Bush Is the Worst President Since ...

Roundup: Historians' Take

Bernard Chazelle, Princeton professor, writing in his blog:

Ah, the ease with which George W. Bush attracts superlatives! Helen Thomas calls him"the worst president ever." A kinder, gentler Jonathan Chait ranks him"among the worst presidents in US history." No such restraint from Paul Berman, who brands him"the worst president the US has ever had." Nobel Laureate George Akerlof rates his government as the"worst ever." Even Bushie du jour , Christopher Hitchens, calls the man"unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things." Only Fidel Castro, it would appear, has had kind words for our 43rd President."Hopefully, he is not as stupid as he seems, nor as Mafia-like as his predecessors were."

Vain hopes. In a mere three years, President Bush has compiled a record of disasters that Fidel could only envy. While cutting taxes for the rich, starving out federal programs for the poor, dismantling environmental protections, riding roughshod over civil liberties, and running the largest budget deficit in history, his administration has pursued a"law of the jungle" brand of foreign policy fueled by overt paranoia and an imperious sense of omnipotence. Its shrill, threatening rhetoric, relentlessly echoed by a gang of media goons, has coarsened public discourse and alienated friends and allies.

At home, Bush has stoked the fears of a public traumatized by 9/11 and encountered rare success preaching an"us-against-them" Weltanschauung soaked in self-righteousness. Dissent has been equated with lack of patriotism, illegal detentions have gone unchallenged, and racial profiling has been given new life. In the run-up to the war, international disapproval met with sophomoric tantrums ("freedom fries, anyone?") and vindictive hissy fits (canceled exchange programs with French high schools): hardly America's finest hour.

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S.A. Smith - 1/5/2004

The world will never be the same now that we have this. Thanks, Teach!