Is W. Bush the worst president in 100 years?

The article

Even if he could, it’d be unlikely he would run for a 3rd term now, but is he really the worst of them all in the last century? What’s your thoughts on the matter? As a Canadian, I’m woefully uninformed on the subject compared to someone who studied even the slighest, as American History was never part of my curriculum and so I only know some presidents (usually the more famous ones).

Please God everyone let’s keep this civil so we don’t have to lock yet another politics thread in Main.

As for my opinion it’s an interesting article but I don’t know enough about the previous 100 year’s-worth of presidents to comment. :V

I can’t really say. While I’m sure there have been plenty of bad presidents, most of what I learned about the nation’s presidents were about the more important events, and what they did. THings like budget and stuff doesn’t come up in history books. I’d porbably say he is, jsut because he’s the worst I’ve seen. Dunno if that’s accurate or not.

There’s certainly plenty of people who think so. John Dean, former Nixon advisor, recently published a book about George W. titled <A HREF=“”>Worse Than Watergate</A>, chronicling the various wheelings-and-dealings of America’s current president, and Carl Bernstein, half of the duo that cracked the Watergate case at the Washington Post, called for a congressional investigation into what he called the “most corrupt president of our time.” So, yeah, there’s some people who think so.

However, there’s also plenty of people who like him (primarily at Fox News… >_>). I’d personally say, as an American, that he’s <I>one of</I> the worst presidents we’ve had in the last 100 years, but I wouldn’t say that he stands alone. But then, I’m a Democrat, so my view will obviously be skewered.

Two words; Herbert Hoover.

Excuse me whilst I extract my tounge from my cheek.

If you try to discuss a question like this, politics is unavoidable, and the politics of any given person are likely to influence their reasoning. I’ve heard people argue that Lincoln was our worst president because he suspended the writ of <i>habeus corpus</i> (which was within his power if memory serves) shrug.

Andrew Jackson was a general sonovabitch too. Got elected primarily on his “heroism” at the battle of New Orleans, or so my current American History teacher tells it, even though the battle was completely without strategic impact as a peace treaty had already been signed. But, what with Francis Scott Key memorializing the battle in “The Star Spangled Banner” and whatnot (I remember a bluegrass song about it too; “In eight-teen four-teen ah took a little trip/ …”, though that undoubtedly came later). He distrusted banks and thought specie was the only honest currency, which I can sort-of understand; there were a lot of fly-by-night institutions that would lend out notes to absurdity and then run off with the deposits. He also wanted to push the remaining native tribes west of the Mississippi.

Of course, “worst” is a pretty vague term anyway. Were it not for the negative connotation I’d call it a glittering generality. Worst person? Worst for America? How so? In foreign policy? In domestic policy?

So basically we’re looking at an excuse to spout about one’s political ideology unless we define our terms.

[edit]I think it bears mentioning that I know neither Jackson nor Lincoln held office less than a century ago. Setting an arbitrary time limit like that (woo round numbers) seems a little stupid. “Worst since the Depression” (thus excluding Hoover) is sorta better as you’re deliniating the time period under consideration by an arbitrary <i>event</i> rather than an arbitrary number of years.

Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus is mentioned only in Article I, which deals exclusively with Congress. So, yeah, Lincoln himself couldn’t suspend the writ on his own; it would require Congressional support. The main debate is whether a declaration of war (I think we had one for the Civil War) constitutes suspending it without specifically mentioning the suspension.

And they probably did a hundred years because if they included all of US history, you’ll get unfair comparisons to William Henry Harrison. He gets a bum rap though. He shouldn’t be included in any Best or Worst list. :expressionless:

Why not? He did that whole Teapot Dome scandal, that makes him pretty bad.

That was Warren G. Harding (although, if I remember correctly, Harding wasn’t involved. Just his Secretary of the Navy, still bad). William Henry Harrison died in thirty days. Remember the Simpsons caretaker presidents song.

We are the mediocre presidents.
You won’t find our faces on dollars or on cents!
There’s Taylor, there’s Tyler, there’s Fillmore and there’s Hayes.
There’s William Henry Harrison, "I died in thirty days!’’
We… are… the… adequate, forgettable, occasionally regrettable
Caretaker presidents of the U-S-A!

Whoever the president was during the panic of 187something was pretty shitty too, if I remember right.

I would probably have to agree with the statement of Dubya being the worst president in a hundred years. No other president can I think of that has been wrapped up in as much scandal, immoral or unconstitutional as Dubya.

Sounds about right.

I’d say Nixon comes rather close. Watergate, Cambodia, escalating Vietnam, providing some help to Pinochet’s coup, almost sure impeachment and removal from office…

He did do quite a bit of good though, which would probably offset his badness (although, despite his controversies, I think history still treats him too badly). Improving relations with China, Détente, EPA, SALT, various NASA related stuff, changing monetary system to a converting rather than peg gold standard, ultimately ending Vietnam (after escalating it though).

But, ultimately, I don’t think we can currently say Dubya is the worst in the past 100 years. Historians are only now starting to truly place Reagan on the list. Bush and Clinton still float around the middle because we can’t historically gauge their impact yet. We certainly can’t gauge Dubya yet. There needs to be a greater understanding of his long term impact, and he needs to be gauged with some impartiality rather than during or near his term when emotions and biases run high.

Also, assessment of him may change depending on when documents are declassified. For a long time, JFK hovered around average/above average; however, a few years ago, documents concerning the Cuban Missile Crisis made experts view his handling of the Crisis even more favorably than before. He shot up into the top ten, peaking around #9.

it’d probably go:

Bush 2

(LBJ was more responsible for accelerating Vietnam than Nixon. Andrew Jackson was also kind of a cool President, but I like the ones that are very conflictual. And both Buchanan and Andrew Johnson were probably worse than all of those.)

We had a lot of crappy Presidents in the 20th century though.

the article cited though is seriously flawed, especially the last part of this paragraph:

That Bush is unpopular, especially among academics, is not surprising in itself. He has always been a polarizing figure, and most presidents have been deeply unpopular at some point in office, especially those who dedicated themselves to ambitious projects beyond America’s borders. Even Abraham Lincoln, now generally considered the greatest of all U.S. presidents, was widely detested in his day for triggering the bloodbath of the Civil War for no good reason.
there’s also a part about Reagan winning the Cold War which isn’t really accurate.

Johnson that far down? The last top ten list I saw (a few years back, included the #9 JFK) had LBJ at #10. I mean, I don’t like really anything he did (save for the CRA and parts of the VRA), but historians LOVE him for that whole War on Poverty idea.

But if it’s just how you would rank them, that’s cool too. :slight_smile:

“Johnson” is a little non-specific. We had Andrew Johnson and LBJ, though I assume you mean the latter. I liked LBJ’s form of “personal politics,” but I agree he wasn’t that great of a President. But then, he wasn’t even elected until the second year after he held the title.

Oh shit. Yeah. Merlin probably meant Andrew Johnson. Fuck. Yeah. He’s the perennial #2 worst Prez. Buchanan gets the honor of being #1.

I dunno, I would rank LBJ pretty high based on the Tonkin Gulf Resolution alone. The whole “patrol boat that may or may not have fired in the general direction of a US cruiser, so let’s go to war!” thing was… pretty shitty.

I’ve heard story of little old quiet polite church ladies exploding into a yelling cursing rage at the mention of J. Edgar Hoover’s name. A LOT of stories.

Off topic, I vote Theo. Roosevelt as most kick-awesome Pres.

The “Star Spangled Banner” was written during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry in Blatimore, not the Battle of New Orleans.

I agree thought that Jackson was an S.O.B. A good part of his notoriaty came from being an Indian fighter/

Worse than Woodrow “Poland needs access to the sea and we need the prohibition” Wilson? Hardly. I mean, the man is directly responsible for much of the ethnical and nationalistic hatred that spiraled into World War II.
Should Bush manage to start World War III, then he is undoubtly the worst one, though.

Believe it or not, Wilson is considered a one of the great presidents.