I'm not prepared to say that George W. Bush is the worst president, but at this point we have to be open to the possibility that he might be and if he's not, he's certainly down there. Sure, he has illustrious competition, containing names like Woodrow Wilson in his second term, Franklin Pierce, John Tyler, James Buchanan, John Adams the Elder, Herbert Hoover, etc. Plus we have another year and a half of him. Anybody who says it can't get any worse isn't paying close attention.

It'll take some time to know for sure. History will judge just how bad he's been. But if Iraq gets worse and worse, and there's no real reason to think it won't, we can judge unnecessary deaths by the total dead minus the number who would have died under Saddam anyway. And the difference just keep on climbing, along with the general instability that we've created in the region.

With Bush, it's the sum total of his record. We have: piling up massive debts; cutting taxes during a time of war; simultaneously enacting a whole new social-welfare entitlement with no means of paying for it, or even an attempt to figure that out; corruption and the open abetting of lawlessness; botched wars; the glaring fact that Osama Bin Laden is still alive almost six years after 9/11; and so on and so on.

If he's not winning the title of worst president ever, at the rate he's going he's at least a quarterfinalist. And he has the advantage (and we have the disadvantage) that he's working on a much larger scale than many of his predecessors.

Let's at least agree that he's the worst of the last 50 years. If Bush had been a Democrat, the Republican Congress of the last six years would have impeached him. And they might have just gotten a conviction, too.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.