Monday, February 16, 2009

It's Early, But It Looks Like Karl Rove Was Right

During the waning years of the Bush presidency, some were saying that history would view him as the worst president ever. No no, Karl Rove replied, historians will view the president much more favorably. I'm paraphrasing.

C-SPAN has surveyed some historians and while it's true that Bush has only been out of office for a month, he's not ranked as the worst president ever. In fact, at #36 he's seventh worst. He mops up the floor with Buchanan and Harding.

Interestingly, in 2000 Clinton came in at #21 and is now up to #15, so I should probably keep my mouth shut for another 9 years before I start gloating.

(h/t Wonkette)


Publius said...

Any "historian" that claims he knows right now how Bush will be seen by history is either a liar, an idiot, or so partisan that he cannot see he is an idiot and liar.

Bush may end up being in the lower half of presidents. On the other hand he may not.

We won't know for decades, after his actions have had time to come to their ends, after the bios of those around him are researched, studied and debated, after the events of the world have occurred and the consequences from them are realized... DECADES will have to go by before we have even the first clue of how he will be seen.

Danielk said...

Probably not partisan - a Republican is at the top of the list.

wamk said...

It's impossible to judge history while it is being written.

It takes time to reflect on what was achieved, and what was not to determine where someone ranks.

Hence, Bill Clinton going up a few points.

Any historian who is writing on a President that was in office while that historian was alive will have some bias and partisan feelings reflected in their assessment. It's human nature.

History will be much kinder to Bush than it is being now.

Danielk said...

Though as you say, it's impossible to judge at this point. It's also possible history will be even crueller to Bush than we are.

wamk said...


Danielk said...

I know you feel these things deeply - it's a case of "my Bush, myself."

wamk said...

I asked you a simple question. You stated "It's also possible history will be even crueller to Bush than we are."

I'll ask again: How?

Danielk said...

I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were asking a serious question.

Well, I think it depends on what happens in the middle east. Invading Iraq destabilized the country, which puts it up for grabs. Either American-style democracy takes hold (Bush climbs the charts) or they throw in their lot with the Taliban (Bush drops). As for other factors such as stewardship of the economy and so on, probably the ratings will remain close to where they are now.

wamk said...

I disagree.
Bush left office with pretty low marks, yet Iraq is smoothing out. Lost in all of our economic struggles was a peaceful, civilized Iraqi election.

Democracy has taken hold there, and you know it.

If Obama screws up, and pulls our forces out too quickly, history will judge Obama for that, not Bush.

Danielk said...

1. If Democracy has taken hold there, they don't need our troops any more.

2. Whether they need them or not, they don't want them, which is why the Status of Forces agreement (which Bush people negotiated) dictates a withdrawl date.

3. There is nothing to prevent the election of Taliban leaders, just as nothing prevented the election of Hezbollah leaders in Palestine. Indeed, there should not be.

As I say, if it goes well for Americans over there, Bush will benefit from history's judgement. I'm no psychic.

Danielk said...

Oh, and let me add that if the situation elevate's Bush's status, I'll be much much happier than if it collapses and Bush is judged a failure. Patisonship aside, I like living in the most stable world possible.