I was reading this little article from Rolling Stone. It came out a couple of months ago, but is still a pretty entertaining read. It asks the question: Is George W. Bush the worst president in the history of the United States?
The article was written by Princeton historian Sean Wilentz. First off, despite the Wentz's attempts to claim some kind of objectivity, the article is very biased. That's too bad, because he makes some very good, and very objective arguments. It's sad that an American historian would make the mistake of being so partisan. He, of all people, should know better. Instead his partisanship simply makes it all too easy for conservatives to dismiss. Of course it may not matter if he makes it easy to be dismissed or not. But if you follow that line of thinking, what's the point of even writing something like this?
I won't dwell too much longer on his biasses, but they are obvious. He claims that the greatest presidents were George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt. The inclusion of Roosevelt shows huge bias. FDR's push into socialism is still a divisive issue. Then there's the court packing...
Which leads to Wilentz's other obvious bias. He talks a lot about various scandals that previous presidents have endured. He dismisses the impeachment of Clinton as partisan. This may be true, but it doesn't change the fact that Clinton was only the second president impeached. He mentions several other scandals, but completely leaves out FDR's court packing. This was one of the worst scandals in American history. Newspapers everywhere depicted FDR as an aspiring king or dictator. Wilentz speaks at length about Bush's signing statements policy, as a huge blow to The Constitution, but it's nothing compared to what FDR did.
So there, Wilentz's credibility is quite questionable because of his obvious bias. That doesn't change the fact that many of his other arguments are sound. Bush used lies to lead us into a disastarous war in Iraq. He has used divisive issues to promote hostility between Americans. He has refused to ever admit any mistakes or faults. He has been an enemy of the scientific community. He showed complete incompetence when faced with the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
That's a pretty bad list, but there's more. Just read Wilentz's article. I'm no historian. It's hard for me to say if Bush is the worst president in history. I disagree with Wilentz and think his tax cuts are (mostly) good. I have problems with Bush that Wilentz does not such as the No Child Left Behind program and the Prescription Drug program (Wilentz says these things just need more funding -- again showing his big government/socialist bias.) Still, Bush has been the worst president in my lifetime.
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