April 20, 2006

Leading historian Sean Wilentz ponders whether Bush is "worst president in history"

From the cover story in Rolling Stone:
George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.


At 4/20/2006 5:07 PM, Blogger whoami123 said...

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

At 4/20/2006 7:10 PM, Blogger Rawk Eyelund said...

I've been thinking the same thing for quite a while. He's at least the worst since harding.

At 4/20/2006 8:59 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Isn't he the guy who in 2000 assembled that bizarre group of actors and other celebrities (including Robert De Niro, Rosie O'Donnell, and Bianca Jagger) and persuaded them to sign their names to a full-page ad in the New York Times that spoke of Al Gore's having won a "clear constitutional majority of the popular vote," even though the Constitution says nothing about the popular vote in presidential elections and is perfectly clear that victory goes to the candidate who receives the most electoral votes.

Dope, missed you too. I visit often to keep up on the mess Evans has made.
I rarely agree with you, but you have the best coverage.

At 4/20/2006 9:09 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


I was gonna say that exact thing! Took the words right out of my mouth.

At 4/20/2006 9:21 PM, Blogger Dave said...


Actually, on the subject of Evans replacement, I tend to agree with you.
In fact, you rightly brought up the question of his health long ago and were soundly pounded by your regulars.

I suggest you all take your time in replacing him, using the courts if necessary, 'bout late August should do it.

And to maitain our adversarilal relationship so as not to disappoint your faithful sheep, Durbin is an idiot!

At 4/21/2006 11:11 AM, Blogger diehard said...

BAAAH! At least I'm not falling for the fraudulent 'War on Terr!"
That the Right wing started to keep a Republican majority.
George Bush is defintly no FDR!!
Tell me Dave do you really get all of your info from FOX News and Rush Limbaugh?
Read a book once in a while!

At 4/21/2006 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing in this issue of the Rolling Stone MAgazine is the story on Senator Mike Jjacobs' supporter Kiefer Sutherland and Jude Cole.

At 4/21/2006 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you say so...

Must be more interesting that assessing possibly the worst leadership this country has ever had. But I forgot, when it comes to Jacobs, who gives a damn about anything else, right?

At 4/21/2006 3:19 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

No way is GWB the worst president in history! My vote goes to Jimmy "malaise" Carter. Carter had it all---high interest rates (around 18% if I remember correctly), high unemployment rates, high inflation rates, and foreign policy debacles, the chief being his feckless handling of the Iranian hostage crises (which emboldened OBL to attack on 9/11 thinking we would never retaliate except for throwing a few bombs around at high altitudes).
It's a shame that history and historians have become so politicized. I used to have respect for Wilentz, but he knows damned well that we won't know how to judge GWB and Iraq for decades. To see him pandering to the anti-war, anti-Bush crowd has brought him down a peg---he's just another partisan hack. It's a shame.

At 4/21/2006 5:53 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Oh please Paladin. Anyone who was paying attention could see that Bush was an unqualified disaster waiting to happen BEFORE he slithered into the White House by having his Daddy's pals stop the vote count.

Carter? Surely he won't be judged one of the best, but he'll be far, far from the bottom tier.

Bush has been an utter failure in just about every measure of presidential success or leadership and the country, and the world for that matter, will be paying the price for such wrong-headed, inept, and just plain bad leadership for decades to come, if not longer.

Our children and grandchildren will be paying for this administrations blunders.

At 4/21/2006 5:56 PM, Anonymous Evansman said...

"Mike Jacobs understands the day-to-day concrens of the people in the Quad Cities because he's always been one of us. Mike is part of the Democratic Team getting results for regular people. He deserves our support."

- Congressman Lane Evans, 2006

At 4/21/2006 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jude Cole endorsing Jacobs is kinda like Jessica Simpson endorsing that zit cream on TV, though Simpson probably carries more weight.

Just kidding. kind of

At 4/21/2006 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, that's some impresive campaign blah blah written by a campaign aide.
Lane isn't against Jacobs. I'm impressed.

At 4/21/2006 8:38 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

Unfortunately Dope, on 9/11/01 the bill came due for Jimmy "Malaise" Carter's blunders.

At 4/21/2006 8:42 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

Evansman, I wonder if Lane was having one of his "intermittent cognitive impairments" when he endorsed Mike Jacobs.

At 4/21/2006 10:30 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


I pray you're not so stupid and desperate as to try to actually blame 9-11 on JIMMY CARTER.

That's a REAL reach. I'd wager you're pretty lonely in that assessment.

At 4/22/2006 4:35 AM, Anonymous Get real, Paladin said...

Blaming Jimmy Carter for 9/11 is almost 100% flat-out crazy. The only reason that it's not 100% crazy is that Carter was the President who (on the advice of Zbigniew Brzezinski) started funding the Muslim fundamentalist Mujahadeen in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets. Much, much more blame in this regard goes to Ronald Reagan, who over the course of the 1980s recruited jihadist "freedom fighters" from all over the Muslim world to fight in Afghanistan, and gave the them $4 billion US taxpayer dollars worth of weaponry and training. ($4 billion might not seem like much these days, but that buys an aweful lot of guns and bombs for a guerilla army). All this, while knowing that the Mujahadeen were promoting the most reactionary religious beliefs imaginable, because (as one of Reagan's planners noted) "fanatics fight better." Before 1979, Afghanistan was developing quite well, and over 50% of the university students were women. By 1990, the Mujahadeen had managed to beat the Soviets and in the process destroy the fabric of Afghan society, taking it back into the dark ages, and boiling over with native and foreign jihadists. A great victory for "the free world." Thank you Mr. Reagan. And then Bush Sr. turned off the money tap, because with the Soviets gone, there weren't any more problems, right? Sure, right. (Clinton deserves blame for ignoring the pile of rubble we helped turn Afghanistan into as well).

Bush Jr.'s popularity soared after 9/11 without him having to do anything at all. He just had to be there while America "rallied together." All he had to say was "We're going to get the people responsible" and then his popularity shot up to high heaven on 9/12. But, Paladin might object, Bush showed real leadership--he launched a war and "defeated the Taliban." Big deal--using the most awesome military machine the world has ever known, Bush managed to drive a few thousand poorly equipped guerilla fighters (the Stinger missiles we had given them had already expired) out of the major cities in the poorest most battered country in Southwest Asia--for a while.

And please note that "defeating the Taliban" was a much, much easier task than launching a military assault on the much more prosperous, much much more populous Iran, which Paladin appears to think Carter should have done. Unlike the Taliban, who weren't loved by many Afghanis, a very large number (at least--perhaps a large majority) of Iranians didn't like us at all, because we were the sponsor and protector of the torturing dictator they had just overthrown, the Shah. (Carter deserves blame for that, too, but that wasn't a policy he started or even liked, probably). Reagan was lucky--he didn't have to try to use force to free the hostages--the hostage takers inexplicably decided to delay the release of the hostages just up until the very day that Reagan took office, during the inauguration ceremony. (Anyone else find that a little odd? "October surprise", anyone?)

Let's see examine the "decisive" and "non-feckless" Bush Jr.'s major foreign policy accomplishments:

Afghanistan is the major Opium producer in the world, and the Taliban are launching attacks again. All this has happened under American occupation.

And Iraq. Where to begin? Never any WMDs, and they knew it (otherwise they woudldn't have had to cherry-pick and fake the so-called "intelligence"). But what a glorious victory it was. We bribed the Iraqi officers into not fighting. Not long after, under Lord Bremmer's watchful eye, $20 billion of the $22 billion Iraqi treasury (the treasury seized from Sadaam's government) was quickly spent with virtually no oversight, much if not most of it wasted or just plain stolen by corrupt contractors. The US took over Sadaams palaces, and turned them into--fortresses surrounded by squalor. The US took over Sadaam's most infamous torture prison and turned it into--an infamous torture prison. The cities have been poisoned with dust from our depleted uranium munitions, which will be impossible to ever clean up, and which will cause sickness and birth defects for as far into the future as we can see. Infant mortality has skyrocketed, as have deaths by easily curable diseases. The Bushites have reduced an already battered society into a smoldering ruin. Iraqis are left looking nostalgically back on the basic economic conditions and physical safety they enjoyed under Sadaam Hussein. There's a winner for you. Bush has made Sadaam Hussein's Iraq look good in comparison.

Because of Bush's flagrant violations of international law, as well as his apparent belief that threats of violence and actual violence will solve all of our problems, the US has gone from being one of the most respected to one of the most loathed countries in the world, in a matter of just a few years.

Let someone else enlighten Mr. Paladin about Bush's domestic policy accomplishments.

At 4/22/2006 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally this blog is getting back to what made it a leader in the community --- endless chatter about Big Mike Jacobs!

At 4/22/2006 12:22 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Get Real Paladin...

THANKS! Excellent historic review of how we got to where we are in that region.

To all readers, if you skimmed or skipped over the long comment above, go back and read it all. It's recent history that all Americans should know and understand. (and it's all factual and easily verifiable)

Part of the reason Americans are so easily mislead is that they are ignorant of history. Take this chance to inform yourself of this important background history of our relationships with the Taliban, Afghanistan, and the very Islamic extremists which our reckless leader calls "evil-doers".

Do yourself a favor. Read it.

At 4/22/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 10:46.

If anyone pays attention, they'll easily see that it's not I who brings up Jacobs, but others, who could be supposed to be supporters, who manage to inject him into topics which have absolutely nothing to do with him, such as this thread and the one on top US senators below.

At 4/22/2006 1:20 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

Good lord Dope, don't you ever take your partisan blinders off? I never said Jimmy Carter was responsible for 9/11.
I said he set us on the path, and "get real paladin" (sheesh! get yer own damned moniker) filled in the gaps. It wasn't just Carter, but also all his successors (until GWB) who failed to realize we were at war, and treated terrorism as a law enforcement matter.
I would have thought you would have had a basic idea of our history since l979, and unfortunately, "get real paladin" gives us the leftwing spin on GWB and the war, but he/she still brought some clarity to my brief comment.

At 4/23/2006 9:58 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Sounded like you were putting a big hunk of blame on ol' Jimmy to me. Just found it far fetched, and still do.

It's less to do with partisanship than history.


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