Move over James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, Millard Fillmore, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon.
Unless there is a big shift in the current president's policies in his last two years in office it appears he may be heading to the top of many historians' list of America's worst president.
Of course, circumstances could drastically change and democracy, peace and freedom will break out across the Middle East and peace will reign in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism will recede and health care costs will decrease in the next two years. However, as much as we all hope these events will occur, the wind is, sadly, blowing in the other direction.
After reading the latest issue of US News and World Report on America's Worst Presidents and looking back at the May 4, 2006 Rolling Stone issue on Bush and finishing a book entitled Star-Spangled Men: America's Ten Worst Presidents by Nathan Miller I would have to offer George W. Bush as the leading candidate to head the list of America's worst chief executives.
Many of these former presidents are always on these lists chiefly because nobody remembers much about them or their presidency. However, if you look at Warren G. Harding and Ulysses S. Grant you see corruption and if you delve into James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce you see incompetence but in the current president you see a person whose policies have dramatically changed the world and not for the better.
While many of these former presidents were corrupt or incompetent or lazy as with William Howard Taft they did not begin wars that put American soldiers and civilians in harm's way. Unlike Bush, their incompetence or failures were rather benign. Bush has been, on the other hand, aggressively not benign. People weren't killed directly because of their policies although it could be argued that Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan's inactions led indirectly to the Civil War but people did not die on their watch because of their failed policies.
The current president started a pre-emptive war on his own. He totally failed to have a strategy for what would happen after we overthrew Saddam Hussein. While our coalition allies like Denmark and Great Britain are withdrawing their troops from Iraq in the near future the United States is going forward with its "surge" and adding new troops to the fiasco in Iraq.
The failed policy of Bush in Iraq goes beyond the Iraqi borders and de-stabilizes the entire Middle East. His policies of attempting to bring democracy to the area have mainly led to the rise of more terrorism and terrorists in the region. While Bush talks against Iran becoming more of a regional power his policies in Iraq have led to Iran becoming more of a power - the exact opposite of what he wanted.
Bush has been reckless with our soldiers, reckless with our allies and reckless with his arrogance and his not listening to any other experts including the Iraq Study Group.
Lyndon Johnson could be listed as one of our Worst Presidents because of his failed policies in Vietnam but he, at least, had a positive domestic record in civil rights and fighting poverty during his term in office.
Think back before 9/11. George W. Bush's presidency was going nowhere fast. There was no real theme to his presidency. There were no serious accomplishments.
After 9/11 the president became a one man band in fighting terrorism. But he hasn't changed his tune since 9/12. His one brief triumph in destroying the Taliban in Afghanistan is now being put to a test as they have re-surfaced and are gearing up for a long fight with NATO and American troops.
If you look back at 9/11 the president delayed his return to the White House from Florida with stops in Louisiana and Colorado before giving his night time speech on what had happened. It wasn't a stellar performance. The mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani was the hero of 9/11 along with the New York firefighters.
Bush did unite the country after 9/11 and did start the Homeland Security department to combat terrorism. However, in his two terms in office he has not yet caught the man who created this terrorism against America namely Osama bin Laden. This is a disgrace that would by itself put the president at the top of the "Worst Presidents" list. Why hasn't he put all of America's resources into capturing or killing this man who is responsible for the worst terrorist act ever against the United States? This is shameful.
The president who cast himself as a compassionate conservative in his first presidential campaign has turned out to be neither compassionate nor conservative.
His response to the hurricane that hit New Orleans and the surrounding coastal areas has been abysmal and heart breaking. It is certainly not compassionate behavior on the president's part. It is unbelievable how poor his administration's response was and still is to Katrina.
He is not conservative in his fiscal policies as we continue to mount huge deficits in our budgets. Where is the fiscal restraint he always discusses?
His main domestic accomplishment seems to be his tax cuts which appear to be out of place when we are in debt fighting our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism. Where is his call for sacrifice from the American people to pay for these wars?
All in all, George W. Bush has practiced policies that have not improved the United States or the world. In fact, the opposite has happened. The world is a less safe place to live and many people throughout the globe who once admired the United States now have a negative and even a hostile view toward us because of the president's policies.
So, move over Harding and Nixon and Tyler and Taylor because George W. Bush will be joining your ranks in 2009. In fact, he may become the leading candidate for America's Worst President.
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