View Full Version : Bush's Legacy: Small Ball After All?

09-19-2008, 10:26 AM
Both supporters and critics tend to view Bush as a game-changing president. But he may be remembered as a comparatively minor figure.

"Worst. President. Ever."
That succinct judgment, received not long ago via e-mail from a political scientist, sums up a good deal of what conventional wisdom has to say about President Bush. In an unscientific online poll of 109 historians conducted in April and published by the History News Network at www.hnn.us (http://www.hnn.us), more than 60 percent rated Bush's presidency as the worst in U.S. history. In his 2007 book, Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski titles his chapter on Bush "Catastrophic Leadership." "A calamity," Brzezinski wrote. "A historical failure."

And he was referring to just the Iraq war. The litany of disasters and failures commonly attributed to Bush has grown familiar enough to summarize in checklist format: WMD; Guantanamo; Abu Ghraib; waterboarding; wiretapping; habeas corpus; "Osama bin Forgotten"; anti-Americanism; deficits; spending; Katrina; Rumsfeld; Cheney; Gonzales; Libby. In this view, George W. Bush is at least as destructive as was Richard Nixon, a president whose mistakes and malfeasances took decades to undo.