Skip to comments.Historians Write Off Bush's Presidency
Posted on 05/22/2008 5:04:49 AM PDT by Kaslin
One hundred nine historians already nearly unanimously agree. They call the presidency of George W. Bush a "failure." The History News Network (HNN), who polled the historians, failed to name them or where they work. Wonder why?
American Enterprise magazine, in 2002, examined voter registrations to determine the political affiliations of humanities professors at an assortment of colleges and universities, public and private, big and small, located in the North, South, East and West. Of those registered with a political party -- and most were -- historians overwhelmingly belong to a "party of the left" (Democratic, Green or Working Families parties) versus a "party of the right" (Republican or Libertarian parties). Take Brown University's history department. Seventeen professors belonged to parties on the left, zero on the right. Cornell University's history department? Twenty-nine on the left, zero on the right. Denver College: nine history professors left, zero right. San Diego State University: 19 left, four right. Stanford University: 22 left, two right. UCLA: 53 left, three right. University of Texas at Austin: 12 left, two right.
HNN's historians provided three principal reasons in labeling Bush's presidency a "failure":
1) Invading Iraq. Since the "surge" began, casualties have fallen dramatically. Five hundred thousand Iraqis, up from zero, now form the Iraqi military and police. Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead in their own security. The main Sunni bloc, who refused to participate in Parliament, recently returned to the government. According to American Enterprise Institute, of the 18 original benchmarks set for the Iraqi government, 12 have been met, with substantial progress being made on five, and only one -- the least important -- stalled. Fifty-three percent of Americans now consider victory in Iraq a possibility, with Americans almost evenly divided on whether to stay or withdraw by time certain. Oh, and just an aside, no attack on American soil since 9/11.
2) Tax breaks for the rich. By definition, any tax cuts go disproportionately to the rich because the rich disproportionately pay more taxes. The top 1 percent of income earners in 2005, those earning $364,657 or more, paid over 39 percent of all federal income taxes. On the other hand, they earned approximately 21 percent of taxpayers' income. The President John F. Kennedy tax cuts, by percentage, lowered taxes more than the Bush cuts. Does anyone call the Kennedy tax cuts a "failed policy"? Kennedy, pushing for his tax cut program, used the same Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush logic: "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low -- and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now." From 2003 to 2007, in constant dollars, total Treasury revenue increased 20 percent.
3) Alienation of nations around the world. Take a look at the globe. France's newly elected President Nicolas Sarkozy praises Bush, dismissed his country's opposition to the war as "French arrogance," and says his countrymen's anti-Americanism "reflects a certain envy of (America's) brilliant success." British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper all support Bush, and maintain close ties with America. Italy's enthusiastically pro-Bush prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who sent troops to Iraq, left office in 2006. His predecessor withdrew the troops. But guess who's now back, in a landslide victory? Berlusconi.
As a result of Bush's commitment to democracy and his initiatives combating HIV and AIDS, the President enjoys near rock-star status in many African countries. And NATO, thanks to Bush's prodding, swelled from 19 members to 26, admitting in 2004 Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
And what about Bush's war on Islamofascism, which allegedly provokes alienation and a backlash against America? Support for homicide bombing among Muslims in predominately Muslim countries worldwide shows a dramatic decline. Support for "suicide bombing" in Lebanon, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, dropped 50 percent or more in the past five years. Similarly, support for Islamist political parties -- linked or sympathetic to the Taliban or al-Qaida -- has dropped dramatically. In Pakistan, for example, Islamist parties garnered only 3 percent of the vote, down from 11 percent in the previous general election. "The Islamist defeat in Pakistani," writes Iranian-born journalist Amir Taheri in The Wall Street Journal, "confirms a trend that's been under way (in Muslim countries) for years." Muslim support for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan fell in the six months before February '08 by as much as 50 percent -- to 24 percent -- with some former followers now renouncing him. In Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, where many believe bin Laden hides, polls show support for him falling to single digits.
Maybe historians should wait for some, well, history, before rendering a verdict.
I actually think it is a failure, but not for any of the reasons the “historians” list.
It’s a failure because Bush caved on almost every issue outside of Iraq and did so in such a way as to totally demoralize and disorganize the conservative base which allowed (somehow, I still haven’t figured out exactly how) John Stupid McCain, the stupidest Republican live, to be the party’s nominee.
Bush won two elections as a “conservative” and handed us over to the wolves.
Bush is to the Republican Party (and to conservatives) what Jimmy Carter was to the United States of America.
If Obama wins the Presidency the Bush admin. will be looked back upon with nostalgia in very short order.
You judge a President by how well his successor does.
Exactly. Any historian that tries to describe how a current presidential administration will fit into historical context is just a clueless idiot.
There's a good reason they don't want their names attached to it--so their names won't be dragged through the mud by actual historians with some context for being stupid.
You beat me to it. Bush’s failure was presiding over the destruction of the Republican Party by turning it away from conservatism.
-- snip --
the zealots in the Middle East - who saw the strong horse in Bush - will test the new president to see whether he or she is a strong or weak horse. And then the real fun will begin.
-- snip --
This is similar to the same crap “historians” published about Reagan in 1998.
1998 should have been 1988.
> Bush won two elections as a conservative and handed us over to the wolves.
Bah, rubbish! Handed over to the wolves! Serious??
The GOP did this to themselves: Bush had nothing to do with the fact that the Republican Party was disorganized, and thereby discarded several credible Conservative candidates in favor of McCain. How was that Bush’s fault?
‘Twas a self-inflicted injury, and it will be punished as such.
Sorry, I’m not buying the “Blame Bush” bleat.
It is way too early to call Bush’s presidency either a success or a failure.
I guess Ronald Reagan was an abject failure then.
This is the one that really frosts me. The top 10% of income earners paid 66% of the federal income taxes in 2005. The lowest 40% paid no income taxes. Indeed, those making less than $20,000/year actually had negative tax rates. How does the Left get away with statements saying that the "rich don't pay their fair share"...the hallmark of both Hillary's and Obama's campaigns? The GOP has done a HORRIBLE job educating the public about who pays what.
In my mind, the biggest reason Bush is viewed as a failure is because he didn't use his veto power enough. He totally lost control of spending, even while he controlled both houses. The GOP is now the Left with a different shade of lipstick. If I don't see evidence of change before November, they will lose my support. No big deal, perhaps, but I know I'm not alone in my feeling about this...
> This is similar to the same crap historians published about Reagan in 1998.
Too right! I remember all kinds of horrible things said about Reagan by all kinds of people. His critics are rather thin-on-the-ground now, and Reagan is seen as a great US President (which he was).
It will be the same deal with GWB. He has been a fine wartime President and that is how posterity will remember him.
You’re saying that Bush I was greater than Reagan?
Most of these A$$ wipes are closet communists, anyway without the cajones to be up front about it (not to mention limp-wrists)...so who gives a rat’s rearend what they think. Screw’em!!!!!!
That is absurd. He stood strong on Life (stem cells and abortion), on judges, set an historic foreign policy to respond to Islamic jihad, lowered taxes significantly leading to a period of growth that has lasted six years so far, tried to privatize social security, and denied the global warming hoax, amongst many other things.
He fell drastically short in leadership to control spending and government growth and he fought for an immigration bill that we do not like. I fault him greatly on the first of those, less so on the second because he ran on that issue twice. He has done great damage to the party in the past three years do to a sudden complete ineptness in the admin’s PR management, after successfully winning the election in ‘00 and ‘04 and winning the Senate back in ‘02. I can fault him for many things, but he has stood strong on most of the issues for almost eight full years.
I place a lot of blame on the scoundrels at the other end of Penn Avenue who spent the same period enjoying their power rather than fighting for any issues.
As president Bush is the leader of the party. His failure to demonstrate any sort of leadership in issues like spending or size of government is part of the reason why the GOP is in such sad shape. Not the only reason, mind. But a big one.