Current US News cover on "America's Worst Presidents." (Cover shows Nixon, Hoover, Grant, Tyler. Replace any two, or shink all four--just so you make space for the two that are most glaringly absent...)
Get this subhead:
"It's too soon to judge the current one [??!!!], but for past leaders, the verdict is in"
OK, so they wimped out on their choices of "Our 10 Worst Presidents." Here's their list (which they explained as follows: ""U.S. Newsaveraged the results of five major and relatively recent presidential polls to make its own gallery of the 10 worst presidents"):
1. James Buchanan
2. Warren G. Harding
3. Andrew Johnson
4. Franklin Pierce
5. Millard Fillmore
6. John Tyler
7. Ulysses S. Grant
8. William Harrison
9. (tie) Herbert Hoover & Richard Nixon
The good news is that they did this cover story at all--and what it obviously betokens. Indeed, here's how the article leads off:
"Is George W. Bush's presidency shaping up to be one of the worst in U.S. history? [Only "one of" the worst?] You hear the question being asked more and more these days. And more and more, you hear the same answer. With Iraq a shambles and trust in the administration declining, it is probably not surprising that 54 percent of respondents in a recent USA Today/Gallup survey said that history would judge Bush a below-average or poor president, more than twice the number who gave such a rating to any of the five preceding occupants of the White House, including Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter."
Then it's right back to the BS....Some lowlights:
"Public opinion is a notoriously fickle beast..." I.e., Bush could be rehabilitated any day now. (Alas, this is probably true--given a lucky break or two, some Rovecraft, and media fatuouslness and obsequiousness as usual.)
"Whatever his reasons [I thought he made them quite clear!], Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz created a minor sensation last year when he published a resounding verdict in Rolling Stone magazine: 'Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 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.' ... But while Wilentz makes no secret of his liberalism, he referred to an informal survey of 415 historians in 2004 in which 81 percent of the respondents stated that the Bush administration would go down as a failure."
"If Iraq turns out to be a beacon of democracy in the Middle East 10 years from now, there will be a lot of scholars eating crow." Uh...what if Iraq only turns out to be a beacon of democracy 20 or 30 years from now? 100 years? Credit still goes to GW Bush? Why not give the Nazis credit for the comparative liberal democracy in Germany today? In other words: BushCheneyRumsfeldRove's invasion was four years ago. Even if Iraq turns out to be a beacon of democracy by next week--how do we know it wouldn't have by now on its own, without the invasion and war and the hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars it has cost? How do we know some of Saddam's generals wouldn't have deposed him (and his sons)? But even if it could be proven that "democracy" in Iraq came about only because of the BushCheneyRumsfeldRove policy, what gave them the right to decide on behalf of Iraq that a war with the aforementioned costs and the attendant chaos and destruction was the way to achieve that goal?
"Attempts to rate the Bush presidency are at best premature..." Nice try, US News. Hey, I guess you're just doing your job.