lame duck hunting

Though I would have thought it was still too soon to bring out the guns and start blasting Bush’s presidency. Apparently I was wrong.

I recently finished reading two articles that followed a very similar approach in their criticism of the President. The first, by Gene Weingarten, appeared in the Washington Post Magazine last Sunday. He opens with the question "Is George W. Bush the worst president in American history?" and then provides several historical contemporaries as points of comparison: Franklin Pierce (an alcoholic who supported slavery); James Buchanan (stood by as the Supreme Court upheld slavery in Dredd Scott, and as the South seceded and America drifted into war); and Warren G. Harding (can you say Teapot Dome scandal).

The article concludes with leadership assessments published at the time each of these past Presidents were in office. The hilarity and brilliance of the conclusion is matched only by how eerily the comments so easily match our current commander in chief.

The second article comes from The Atlantic. In "Unwinding Bush," Jonathan Rauch also compares "dubya" to historically notorious Presidents; Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Certainly a more scholarly article than Weingarten’s, it is also a bit more forgiving – in that Bush is deemed to be worse than Carter, but better than Nixon. He writes:

"History judges good presidents by what they do, bad ones by how long they take to undo. Although history hasn’t yet caught up with President George W. Bush, midterm elections are about to—and those are often a referendum on presidential performance. Now is therefore as good a time as any to jump to a conclusion: the question history will ask is whether Bush’s presidency was as bad as Richard Nixon’s or only as bad as Jimmy Carter’s."

ZING! I’m looking forward to the continued barrage of literary attacks…

Beltway insider trivia: What D.C. native owns The Atlantic, the National Journal, Congress Daily, The Hotline, Technology Daily and American Health Line, and Government Executive?

Answer: David Bradley, who is also the founder of the Advisory Board Company and Corporate Executive Board; he sold his ownership in the two companies soon after their public listing.


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