Issue #18: Is George Bush the Worst President Ever?
1) George W. Bush named worst president in 61 years
06/01/2006 @ 9:41 am
Filed by RAW STORY
President George W. Bush has been named the worst president in the last 61 years by American voters -- with
nearly twice the negative rating of Richard Nixon -- in a new poll by Quinnipiac University, RAW STORY has
learned. Catch this and other breaking political news at Political Wire. More from their release:
Bush is named by 34 percent of voters, followed by Richard Nixon at 17 percent and Bill Clinton at 16 percent,
according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Leading the list for best President since 1945 is Ronald
Reagan with 28 percent, and Clinton with 25 percent.
President Bush is ranked worst by 56 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of independent voters and 7 percent of
Republicans, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Best ranking for Reagan comes from 56
percent of Republicans, 7 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independent voters. Among American voters 18 - 29
years old, Clinton leads the "best" list with 40 percent.
Among young voters, 42 percent list Bush as worst. Clinton tops the "worst" list among white Protestants - 24 percent,
and white evangelical Christians - 29 percent.
American voters disapprove 58 - 35 percent of the job Bush is doing, compared to 58 - 36 percent in a March 2 survey.
Even voters in red states, where Bush's margin was more than 5 percent in 2004, disapprove 52 - 39 percent.
"Democrats just plain don't like President Bush. His father, the 41st President, was voted out of the White House after
one term. Nixon quit under fire. But most Democrats think Bush 43 wins the worst-president race," said Maurice Carroll,
Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Kennedy and Truman get big Democratic votes, especially among Baby Boomers (45 - 64 years old) and seniors (over
65), but recent memory counts," Carroll said. "Democrats say Clinton's the best and Republicans say he's the worst.
Republicans don't think much of Jimmy Carter either. There's no contest for the GOP favorite: It's the Gipper."
"Bush's job-approval numbers remain in the cellar. But he might finally have hit bottom."
The main reasons cited by American voters who approve of Bush are that he is a strong leader who does what he thinks
is right - 18 percent; and that he is doing a good job handling terrorism - 15 percent.
The main reason cited by voters who disapprove of Bush is the war in Iraq, listed by 43 percent.
A total of 38 percent of voters are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the way things are going in the nation
today, while 62 percent are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied," matching the previous satisfaction low point
from March 2.
In an open-ended question, where respondents can give any answer, 16 percent of voters say the war in Iraq is the most
important problem facing the U.S. today, down from 23 percent in March. Another 12 percent list economic issues and 11
percent list immigration, the first time this issued has hit double digits in a national poll.
American voters say 56 - 39 percent that going to war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do.
The U.S. should remove all troops from Iraq, 29 percent of voters say, with 28 percent who want the U.S. to decrease
the number of troops; 26 percent who want to maintain current troop levels and 11 percent who want to increase troop
From May 23 - 30, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,534 registered voters nationwide. The survey has a margin of
error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York,
New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida and nationwide as a public service and for research.
2) Concerns over Economy Push George W. Bush's Overall Job Approval to New Low
February 20, 2008
George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78%
of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research
Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it
comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.
Among Americans registered to vote, 18% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 78%
disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 15% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is
handling the economy and 79% disapprove.
A total of 78% of Americans say the national economy is getting worse and 47% say the national economy is in a
recession. A total of 42% of Americans, however, say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now,
which is the highest level for this question in the past year. This optimism does not spread to improvements in household
financial situations as 17% of Americans say they expect their household financial situations to be better a year from now,
which is the lowest for this question in the past year.
The results presented here are based on 1,100 completed telephone interviews conducted among a nationwide random
sample of adults 18 years and older. The interviews were completed February 16 through 19, 2008. The theoretical margin
of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly
Overall, 19% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 77%
disapprove, and 4% are undecided.
Bush job approval Approve Disapprove Undecided
Feb 2008 19% 77% 4%
Jan 2008 34% 59% 7%
Dec 2007 32% 66% 2%
Nov 2007 31% 64% 5%
Oct 2007 25% 67% 8%
Sep 2007 34% 60% 6%
Aug 2007 28% 65% 7%
Jul 2007 25% 71% 4%
Jun 2007 27% 67% 6%
May 2007 31% 64% 5%
Apr 2007 33% 62% 5%
Mar 2007 32% 63% 5%
Feb 2007 39% 56% 5%
Among Republicans (29% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 45% approve of the way Bush is handling his job
and 50% disapprove. Among Democrats (43% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 1% approve and 99% disapprove
of the way Bush is handling his job. Among independents (28% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 17% approve
and 75% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.
Overall, 14% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling the economy, 79%
disapprove, and 7% are undecided. Among registered voters, 15% approve and 79% disapprove of the way Bush is
handling the economy.
Bush handling the economy Approve Disapprove Undecided
Feb 2008 14% 79% 7%
Jan 2008 29% 63% 8%
Dec 2007 28% 71% 1%
Nov 2007 32% 62% 6%
Oct 2007 23% 67% 10%
Sep 2007 33% 58% 9%
Aug 2007 29% 64% 7%
Jul 2007 23% 73% 4%
Jun 2007 29% 64% 7%
May 2007 31% 62% 7%
Apr 2007 33% 63% 4%
Mar 2007 32% 64% 4%
Feb 2007 40% 54% 6%
Among Republicans, 41% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 54% disapprove. Among Democrats,
93% disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy and 1% approve. Among independents, 8% approve and 83%
disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy.
A total of 1% of Americans say that the national economy is getting better, 20% say it is staying the same, and 78%
say the national economy is getting worse.
National economy Getting better Staying the same Getting worse Undecided
Feb 2008 1% 20% 78% 1%
Jan 2008 8% 22% 64% 6%
Dec 2007 7% 28% 64% 1%
Nov 2007 18% 26% 55% 1%
Oct 2007 8% 18% 69% 5%
Sep 2007 14% 20% 63% 3%
Aug 2007 8% 29% 59% 4%
Jul 2007 12% 28% 58% 2%
Jun 2007 16% 28% 55% 1%
May 2007 19% 24% 53% 4%
Apr 2007 23% 17% 59% 1%
Mar 2007 19% 29% 50% 2%
Feb 2007 22% 20% 57% 1%
Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 1% say getting better, 52% say staying the
same, and 41% say getting worse. Of those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, none say getting
better, 14% say staying the same, and 86% say getting worse.
A total of 42% of Americans say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now, 30% say it will be
the same, 27% say it will be worse, and 1% are undecided.
a year from now Better than today The same as today Worse than today Undecided
Feb 2008 42% 30% 27% 1%
Jan 2008 32% 35% 21% 12%
Dec 2007 28% 28% 43% 1%
Nov 2007 24% 29% 39% 8%
Oct 2007 18% 27% 53% 2%
Sep 2007 32% 26% 38% 4%
Aug 2007 32% 20% 42% 6%
Jul 2007 22% 31% 42% 5%
Jun 2007 22% 33% 42% 3%
May 2007 16% 29% 48% 7%
Apr 2007 26% 29% 41% 4%
Mar 2007 22% 27% 49% 2%
Feb 2007 29% 23% 44% 4%
Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 93% say better and 3% say worse than today.
Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president, 32% say better, 34% say the same,
and 33% say worse.
Overall, 47% of Americans say they believe that the national economy is in a recession, 29% say they do not believe
the economy is in a recession, and 24% are undecided.
National economy in a recession Yes No Undecided
Feb 2008 47% 29% 24%
Jan 2008 35% 24% 41%
Dec 2007 7% 28% 65%
Nov 2007 34% 41% 25%
Oct 2007 40% 38% 22%
Sep 2007 25% 52% 23%
Aug 2007 31% 38% 31%
Jul 2007 29% 37% 34%
Jun 2007 22% 41% 37%
May 2007 36% 38% 26%
Apr 2007 28% 53% 19%
Mar 2007 25% 46% 29%
Feb 2007 19% 57% 24%
Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 16% say the national economy is in a recession,
64% say is it not in a recession, and 20% are undecided. Of those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his
job, 53% say the national economy is in a recession, 20% say the national economy is not in a recession, and 27% are
A total of 25% of Americans rate the national economy as excellent, very good, or good and 74% rate it as bad, very
bad, or terrible.
economy Excellent Very good Good Bad Very bad Terrible Undecided
Feb 2008 1% 7% 17% 44% 10% 20% 1%
Jan 2008 2% 14% 27% 21% 17% 18% 1%
Dec 2007 7% 16% 12% 31% 16% 17% 1%
Nov 2007 16% 11% 21% 25% 12% 14% 1%
Oct 2007 8% 10% 20% 29% 14% 18% 1%
Sep 2007 13% 14% 21% 27% 7% 17% 1%
Aug 2007 9% 19% 21% 22% 16% 12% 1%
Jul 2007 9% 11% 23% 28% 12% 16% 1%
Jun 2007 16% 11% 20% 31% 9% 12% 1%
May 2007 12% 15% 16% 25% 16% 15% 1%
Apr 2007 17% 12% 29% 30% 8% 3% 1%
Mar 2007 16% 13% 25% 26% 12% 5% 3%
Feb 2007 12% 18% 26% 23% 3% 15% 3%
Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 66% say excellent, very good, or good and 33%
say bad, very bad, or terrible. Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 85% say bad, very
bad, or terrible and 14% say excellent, very good, or good.
When it comes to rating their household financial situations, 59% of Americans give an excellent, very good, or good
rating and 40% give a bad, very bad, or terrible rating.
situation Excellent Very good Good Bad Very bad Terrible Undecided
Feb 2008 6% 17% 36% 22% 11% 7% 1%
Jan 2008 12% 13% 45% 15% 6% 8% 1%
Dec 2007 14% 16% 36% 12% 17% 4% 1%
Nov 2007 13% 14% 38% 27% 6% 1% 1%
Oct 2007 11% 22% 32% 27% 2% 5% 1%
Sep 2007 12% 17% 44% 18% 3% 5% 1%
Aug 2007 11% 19% 25% 33% 9% 2% 1%
Jul 2007 5% 24% 39% 15% 9% 7% 1%
Jun 2007 8% 19% 41% 22% 6% 3% 1%
May 2007 15% 9% 38% 19% 12% 6% 1%
Apr 2007 11% 16% 51% 17% 3% 1% 1%
Mar 2007 11% 16% 44% 24% 2% 2% 1%
Feb 2007 11% 19% 29% 28% 7% 4% 2%
Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 100% say excellent, very good, or good.
Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 46% say excellent, very good, or good and 53%
say bad, very bad, or terrible.
A total of 8% of Americans say they think the financial situations in their households are getting better, 45% say
staying the same, and 41% say getting worse.
situation Getting better Staying the same Getting worse Undecided
Feb 2008 8% 45% 41% 6%
Jan 2008 22% 25% 49% 4%
Dec 2007 20% 50% 29% 1%
Nov 2007 14% 54% 26% 6%
Oct 2007 17% 45% 35% 3%
Sep 2007 24% 39% 34% 3%
Aug 2007 21% 37% 41% 1%
Jul 2007 15% 47% 37% 1%
Jun 2007 11% 48% 37% 4%
May 2007 21% 44% 34% 1%
Apr 2007 24% 41% 31% 4%
Mar 2007 20% 40% 39% 1%
Feb 2007 18% 46% 34% 2%
Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 29% say getting better, 52% say staying the
same, and 12% say getting worse. Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 4% say getting
better, 40% say staying the same, and 48% say getting worse.
Looking to a year from now, 17% of Americans say that they think their household financial situations will be better
than today, 52% say the same as today, and 25% say worse than today.
financial situation a
Better than today The same as today Worse than today Undecided
year from now
Feb 2008 17% 52% 25% 6%
Jan 2008 28% 41% 24% 7%
Dec 2007 36% 37% 25% 2%
Nov 2007 29% 43% 19% 9%
Oct 2007 26% 48% 23% 3%
Sep 2007 48% 29% 18% 5%
Aug 2007 32% 33% 24% 11%
Jul 2007 34% 39% 22% 5%
Jun 2007 29% 39% 23% 9%
May 2007 29% 33% 33% 5%
Apr 2007 30% 33% 36% 1%
Mar 2007 35% 30% 29% 6%
Feb 2007 38% 46% 12% 4%
Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 32% say better than today, 52% say the same as
today, and 16% say worse than today. Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 14% say
better than today, 50% say the same as today, and 29% say worse than today.
About this Survey -
Survey Sponsor: American Research Group, Inc.
The American Research Group has been conducting national surveys of consumers since 1985.
Sample Size: 1,100 completed telephone interviews among a random sample of all adults age 18 and older living in
telephone households in the continental United States.
Sample Dates: February 16-19, 2008
Margin of Error: ± 3 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.
3) George W Bush: The Great Humanitarian
Posted on February 19, 2008 by mpinkeyes
When a liberal comes out and praises President Bush for something I just have to write about it. Bob Geldof, who started
Live Aid, and has dedicated his life to helping the poor in Africa had this to say about President Bush:
Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the
U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.
Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, “has done more than any other president so far.”
“This is the triumph of American policy really,” he said. “It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of
the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion.”
“What’s in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing,” Mr. Geldof said.
Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed “to articulate this to Americans” but said he is also “pissed off” at the
press for their failure to report on this good news story.
“You guys didn’t pay attention,” Geldof said to a group of reporters from all the major newspapers
President Bush has done more in humanitarian efforts, IE spend more money on humanitarian efforts than any other
president in United States history, and while I do not agree with this policy it is a policy that should touch home with
liberals. But as Geldof motioned, the press ignored it. We all know why they did, they don’t want to give a conservative
president any credit for humanitarian efforts that is normally reserved for liberal presidents.
The fact is that President Bush has done more in humanitarian efforts than President Clinton ever did, but as Geldorf
said, he didn’t articulate his accomplishments well. And that is a lasting legacy with this president, he didn’t get out in front
of the cameras every day as did Clinton and tell us of his accomplishments. If President Clinton had done as much for
Africa as President Bush has, believe me, we would have known about it. If President Clinton didn’t remind us how big-
hearted he was, the press would have.
4) The Long View: Advisory thoughts on the 43rd president.
By Karl Rove
August 31, 2007,
National Review Online
The Washington Post scorned President Truman as a “spoilsman” who “underestimated the people’s intelligence.”
New York Times columnist James Reston wrote off President Eisenhower as “a tired man in a period of turbulence.” At the
end of President Reagan’s second term, the New York Times dismissed him as “simplistic” and a “lazy and inattentive
These harsh judgments, made in the moment, have not weathered well over time. Fortunately, while contemporary
observers have a habit of getting presidents wrong, history tends to be more accurate.
So how might history view the 43rd president? I can hardly be considered an objective observer, but in this highly
polarized period, who is?
However, I believe history will provide a more clear-eyed verdict on this president’s leadership than the anger of
current critics would suggest.
President Bush will be viewed as a far-sighted leader who confronted the key test of the 21st century.
He will be judged as a man of moral clarity who put America on wartime footing in the dangerous struggle against
radical Islamic terrorism.
Following the horrors of 9/11, this president changed American foreign policy by declaring terror sponsors responsible
for the deeds of those they shelter, train, and fund. America, he said, will not wait until dangers fully materialize with
attacks on our homeland before confronting those threats.
The president gave the nation new tools to defeat terrorism abroad and protect our citizens at home with the Patriot
Act, foreign surveillance that works in the wireless age, a transformed intelligence community, and the Department of
And this president saw the wisdom of removing terrorism’s cause by advocating the spread of democracy, especially in
the Muslim world, where authoritarianism and repression have provided a potent growth medium for despair and anger
aimed at the West. He recognized that democracy there makes us safer here.
President Bush will be seen as a compassionate leader who used America’s power for good.
While the world dithered, America confronted HIV/AIDS in Africa with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief, which has supported treatment for more than 1.1 million people worldwide, over one million of them in Africa.
While most of the globe ignored Sudan and Darfur or refused to act, this president labeled the violence there genocide —
and pressed world leaders to take action.
A wide range of human-rights issues — from the repression in North Korea, Myanmar, and elsewhere to religious
freedom to trafficking in persons — are kept on the international agenda in good part because of this president’s demands
And President Bush met challenges with new institutions and methods. For example, the Proliferation Security
Initiative confronts the transfer of dangerous material and information. And he has reformed America’s foreign aid to focus
on results, accountability, transparency, and anti-corruption and pro-democracy requirements.
President Bush promotes economic growth and understands free markets provide the best path to a more hopeful
The president inherited an economy entering recession. It was further weakened by terrorist attacks, corporate scandals,
natural disasters, and out-of-control spending with discretionary domestic spending increasing 16 percent in the last fiscal
year of his predecessor. President Bush took decisive action, cutting taxes and ratcheting down this spending. The results?
The net creation of 8.3 million new jobs since August 2003; higher after-tax income and greater incentives for firms to
invest and expand; three years where America’s economic growth led the rest of the G7 economies; and a budget on path to
surplus by 2012 — despite the increased spending invested in securing America’s safety by standing up the new
Department of Homeland Security and fighting the Global War on Terror. In the four years since taxes were last cut in
2003, the U.S. economy has grown 13 percent in real dollars. The additional growth is larger than the entire size of the
This president also understands our standard of living depends on selling to the globe. The 14 nations with which we
have implemented free agreements represent 7.5 percent of the world’s GDP, but 43 percent of our exports. The growing
number of free-trade agreements concluded and signed under this president helps explain why American exports have risen
27 percent between 2004 and 2006, creating jobs and prosperity here at home.
History will see President Bush as a reformer who focused on modernizing important institutions.
He is concerned with fundamental change that will — among other goals — strengthen the ways our children are
educated and health care is provided.
In education, “No Child Left Behind” introduced accountability into our public-education system by ensuring every
child’s progress is measured.
Parents now know whether or not their child is learning — in their own schools, and compared to other schools. This
new focus on results helped lead to more improvement in reading scores in five years than in the previous 28 combined.
This reform shows that measuring leads to results.
Medicare was modernized with a prescription-drug benefit, now used by 39 million seniors. Giving seniors the drugs
they need helped them avoid expensive operations and long hospital stays. The result is better health care for seniors at a
lower cost to them and at a lower cost than expected to taxpayers.
The president approached other tasks — such as legal reform, higher-education assistance, transportation, and
conservation and forest policy — with the same reformist spirit. And he did so on issues which are controversial within his
own party, such as comprehensive immigration reform, which he has championed since he first started running for
governor of Texas in 1993.
He will be seen as an innovative conservative thinker with a positive, optimistic agenda for action.
For example, his proposals to reform health care are drawn from his understanding of the values of competition and
markets. A standard tax deduction for health care — similar to the deduction homeowners get for mortgage interest —
would level the playing field between those who get their health insurance from employers and those who pay for it out of
their own pockets and expand the number of families with coverage.
People should be able to save tax-free for out-of-pocket health costs. The Health Savings Accounts the president signed
into law are the first step toward this. HSAs will help move health care toward a consumer-driven model and away from a
single-payer system. More than 4.5 million American families are benefiting from HSAs today.
More competition would be created by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines or small businesses to pool risk
and would lower costs and increase access.
The president has a similar focus on bold changes when it comes to opportunity and poverty. He emphasizes policies,
such as welfare reform, that promote ownership and encourage personal responsibility rather than dependence on
His faith- and community-based initiative is encouraging social entrepreneurship to confront poverty and suffering.
Billions of federal dollars can now be accessed by such groups eager to serve a neighbor in need. Already, 34 Democrat and
Republican governors and more than 100 mayors of all stripes have created faith- and community-based offices to build on
the federal initiative.
On energy, the environment, and climate change, he is developing a new paradigm. Emphasizing technology, increased
energy-efficiency partnerships, and resource diversification, his policies are improving energy security and slowing the
growth of greenhouse gases without economy-breaking mandates and regulation. The president who won criticism by
rejecting the failed approach of Kyoto has implemented policies that enabled the United States to grow its economy by 3.1
percent and reduce the absolute amount of CO2 emissions (by 1.3 percent).
In these and other areas, history will see President Bush drove policy in new directions, based on conservative
He will be recognized as a strong advocate of traditional values.
He advanced a culture of life where every child is protected and welcomed.
He supported traditional marriage when it came under attack from the courts. He sought to strengthen families and
encourage personal responsibility. And he understood the necessity of appointing judges who know the proper and limited
role of courts and will provide impartial justice and faithful application of the Constitution.
President Bush had the political courage to confront the biggest economic challenge America faces.
The looming fiscal crises in Medicare and Social Security will result in either the impoverishment of the American
people through higher taxes and lower growth or through the inability of government to deliver on its promises.
This president has worked to restrain the spending growth of entitlements, and to modernize Social Security and
Medicare by injecting market forces and competition into their operation. He proposed Social Security reform that would
solve the system’s long-term financial shortfall while giving younger workers the choice to put some of their own money
into conservative stock-market investments.
He has made it impossible for future presidents and future Congresses to ignore this challenge. The president’s
proposal will be the starting point for reform when it happens. When it does, Americans will be grateful President Bush
made entitlement reform an issue and will be aware that valuable time was lost because of the obstructionism of his critics.
The outcome in Iraq and Afghanistan will color how history views the president.
History’s concern is with final outcomes, not the missteps or advances of the moment. History will render a favorable
verdict if the outcome in the Middle East is similar to what America saw after World War II.
America’s persistence in Europe and Asia after that war helped Germany and Japan become democracies and allies in
the struggle against Communism. If something similar happens in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will change the region and the
world. For the first time, millions of citizens across the Middle East will see a working model of freedom in their region —
and it will give them hope for a better future for their children by making America safer for them.
If the outcome there is like what happened in Vietnam after America abandoned our allies and the region descended
into chaos, violence, and danger, history’s judgment will be harsh. History will see President Bush as right, and the
opponents of his policy as mistaken — as George McGovern was in his time.
Beyond his policies and actions, history will take the measure of the man.
I have known George W. Bush for nearly 34 years and have had the privilege of watching from nearby as history has
placed its demands on him and our country. I know his humility and decency, his intelligence and thoughtfulness, his
respect for every person he comes in contact with, his unwavering commitment to principle-based decision-making, and the
quiet and compassionate hearts of the man and his graceful wife, Laura.
I have come to understand true leadership leans into the wind. It tackles big challenges with uncertain outcomes rather
than taking on simple, sure tasks. It does what is right, regardless of what the latest poll or focus group says. History
demands much of America and its leaders and I am confident it will judge the 43rd president as a man more than worthy of
the great office the American people twice entrusted to him.
— Karl Rove is the president's longtime adviser. August 31 is his last day working in the White House.
National Review Online:
5) Bush and Civil Liberties—A Historical Perspective
By Matthew Manweller
Department of Political Science
Central Washington University
I couldn’t help but notice the resurgence of MoveOn.org this month. In my neck of the woods (Eastern Washington)
they have been staging a variety of events, including the heckling of my Congressman Doc Hastings at an open forum.
Mostly, they focus their anger on their opposition to the war, but they have also been claiming that Bush is eroding our civil
At this stage in the war (and political cycle), another post by me, or anyone else, debating the merits of the war would
probably serve little purpose. But I do want to challenge the accusation levied by MoveOn.org spokeman Steve Verhey that
President Bush has eroded American civil liberties in the name of fighting the war on terror.
I would suggest that the historical record indicates exactly the opposite. In fact, I would go further and argue that no
president in American history has done a better job of balancing respect for civil liberties with the necessities of war and
crisis than President Bush. Using history as a guide, let’s look at how other presidents have behaved when confronting
When the United States was fighting “Indian wars” many Natives were stripped of their land. When the Supreme Court
stepped in and said Georgia could not expel thousands of Indians to Oklahoma (Worcester v. Georgia, 1832), President
Andrew Jackson completely ignored the Supreme Court and expelled them anyway. Pres. Jackson became famous for his
statement, “[Chief Justice] Mr. Marshall has made his decision, now let Mr. Marshall enforce his decision.” President Bush,
in contrast, has had many disagreements with the US Supreme Court, but he has not once ignored any of their rulings.
When he lost battles over military tribunals, he ordered changes to the way they were conducted.
During the Civil War, President Lincoln, who most historians consider our greatest president, routinely ignored and
violated the Constitution. He unilaterally suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus on his own authority. He tried US civilians
in military courts, even when civilian courts were up and running. He instituted a draft without authority. He imposed an
income tax in direct conflict with Constitutional law. Bush, on the other hand, has not done anything close to what Lincoln
did. The US Congress, with bi-partisan support, did pass the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 which denied the Writ of
Habeas Corpus to Guantanamo Bay detainees. This restriction of jurisdiction, however, is explicitly allowed for by the US
Constitution in Article III, Section 2, Paragraph 2. Whereas Lincoln went around the Constitution to suspend Habeas, Bush
is simply narrowing Habeas via the very process set up in the Constitution…and he, unlike Lincoln, is getting permision
During WWI, President Wilson pushed for and passed the Sedition Act of 1918 which forbade Americans to use
“disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” towards the United States. The law also contained prohibitions on
“unpatriotic speech,” stating “Provided, That any employee or official of the United States Government who commits any
disloyal act or utters any unpatriotic or disloyal language, or who, in an abusive and violent manner criticizes the Army or
Navy or the flag of the United States shall be at once dismissed from the service.” IN fact, the Sedition Act made it illegal
to criticize the US form of government, stating, “whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write
or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States or the
Constitution of the United States…” is guilty under the Act. Simply put, this bill made the Patriot Act look like a Boy Scout
guide. Many men were imprisoned simply for protesting America’s involvement in WWI. The famous socialist Eugene
Debts was sentenced to 20 years in jail for his “anti-war activities.” Today, as evidenced by our recent MoveOn.org events,
people are free to protest away without any fear of imprisonment.
President Roosevelt takes the prize from most egregious violations of civil liberties during a time of war. He literally
imprisoned thousands of American citizens of Japanese decent simply because of their ancestry. Less well-know is the fact
that Roosevelt also used military tribunals to try and execute American citizens (See Ex Parte Quirin, 1942). Can you
imagine the cerebral implosion that would take place on the Left if President Bush started rounding up Muslims and putting
them in interment camps, or if he used military tribunals to try and execute American citizens/civilians? When we compare
Bush’s decision to wiretap incoming phone calls from Afghanistan to Roosevelt’s actions of imprisonment and execution,
President Bush comes out looking like the Mother Teresa of civil liberties.
As a last example, I would remind people that President Truman tried to seize America’s steel mills in the name of
fighting the Korean War, even though there was no direct threat of North Korean attacks on US soil. The Supreme Court
stepped in and stopped him. Once again, in comparison, Bush has never acted in such an arbitrary manner towards private
property or civil liberties.
In the end, when history compares the way President Bush has respected civil liberties in comparison to other
presidents, he will not only come out on top, but he will come out so far on top as to not even have anyone as a “close
second.” We should remind people of that the next time MoveOn.org decides to use their very well protected civil liberties
to claim they have lost their civil liberties
6) Assessing the Bush Administration in the Sixth Year
November 1, 2006
Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil is famous for asserting that “all politics is local.” However, as mid-term
elections approach, it seems this year’s electoral contests will be more of a referendum on the Bush Administration than a
reflection of local politics. So, it only seems fair to take up that challenge and offer a reflection on the successes and
failures of President Bush as he enters his sixth year in office.
President Bush can legitimately claim some successes. His greatest success is that not a single terrorist attack has taken
place on American soil since September 11th. In the days that followed those horrific events, people assumed it was a
question of “when” not “if.” Bush has proven them wrong. Not a single American had died on our soil at the hands of
Osama bin Laden or any other fanatic. Bush promised to protect the American people and he has kept that promise. Only
the bitterest partisan would deny the President’s right to claim this victory.
He can claim the economy as a success as well. Having weathered a storm of financial shocks caused by September
11th, a series of accounting scandals that took place before his watch, and a cyclical downturn in the economy, we are
experiencing an exceptionally robust economy. Unemployment is about as low as it can go. Inflation has stayed down
despite significant GDP growth rates, and interest rates are holding. Democrats didn’t want to lower taxes, but Bush brow-
beat them into it and we are all better off for it. Despite the tax cuts, tax revenue is up and the deficit is shrinking. Only the
most ignorant partisan would deny the economy is a success.
His Supreme Court appointees belong in the success column too. He found two nominees who had actually read the
Constitution and agreed not to legislate from the bench. It’s been a century since we had a president accomplish that.
President Bush must also take the blame for serious failures as well. He has completely dropped the ball on illegal
immigration. As millions of illegal immigrants stream across the border overwhelming our schools, hospitals, and social
welfare programs, Bush has not used his political clout to push Congress to meet the problem. A few months ago,
thousands of non-citizens waived Mexican flags in the streets chanting “today we march, tomorrow we vote” and everyone
heard the chilling threat in that statement except residents of the White House. When I drive to Yakima now, most of the
radio stations are Hispanic, the signs in box stores are in Spanish and fast food restaurants try to take my order in Spanish
until I correct them. But President Bush doesn’t want to lose the vote gains he has made in the Hispanic community and we
are all about to learn the long-term price of political pandering.
Bush must also take responsibility for the massive increase in the social welfare state. Not since another Texan
occupied the White House have we seen such a significant increase in the size of government. Lyndon Johnson brought us
the “Great Society” and George Bush brought us a $600 billion unfunded liability in his prescription drug plan. Ronald
Reagan is rolling over in his grave and Franklin Roosevelt in laughing in his. It is hard to look people in the eye and insist
that the Republican Party is the party of limited government after the past few years.
Then there are some policies where it is simply too soon to tell. The No Child Left Behind Act belongs here. Bush had
the courage to demand results from our public education system. But we will have to wait for comprehensive studies to see
if it had any impact.
I put Iraq in this category as well. Bush was too quick to declare victory and the Democrats were too quick to declare
defeat. But history has a way of walking to the beat of its own drum. It will probably fall to the next generation to decide if
Iraq was a success or a failure. Until then, we can debate it till we are blue (or red) in the face. Or we can just vote on
7) Move Over, Hoover
By Douglas Brinkley
Sunday, December 3, 2006; B01
Shortly after Thanksgiving I had dinner in California with Ronald Reagan's best biographer, Lou Cannon. Like many
historians these days, we discussed whether George W. Bush is, conceivably, the worst U.S. president ever. Cannon bristled
at the idea.
Bush has two more years to leave his mark, he argued. What if there is a news flash that U.S. Special Forces have
killed Osama bin Laden or that North Korea has renounced its nuclear program? What if a decade from now Iraq is a
democracy and a statue of Bush is erected on Firdaus Square where that famously toppled one of Saddam Hussein once
There is wisdom in Cannon's prudence. Clearly it's dangerous for historians to wield the "worst president" label like a
scalp-hungry tomahawk simply because they object to Bush's record. But we live in speedy times and, the truth is, after six
years in power and barring a couple of miracles, it's safe to bet that Bush will be forever handcuffed to the bottom rungs of
the presidential ladder. The reason: Iraq.
Some presidents, such as Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy, are political sailors -- they tack with the wind, reaching
difficult policy objectives through bipartisan maneuvering and pulse-taking. Franklin D. Roosevelt, for example, was
deemed a "chameleon on plaid," changing colors regularly to control the zeitgeist of the moment. Other presidents are
submariners, refusing to zigzag in rough waters, preferring to go from Point A to Point B with directional certitude. Harry
S. Truman and Reagan are exemplars of this modus operandi, and they are the two presidents Bush has tried to emulate.
The problem for Bush is that certitude is only a virtue if the policy enacted is proven correct. Most Americans applaud
Truman's dropping of bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because they achieved the desired effect: Japan surrendered.
Reagan's anti-communist zeal -- including increased defense budgets and Star Wars -- is only now perceived as positive
because the Soviet Union started to unravel on his watch.
Nobody has accused Bush of flinching. After 9/11, he decided to circumvent the United Nations and declare war on
Iraq. The principal pretext was that Baghdad supposedly was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. From the get-go, the
Iraq war was a matter of choice. Call it Mr. Bush's War. Like a high-stakes poker player pushing in all his chips on one
hand, he bet the credibility of the United States on the notion that Sunnis and Shiites wanted democracy, just like the Poles
and the Czechs during the Cold War.
Bush wasn't operating in a historical bubble. Other presidents had gambled on wars of choice and won. James K. Polk,
for example, begged Gen. Zachary Taylor to start a border war with Mexico along the Rio Grande. An ardent expansionist,
he wanted to annex land in what are now Arizona, California and New Mexico. Nearly half of the American population in
1846 screamed foul, including Henry David Thoreau, who refused to pay taxes for an unjust war. Yet in short order, Polk
achieved his land-grab objective with a string of stunning military successes. Mr. Polk's War was a success, even if the
pretext was immoral. On virtually every presidential rating poll, Polk is deemed a "near great" president.
Half a century later, William McKinley also launched a war of choice based on the bogus notion that the USS Maine,
anchored in Cuba, had been sabotaged by Spain. The Maine, in truth, was crippled by a boiler explosion. An imperialist,
McKinley used the Maine as a pretext to fight Spain in the Caribbean and in the Philippines. A group of anti-imperialists
led by Mark Twain and William James, among others, vehemently objected, rightfully accusing McKinley of
warmongering. But McKinley had the last word in what his secretary of state, John Hay, deemed "a splendid little war." In
just six months, McKinley had achieved his objectives. History chalks up Mr. McKinley's War as a U.S. win, and he also
polls favorably as a "near great" president.
Mr. Bush's War, by contrast, has not gone well. When you don't achieve a stealth-like victory in a war of choice, then
you're seen as being stuck in a quagmire. Already the United States has fought longer in the Iraq war than in World War II.
As the death toll continues to rise, more and more Americans are objecting. The pending Democratic takeover of Congress
is only one manifestation of the spiraling disapproval of Bush.
At first, you'd want to compare Bush's Iraq predicament to that of Lyndon B. Johnson during the Vietnam War. But
LBJ had major domestic accomplishments to boast about when leaving the White House, such as the Civil Rights Act and
Medicare/Medicaid. Bush has virtually none. Look at how he dealt with the biggest post-9/11 domestic crisis of his tenure.
He didn't rush to help the Gulf region after Hurricane Katrina because the country was overextended in Iraq and had a
massive budget deficit. Texas conservatives always say that LBJ's biggest mistake was thinking that he could fund both the
Great Society and Vietnam. They believe he had to choose one or the other. They call Johnson fiscally irresponsible. Bush
learned this lesson: He chose Iraq over New Orleans.
So Bush's legacy hinges on Iraq, which is an unmitigated disaster. Instead of being forgiven, like Polk and McKinley,
for his phony pretext for war (WMD and al-Qaeda operatives in Baghdad), he stands to be lambasted by future scholars.
What once were his two best sound bites -- "Wanted dead or alive" and "Mission accomplished" -- will be used like billy
clubs to shatter his legacy every time it gets a revisionist lift. The left will keep battering him for warmongering while the
right will remember its outrage that he didn't send enough battalions to Iraq.
There isn't much that Bush can do now to salvage his reputation. His presidential library will someday be built around
two accomplishments: that after 9/11, the U.S. homeland wasn't again attacked by terrorists (knock on wood) and that he
won two presidential elections, allowing him to appoint conservatives to key judicial posts. I also believe that he is an
honest man and that his administration has been largely void of widespread corruption. This will help him from being
portrayed as a true villain.
This last point is crucial. Though Bush may be viewed as a laughingstock, he won't have the zero-integrity factors that
have kept Nixon and Harding at the bottom in the presidential sweepstakes. Oddly, the president whom Bush most reminds
me of is Herbert Hoover, whose name is synonymous with failure to respond to the Great Depression. When the stock
market collapsed, Hoover, for ideological reasons, did too little. When 9/11 happened, Bush did too much, attacking the
wrong country at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. He has joined Hoover as a case study on how not to be president.
email@example.com Douglas Brinkley is director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University.
8) THE SECOND TERM
Dissident President: George W. Bush has the courage to speak out for freedom.
The Wall Street Journal
By Natan Sharansky
Monday, April 24, 2006 12:01 a.m.
There are two distinct marks of a dissident. First, dissidents are fired by ideas and stay true to them no matter the
consequences. Second, they generally believe that betraying those ideas would constitute the greatest of moral failures.
Give up, they say to themselves, and evil will triumph. Stand firm, and they can give hope to others and help change the
Political leaders make the rarest of dissidents. In a democracy, a leader's lifeline is the electorate's pulse. Failure to be
in tune with public sentiment can cripple any administration and undermine any political agenda. Moreover, democratic
leaders, for whom compromise is critical to effective governance, hardly ever see any issue in Manichaean terms. In their
world, nearly everything is colored in shades of gray.
That is why President George W. Bush is such an exception. He is a man fired by a deep belief in the universal appeal
of freedom, its transformative power, and its critical connection to international peace and stability. Even the fiercest critics
of these ideas would surely admit that Mr. Bush has championed them both before and after his re-election, both when he
was riding high in the polls and now that his popularity has plummeted, when criticism has come from longstanding
opponents and from erstwhile supporters.
With a dogged determination that any dissident can appreciate, Mr. Bush, faced with overwhelming opposition, stands
his ideological ground, motivated in large measure by what appears to be a refusal to countenance moral failure.
I myself have not been uncritical of Mr. Bush. Like my teacher, Andrei Sakharov, I agree with the president that
promoting democracy is critical for international security. But I believe that too much focus has been placed on holding
quick elections, while too little attention has been paid to help build free societies by protecting those freedoms--of
conscience, speech, press, religion, etc.--that lie at democracy's core.
I believe that such a mistaken approach is one of the reasons why a terrorist organization such as Hamas could come to
power through ostensibly democratic means in a Palestinian society long ruled by fear and intimidation.
I also believe that not enough effort has been made to turn the policy of promoting democracy into a bipartisan effort.
The enemies of freedom must know that the commitment of the world's lone superpower to help expand freedom beyond its
borders will not depend on the results of the next election.
Just as success in winning past global conflicts depended on forging a broad coalition that stretched across party and
ideological lines, success in using the advance of democracy to win the war on terror will depend on building and
maintaining a wide consensus of support.
Yet despite these criticisms, I recognize that I have the luxury of criticizing Mr. Bush's democracy agenda only
because there is a democracy agenda in the first place. A policy that for years had been nothing more than the esoteric
subject of occasional academic debate is now the focal point of American statecraft.
For decades, a "realism" based on a myopic perception of international stability prevailed in the policy-making debate.
For a brief period during the Cold War, the realist policy of accommodating Soviet tyranny was replaced with a policy that
confronted that tyranny and made democracy and human rights inside the Soviet Union a litmus test for superpower
The enormous success of such a policy in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end did not stop most policy makers
from continuing to advocate an approach to international stability that was based on coddling "friendly" dictators and
refusing to support the aspirations of oppressed peoples to be free.
Then came Sept. 11, 2001. It seemed as though that horrific day had made it clear that the price for supporting
"friendly" dictators throughout the Middle East was the creation of the world's largest breeding ground of terrorism. A new
political course had to be charted.
Today, we are in the midst of a great struggle between the forces of terror and the forces of freedom. The greatest
weapon that the free world possesses in this struggle is the awesome power of its ideas.
The Bush Doctrine, based on a recognition of the dangers posed by non-democratic regimes and on committing the
United States to support the advance of democracy, offers hope to many dissident voices struggling to bring democracy to
their own countries. The democratic earthquake it has helped unleash, even with all the dangers its tremors entail, offers the
promise of a more peaceful world.
Yet with each passing day, new voices are added to the chorus of that doctrine's opponents, and the circle of its
supporters grows ever smaller.
Critics rail against every step on the new and difficult road on which the United States has embarked. Yet in pointing
out the many pitfalls which have not been avoided and those which still can be, those critics would be wise to remember
that the alternative road leads to the continued oppression of hundreds of millions of people and the continued festering of
the pathologies that led to 9/11.
Now that President Bush is increasingly alone in pushing for freedom, I can only hope that his dissident spirit will
continue to persevere. For should that spirit break, evil will indeed triumph, and the consequences for our world would be
Mr. Sharansky spent nine years as a political prisoner in the Soviet Gulag.
9) Other views on Bush presidency
"Just as we don't stop football games after three quarters, we shouldn't judge the historical place of presidents when
they've still got nearly two years in office."
— John J. Miller, political reporter, National Review
"Unless there is some great reversal, Bush will be seen as one of the country's poorest presidents. Iraq will stand at the
top of the list, but the administration's failed responses to Katrina and global warming will stand with its abuse of civil
liberties to mark Bush out as a man with poor judgment and a failed leader."
— Robert Dallek, historian; his new book, Nixon and Kissinger: Powers in Power, will be published in April.
“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.”
“The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George
H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me.”
“We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even
though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the
future our security might be endangered, but that’s been a radical departure from all previous administration policies.”
“The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those
funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion. As a traditional Baptist, I’ve always
believed in separation of church and state and honored that premise when I was president, and so have all other presidents, I
might say, except this one.”
-- Former President Carter on the Bush administration
I stand by this man (President George W. Bush). I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things,
he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong
message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound.. with the most powerfully staged photo ops in
the world. Stephen Colbert
A new poll shows that Americans now believe that Bill Clinton is more honest than President Bush. At least when
Clinton screwed the nation, he did it one person at a time. Jay Leno
President Bush says he needs a month off to unwind. Unwind? When the hell does this guy wind? David Letterman
Bruce Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for
traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, [said]: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al
Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're
extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .
''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly
believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is
to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''
New York Times, October 17, 2004