 30 years. Among those who have analyzed this question in the last year or two are David Greenberg and Douglas Brinkley, who explored numerous avenues that would lead to this conclusion, but left many other issues unexamined. For example, yes, Iraq is the most glaring Bush administration failure, but it is but one factor amongst an extremely lengthy list.
Mr. Greenberg contends it is far too early to make such a proclamation. But Bush’s failures as President are so epic, so far-reaching, the damage he has inflicted so gargantuan that it is simply not going to take 30 years of hindsight and historical examination to legitimize this assessment. Among other prominent people who have reached this conclusion are White House press corps columnist Helen Thomas, who publicly stated Bush was the worst president in all of American history. Other than being attacked and dismissed by the far right for her comments, Ms. Thomas is rightly acknowledged as one of the most highly respected columnists and commentators in the country and has even taken the press corps to task for its inability to ask the tough questions that needed to be asked during the reign of his administration. Many others, especially on various blogs have taken the entire American news media to task for the same reasons.
Greenberg’s insistence that Richard Nixon deserves the “worst ever” title does not hold up to careful and unbiased scrutiny. I am scarcely a Nixon apologist, or one who would defend Nixon and his Watergate legacy and record of dishonesty, racism and paranoia, and these things certainly do earn him a place at or near the bottom rung of American Presidents. But he is also responsible for normalizing relations with Soviet Russia and Communist China during the height of the cold war, the SALT 1 talks, and the establishment of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise and the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite Nixon’s crushing errors, he did have some foreign and domestic policy successes. Virtually none of Bush’s domestic or foreign policy initiatives can compare to that record.
Nixon’s biggest foreign policy blunder was in prolonging the war in Viet Nam, which he promised to end during his 1968 campaign. True, it was a war he inherited from his two predecessors, but Bush unilaterally began a war that virtually no one wanted based exclusively on lies, pretense and false and exaggerated information which completely contradicts Douglass Binkley’s contention of Bush’s honesty, and his administration allegedly being “mostly corruption-free”. How could anyone who lies as openly and as often as Bush does be deemed “honest”? How is it “honest” to have Karl Rove direct the conservative attack dogs on FOX news and talk radio in their attempts to smear the reputations and question the loyalty, sanity, motives and patriotism of anyone who dared to question the war or think for themselves? How is it “honest” to allow no-bid contracts to go to Haliburton, Vice President Cheney’s former employer? This smacks of corruption and malfeasance of the highest order.
Besides Iraq, Bush has presided over transforming the largest budget surplus of all time into the biggest deficit of all time in less than four years. Squandered the good will America had immediately following 9/11 by making us the most universally despised country on earth due to his heavy-handed, cowboy diplomacy. He disgraced the nation with his spectacularly incompetent response to hurricane Katrina. “Outed” formed CIA agent Valerie Plame just because she was married to Joseph Wilson, who questioned Bush’s intelligence gathering? Accelerated both the largest upward distribution of wealth of all time and the greatest overseas job loss of all time? Dismantled Habeas Corpus by allowing uncharged and unindicted “enemy combatants” to languish for years in Guantanmo Bay? This is a list that can go on for days.
By now, the only ones who continue to be Bush apologists are media hacks who are paid to be whores, corporate executives who are the prime beneficiaries of the Bush presidency and a dwindling base of hard-core Christian fundamentalists who despise Muslims and gays and lesbians. Hardly a group of people with any true credibility. Frankly, Americans should have a higher responsibility and commitment to fairness to stop this tidal wave of outrages, and bring Bush and Cheney to justice. At this point, ANY Senator or Congressional representative who does NOT support indicting Bush and Cheney does NOT deserve to hold office. Period.
As history unfolds (providing there IS a history to tell), it will become more and more obvious that those who share these views were correct and hardly deserving of the contempt of the far right. The Obama haters are only covering their tracks of their own racism and pathetic attempts at white washing Bush's pathetic legacy.