Will History Redeem Bush?


Nate Silver looks at other presidents and crunches the numbers:

Although there is some correlation between the final Gallup numbers and the historians' views of each president, it is not very strong -- in fact, it is not at all statistically significant. The most obvious discrepancy is that of Harry S. Truman, who was extremely unpopular at the time he left office in a cloud of foreign entanglements and minor domestic scandals. Truman, however, is regarded very favorably by historians. The next-most striking disconnect is that of Gerald Ford, who was actually fairly popular for most of his presidency -- perhaps Americans were happy to have any alternative to Richard Nixon after Watergate -- but is not very well regarded by history. Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson have also worn a little better historically as compared with perceptions about them at the end of their terms.

We cannot know what we will think in a decade's time. But what we can say is what we see now. For the record, and fuly acknowledging that I once supported him, I think Bush is at this point in time, the worst president in American history, with Buchanan a close second. With each passing day, the evidence of the astonishing damage he did accumulates. I feel ashamed I ever hoped for the best, and only marginally comforted by the fact that I realized my error before a lot of others.

(Photo: Paul J Richards/Getty.)