Worst President Ever?
by Scott Shields, Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 11:38:45 AM EST
Matt Yglesias expresses some displeasure at the idea expressed by both Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton that George W. Bush is either "the worst" or "one of the worst" Presidents in U.S. history. Though he says Iraq has been "super-bad," he cites the Afghan War as one example of something Bush didn't totally screw up. In his mind, this is all about feeding the base with "rhetoric that's pleasing to the ears."
Now, I don't know if Bush will ultimately rank as the worst President ever. There were a few in the nineteenth century that were pretty damn horrible. And Herbert Hoover basically drove the country off a cliff, which I think at least qualifies him as the worst President of the twentieth century. Bush still has a few years left to do some more damage, anyway.
What I don't get is how Yglesias can overlook the Katrina debacle. The government is still literally counting the bodies down in the Louisiana, with the number currently at 1,420. Could Bush have stopped it? Not all of it, certainly, but he didn't need to be yucking it up over birthday cake with John McCain while people were dying. I think that's the kind of thing that puts someone in the running for the 'worst ever' trophy.
And in the case of the one thing Yglesias offers up in Bush's defense -- the war in Afghanistan -- there's no evidence to suggest that Bush handled it better than President Gore would have. I absolutely agree that some military action was necessary after 9/11. But Bin Laden wasn't captured or killed, which was at least one of the top goals of the operation. And as John Kerry wouldn't let anyone forget in 2004, he was essentially allowed to sneak out the back door at Tora Bora. Besides, it's not as if that war's completely over for us yet anyway.
Point being, I'm not sure whether or not Bush has a lock on the 'worst ever' title. As the polls show, it's widely agreed that he's pretty damn bad. But what's the point of criticizing leading Democrats for criticizing Bush? I'm pretty sure Reid and Clinton can find time in their days to criticize the President and further "policies that will benefit the country." This is the type of tsk-tsk'ing we've come to expect from the "liberal" pundits of the establishment. Do we really need it bleeding over into the blogs as well?