Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bush is the new Polk, Pierce, Buchanan, Johnson, Harding, Coolidge, and Nixon

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Or worse.

As distinguished historian Eric Foner writes in the Post:

He has sought to strip people accused of crimes of rights that date as far back as the Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence: trial by impartial jury, access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence against them. In dozens of statements when signing legislation, he has asserted the right to ignore the parts of laws with which he disagrees. His administration has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world. Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on detainees indicate how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law.

Historians are loath to predict the future. It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.

And, indeed, perhaps he is. I am not about to disagree. (There's so much that Foner leaves out, after all, like plutocratic tax cuts, negligence on global warming, irresponsible industry deregulation, etc. Plus, Bush has been an embarrassment on so many levels that he has surely degraded the very institution of the presidency.)

For more, see The (liberal) Girl Next Door here and J. Kingston Pierce here.


Also in the Post, Douglas Brinkley, another distinguished historian, writes that Bush is the new Hoover: "Though Bush may be viewed as a laughingstock, he won't have the zero-integrity factors that have kept Nixon and Harding at the bottom in the presidential sweepstakes... He has joined Hoover as a case study on how not to be president."

I recommend both pieces.

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