How will historians tell the tale of George W. Bush's presidency? Some history professors aren't waiting 50 years to weigh in. The History News Network conducted an informal poll of professional historians -- eight in 10 said Bush's tenure has been a "failure." Twelve percent said Bush's presidency is the worst in all of American history.
Here's how historians finished the sentence "Bush's presidency is the worst failure since ____" and how they came to their conclusion.
REAGAN: "I think the presidency of George W. Bush has been generally a failure and I consider his presidency so far to have been the most disastrous since that of Ronald Reagan--because of the unconscionable military aggression and spending (especially the Iraq War), the damage done to the welfare of the poor while the corporate rich get richer, and the backwards religious fundamentalism permeating this administration. I strongly disliked and distrusted Reagan and think that George W. is even worse."
NIXON: "Actually, I think [Bush's] presidency may exceed the disaster that was Nixon. He has systematically lied to the American public about almost every policy that his administration promotes." Bush uses "doublespeak" to "dress up policies that condone or aid attacks by polluters and exploiters of the environment . . . with names like the 'Forest Restoration Act' (which encourages the cutting down of forests)."
HOOVER: "I would say GW is our worst president since Herbert Hoover. He is moving to bankrupt the federal government on the eve of the retirement of the baby boom generation, and he has brought America's reputation in the world to its lowest point in the entire history of the United States."
COOLIDGE: "I think his presidency has been an unmitigated disaster for the environment, for international relations, for health care, and for working Americans. He's on a par with Coolidge!"
HARDING: "Oil, money and politics again combine in ways not flattering to the integrity of the office. Both men also have a tendency to mangle the English language yet get their points across to ordinary Americans. [Yet] the comparison does Harding something of a disservice."
McKINLEY: "Bush is perhaps the first president [since McKinley] to be entirely in the 'hip pocket' of big business, engage in major external conquest for reasons other than national security, AND be the puppet of his political handler. McKinley had Mark Hanna; Bush has Karl Rove. No wonder McKinley is Rove's favorite historical president (precedent?)."
GRANT: "He ranks with U.S. Grant as the worst. His oil interests and Cheney's corporate Haliburton contracts smack of the same corruption found under Grant."