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News Link • Bush Administration

worst: A new study ranks Bush near the very bottom in history. . .

• Robert Merry, Salon
Excerpted from WHERE THEY STAND by Robert W. Merry

In 2003, President Bush, then two years into his tenure, was asked by journalist Bob Woodward about his place in history. “History,” he replied. “We don’t know. We’ll all be dead.” This is a remarkable statement from any president, suggesting a blithe attitude toward the job’s magnitude and responsibility to posterity. Compare this insouciance, as historian Sean Wilentz did in a searing Rolling Stone piece on the younger Bush, with another president’s observation on the subject. “Fellow citizens,” said Lincoln, “we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

Wilentz’s Rolling Stone  piece, appearing in the spring of 2006, with Bush still in office, posed a question: Was this president the worst ever? The Bush presidency, wrote Wilentz, appeared “headed for colossal historical disgrace,” and there didn’t seem to be anything Bush could do to forestall that fate. He added, “And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.”


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