I believe a President should leave the country better than he found it. That’s not unreasonable. But in my lifetime, three Presidents have failed that test. Lyndon Johnson left us mired in Vietnam. Richard Nixon extracted us from Vietnam and did other good things, but those pluses were outweighed by the nation-shattering disillusionment of Watergate. And then George W. Bush.
Jimmy Carter was not a great president, but he did some good things and left us slightly better off than he found us, particularly in putting us some distance from the bummer days of Watergate. George H. W. Bush did no harm. Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton (I know, you object to me saying anything good about Clinton) left America in much better shape than they found it.
George W. is, in my book, the worst president of my lifetime (not the worst ever, just the worst since I’ve been around). I voted for him twice, thank you. He entered office in 2001 with enormous promise and almost unprecedented advantages–control of both the House and Senate, a sympathetic Supreme Court, a majority of governorships, a severely reduced national debt (thanks to Clinton and the dot-com boom), and a leaderless Democratic Party. But to me, he has squandered it all, accomplishing practically nothing. He’ll blame it on 9/11, which was a true-blue disruption in his Presidency. But I don’t think history will let him cop-out with that excuse. With many issues, Bush has been very intentional in producing lots of bad outcomes.3 Comments