Sunday, December 03, 2006

Is Bush the worst US president ever... or are we the worst voters?

David Seaton's News Links
There are quite a lot of former presidents at the starting gate for the "worst president in history race": let's see, there are Pierce and Buchanan, Polk and Andrew Johnson, Coolidge and Harding, even Nixon (for general creepiness). But I would have to give George W. Bush poll position in this event. Why? In today's Washington Post, Douglas Brinkley compares Bush to Herbert Hoover. I would say that this was exactly wrong. Bush is the "anti-Hoover". Hoover failed, this is true and Bush is failing too, but that is about the only thing that unites them. Maybe before we go on, you might like to have a look at Hoover's biography to refresh your memory. A cursory reading will quickly reveal a brilliant student, a self-made man, a distinguished humanitarian, who criticized, for aiding communism when organizing famine relief to revolutionary Russia in 1921, replied "Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!". Doesn't sound like our boy Dubya, does it? The point is that Herbert Hoover was an exceptionally fine man, someone who people voted for because they wanted an exceptionally fine man in the White House, not "somebody they could drink a beer with". Fine a man as Hoover was he was overwhelmed by the Great Depression, he applied classic remedies to a new situation and failed miserably and he was ridiculed and rejected for failing. "Democracy is a harsh employer", he was heard to say. His last word on the Great Depression might have been when he said, "The only trouble with capitalism is capitalists - they are too damn greedy." In fact with Bush nobody has a right to be disappointed, nobody 'misunderestimated' him, what we saw was what we got. A mediocrity, who all his life had failed at everything he ever did and when he didn't fail outright, his chestnuts were pulled out of the fire by his father or by his father's friends... and to top it off he was/is an alcoholic. All of this was public record. He was a classic third rater. The real question is how somebody so lacking in merit was considered qualified for the highest office in a country of 300M people, with the highest percentage of university graduates in the world? How was he selected? How did they have the nerve, the chutzpah to brazenly foist off such defective goods on the public...? But then comes the question that is the most painful one, one that puts modern American democracy itself in doubt: why did anyone vote for him? And then even more painfully, why did they reelect him? I think it's a waste of time to handicap Dubya in a race with Coolidge and Harding, Pierce and Polk. What is beyond question is that the US citizens who elected him are far and away the "worst voters" in US history. In two years, Bush will have gone. If he were the real problem, it would end there. However, the same selection process will be in place and the same voters will be waiting to choose again and that is what we and the whole world will have to live with. DS


kelly said...

amen. When I first heard Bush give a speech, I laughed out loud, confident this guy would never make it in the primary, so many words saying absolutely nothing...but to my shock even some in my circle of friends showed interest...I gave up the little hope I had in America's judgement at the end of election day... but the second time around - pure disgust. I still ask myself, what was the attraction?! Maybe I'm just too picky about who I drink my beer with?

Anonymous said...

The "attraction" is the Anglo-American lifestyle of living in blissful ignorance. Not to know about trouble, history and the outside world.

Bush promises that to his under-educated audience. Terrible education for the masses always being a major element in Anglo imperialism.

If they would just believe clowns like Fukuyama and The End of History, it would be tolerable. If they go psycho with Creationism and start wars..

bobbywally said...

The. Worst. President. Ever. You are correct. Those words do not say enough. It is our electorate that is the problem. With only 1/2 of the eligible voters voting, then it is only ¼ of those that call the shots. Image is everything to most.

kelly said...

Dear Anonymous - had to grin at the statement about "terrible education for the masses" - first hand experience with that one:

I was a Social Studies teacher and during my teacher education classes the professors explained that there are two methods in Social Studies education:

1st - prepare tomorrow's citizenry

2nd - teach your students to think for themselves

Our professors encouraged the first - much less dangerous they said, leads to a "docile" population and is acheived by "sticking to the book".

They said the 2nd only leads to headaches.

" I pledge allegiance to the ....."