Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Worst. President. Ever.

It all started with this quote from "Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, [who] said Thursday that given Mr. Bush's record, 'I really do believe this man will go down as the worst president this country has ever had.'"

A number of bloggers decided to weigh in on whether Bush was really the Worst. President. Ever. Matthew Yglesias began the debate with, Worst. President. Ever. by stating:

He's somewhat worse than, say, his father. But somewhat better than Ronald Reagan. Bad -- very bad, even, if you want to get indignant about it -- but bad in a run-of-the-mill, parties- alternate-in- power, rightwingers- are-all-bad kind of way.

* * * *

This just isn't the stuff out of which world-historical badness is made.
This generated substantial comments on the issue. Then Mark Schmitt at TPMCafe jumped into the frey with his views on the subject, He's Not the Worst President?

Next up was Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo. He summed up his opinion on the issue well:

President Bush represents something different from the normal sloshing back and forth between liberalism and conservatism. He's a radical. He's set on a destructive course, laced with corruption and fed by extremism. And he mistakenly believes that stubbornness and ignorance constitute a virtue he calls 'leadership'.

I don't think there's much question that President Bush is the most conservative president in modern American history. But the issue is not his conservatism; it's his radicalism and destructiveness, his willingness to wreck the state. 'Worst ever' covers a lot of ground. But I think there's a good argument to be made that he is.
Atrios concurs, noting these are "Scary times."

I gave my vote some time ago, in He's Number One, after a group of historians gave Bush's presidency a failing grade, with 50 voting him as the worst President ever. In fact, we have an obligation to Teach Your Children Well, so they understand the historical perspective of our times.

And, finally, let's not forget Helen Thomas. As I noted in Thomas is a Terror, she was ahead of the game. She called Bush the worst president ever some time ago. As Dean of the White House Press Corp, she should know.

UPDATE: No sooner did I dig out my Helen Thomas reference then she appears for an interview on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, and he asks her about it:

Let's get back to this issue of being the worst president ever. And you've covered a lot of presidents going back to President Kennedy. Worse than Richard Nixon?

THOMAS: Well I think what this president has done is really struck a match to the tinder box that we all know is the Middle East. And I think that Nixon's crime, so called, was the abuse of government power. In this case, in the case of the president and his cohorts, I think they have really spread war throughout the Middle East.

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