“Overall, President Bush was a very good president. He demonstrated the vision and character that define executive leadership,” said Dr. Hail. “Bush had both success and failure with his policy agenda. However, history will record George W. Bush as one of our greatest presidents and, in time, there will be a collective acknowledgement of his superb leadership in a time of war, international pressure, and economic challenge.”Of course, all of this is nonsense. At best, George W. Bush will be rated in the second-lowest tier of presidents and his historical BFF's (best friends forever) will be Martin Van Buren, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, and Franklin Pierce, and Richard Nixon. However, the current deep recession could turn into a depression and Iraq could still end up looking a lot more like Somalia and Pakistan than a stable democracy. If these things happen, Bush will be closely associated with helpless figures like Warren Harding, James Buchanan, and Herbert Hoover at the bottom of presidential rankings.
There's also a wild card that needs to be played out. The main thrust of my blogging over the last several weeks is that George Bush could be the last Republican president this country ever sees. In that case, future historians will be evaluating the role of the Bush administration in destroying a major political party and permanently marginalizing a political conservatism that was ascendant before he took office. It could very well be that killing the Republican Party will force historians and political scientists to view George Bush as a uniquely failed president.
Of course, it really is hard to beat Buchanan for ineptitude. So Bush probably won't be seen as the worst president in American history--just the biggest failure.