Trash Talk from Historians

Remind me not to get in a position where a historian can unload on me. The History News Network at George Mason University did an unscientific poll of historians rating the Bush presidency and Bush gets the sharp end of the pen.

In a similar poll four years ago, 81% classified his presidency as a failure. Now, 98% do so, with 61% rating it the worst in history. One of those who placed him in the bottom third thought that it was too early to work out his exact placement in the bottom five alongside Buchanan, Johnson, Fillmore, and Pierce. Another felt that only Buchanan was worse.

The comments are even more damning than the raw numbers. My favorite diss is the unnamed historian who observes that George W. combines the worst characteristics of other failed presidents—”the paranoia of Nixon, the ethics of Harding and the good sense of Herbert Hoover.” Ouch.

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