There is a lively discussion going on over at The Carpetbagger Report on who is the worst president ever. After an examination of historical precedent (apparently regular candidates include James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding and Richard M. Nixon), consensus is that the current occupant of the White House easily outruns all past candidates.
Sorry, this is simply no contest. It is Bush already – and he has three more years to put distance between himself and any challengers. No other president is so comprehensively a disaster. Name a category, war and peace, foreign relations. the economy, health care, the environment, energy, helping the poor, the elderly, the infirm, cronyism and profiteering, responding to natural disasters, treason, lying, torture and responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths. When it comes to arrogance, ineptitude, and yes, moral weakness as well as neglectful and intentional evil, our boy has finally come in first, on his own merits.
But the wrong question is being asked. It is difficult to see Bush as a president at all. Really policy has been run by Dick Cheney from the beginning. Bush is just the front man – the ventriloquist’s dummy. Dick Cheney and his PNAC cohorts must take the blame and our ire. Of course, as chaos reigns behind the scenes, the dummy has to speak and act on his own.
The world’s best hope is for resignation or impeachment. I think it’s a real possibility. These men are war criminals. These men are political criminals (Plame game). The last election is tainted (Kerry believes now that it was rigged). These men are white collar criminals (if Haliburton can be called white collar). These men are traitors (subverting America’s interests to those of a foreign nation).
It doesn’t get much more serious than this. I think the situation now is akin to that of a bully who’s authority has been challenged. The road downhill can go further. Having bent the rules of civilised discourse and political behaviour so far, there really isn’t a safety net underneath them anymore.
They have made enough enemies (Paul O’Neill, Colin Powell, Joe Wilson, Lawrence Wilkerson, John McCain – to name just a visible few) on their own team that first impeachment and later trial for war crimes in the Hague or treason at home are a real possibility.
You can push people so far before even your nominal allies come and take you out. Think of Beria’s fate. The entire Central Committee turned against him and he was executed after secret trial within two weeks.
No one will feel an ounce of pity for advocates of torture – neither loyalty, nor remorse.