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Rolling Stone Cover Story
April 20, 2006 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Rolling Stone One of America's foremost historians assesses George W. Bush with the cover story: The Worst President in History? Check out the respectful cover illustration.
posted by spock (163 comments total)

 
He's totally the Pearl Jam and Nick Lachey president.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:08 PM on April 20, 2006


Countdown to comment about how long it's been since Rollling Stone was "relevant" (ignoring as always the actual content of the article) in 5... 4...
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:12 PM on April 20, 2006


He's not the worst, but he's making guys like Coolidge, Harding, Polk, Taylor, and Nixon look better every day he remains in office.
posted by bardic at 2:22 PM on April 20, 2006


my papa was a pre-si-dent
posted by beno at 2:22 PM on April 20, 2006


(And people tend to forget that Nixon did some real good, domestically--created the EPA, kept many "Great Society" programs rolling. Too bad he was a hateful, bigoted drunk.)
posted by bardic at 2:25 PM on April 20, 2006


Strangely, one argument I've been hearing lately is that Bush shows no concern for his actions because he's accepted a belief that his "greatness" will only be judged long after he leaves office. Conversely, I have to agree with the opposite: saying he's the worst president ever right now is mostly hyperbole, but it's fair to say you believe that history will judge him as one of the worst.

In other words, yeah. I say he's the worst president ever, in that twenty years from now, we're going to be wondering how the hell we let him get away with all he's doing. And unlike Reagan he won't have people like Norquist spending 24 hours a day building Castro-like historical revisionist monuments to him.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:25 PM on April 20, 2006


worst. president. evar.
posted by ori at 2:25 PM on April 20, 2006


Upping the ante in the Middle East and bombing Iranian nuclear sites, a strategy reportedly favored by some in the White House, could distract the public and gain Bush immediate political capital in advance of the 2006 midterm elections. . .

These guys have shown a great willingness to play politics with national security. Is the American public dumb enough to fall for such a stunt? Sadly, I must answer "yes".
posted by spock at 2:27 PM on April 20, 2006


And unlike Reagan he won't have people like Norquist spending 24 hours a day building Castro-like historical revisionist monuments to him.

Oh, they'll be there. Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter will probably be looking for work by then.
posted by bardic at 2:31 PM on April 20, 2006


Robert Novak: "...President Bush is not what I would call a skilled politician. He seems aloof, almost arrogant."

Fox News: Bush At 33% Approval: Lowest Ever.
posted by ericb at 2:36 PM on April 20, 2006


lower. approval. evar.
posted by ori at 2:38 PM on April 20, 2006


I unequivocably believe him to be the worst president of modern times.
I say that because some of our other presidents have acted horribly by modern standards, but less so by the standards of their day...
posted by banishedimmortal at 2:39 PM on April 20, 2006


Senate Hearings on Bush, Now: Watergate veteran Carl Bernstein calls for bipartisan hearings investigating the Bush presidency.

A Crisis Almost Without Equal:
"Republicans and Democrats alike are starting to face the prospect of what it means to have George W. Bush as their commander in chief for another 33 months -- in a time of war, terrorism, and nuclear intrigue. How can the press contribute to confronting the crisis? First: recognize it exists."

[E&P | April 20, 2006]
posted by ericb at 2:41 PM on April 20, 2006


Besides his involvement in breaking the Watergate story, I'm curious why Carl Bernstein calling for hearings is of any more note than any other person calling for hearings.
posted by trey at 2:45 PM on April 20, 2006


Lowest for him, but other presidents have fallen lower:
Four presidents hit bottom below the 30% approval level -- Harry Truman (23%), Richard Nixon (24%), Jimmy Carter (28%), and the elder George Bush (29%). Four others bottomed out below 40% -- Lyndon Johnson (35%), Gerald Ford (37%), Ronald Reagan (35%), and Bill Clinton (37%). Kennedy's low point was 56%; Eisenhower's, 49%.
But I'm sure Bush will get down there. I firmly believe he will drop to the lowest ever.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:46 PM on April 20, 2006


As the article notes, there are different criteria for determining which President is "better" or "worse" than another, and that history may take a different view than we do now.

Right now, we can't say he's the worst president ever. For all we know, he could do something tomorrow to totally redeem himself. Unlikely, but possible. We have to wait until the end of his term, or preferably, until he's impeached, to find out.


A few judgments that can be made with more confidence:


1) If things continue as they are, Bush could in the future rightfully be looked back upon as the worst president in history.

2) He definately stands as the worst president in history from a civil libertarian standpoint.

3) Assuming things continue as they are, it is likely that in the future, a president worse than Bush will come along.


Every president thus far has schemed to seize more power, and expand the power and influence of the executive branch. Now that Bush claims unfettered ability to wage war on whomever, whenever, and however he likes, to spy on Americans without warrants, to detain and torture without trial or charge anyone, anywhere, for as long as he likes, and the congress hasn't stepped in to stop it, it is almost certain future presidents will claim precedent and do the same or worse.

The only hope I can see is to send a message to future presidents that this kind of behavior will no longer be tolerated.
posted by Help Me Impeach Bush at 2:46 PM on April 20, 2006


Bush is the only president within memory who doesn't seem to even take the job seriously. His attention seems to wander and basic functions of government -- maintaining minimal diplomatic standards, issuing appropriate statements, appointing people who are even distantly qualified, making sure basic appropriations make it into the budget -- just don't get done.

Without realizing it, I spent my life assured that even if the President was kind of a bastard he would perform basic presidential functions. With Bush you just don't know.

Even without the actively bad aspects of his performance (Iraq, etc.) he'd be the worst of my lifetime at least. As it is I'm just hoping we can survive the man.
posted by argybarg at 2:48 PM on April 20, 2006


Besides his involvement in breaking the Watergate story, I'm curious why Carl Bernstein calling for hearings is of any more note than any other person calling for hearings.

Isn't that sorta like saying "Other than hitting 755 homers, why is Hank Aaron in the hall of fame?"
posted by docgonzo at 2:52 PM on April 20, 2006


Ever? I don't know ... Theodore "This country needs a war" Roosevelt is a hard act to beat.
posted by jefgodesky at 2:54 PM on April 20, 2006


Without realizing it, I spent my life assured that even if the President was kind of a bastard he would perform basic presidential functions. With Bush you just don't know.


Yeah, that articulates some of my feeling as well. It's oddly, ironically reassuring to see the theory that the job of president is really a channel for the cabinet, which was sometimes floated by persons sheepishly willing to admit that Bush was really as inarticulate, apathetic, and inexperienced as his critics claimed, is flat wrong. So now we see that it is, in fact, worth having someone in the office that has some idea how to handle themselves, regardless of their political stance. It's surprising it has taken this long. But it seems no different than any other hierarchical system, corporation, etc. - if you appoint an incompetent to the position of CEO, eventually the entity rots.
posted by docpops at 2:56 PM on April 20, 2006


No, not really. Carl Bernstein was a reporter who broke a story of White House corruption. He did this with the help of inside sources -- it was his job to track it down. He is no longer an impartial investigative reporter and is not really in a position to be calling for hearings per se.

I agree that hearings should be held, but I'm also in no real position for that opinion to be newsworthy or of great importance. It's interesting that he thinks they should be held, but it's not like anyone thinks "Oh shit! Bernstein thinks there should be hearings! We've reached a tipping point!"
posted by trey at 4:56 PM on April 20, 2006


How can people complain about the economy with the stock market at 6 year highs? Unemployment at all-time lows? Personal incomes up? Home ownership at an all-time high?
posted by b_thinky at 4:57 PM on April 20, 2006


For all we know, he could do something tomorrow to totally redeem himself.

Whoa there. Exactly what could redeem having caused thousands and thousands of deaths, squandering an entire earth of goodwill in the aftermath of 9/11, mishandling the worst domestic environmental disaster, &c.?

Really, think about that. Nothing could possibly redeem this administration.
posted by odinsdream at 4:57 PM on April 20, 2006


In early 2002 I said that Bush would destroy the United States as we know it. That is what history will remember him for - Destroying the U.S.

We don't manufactures things anymore. Bio and tech leadership is moving overseas. China and the EU are steadily rolling over us economically. As we move closer to peak oil, our consumption grows. In the face of colossal disasters like New Orleans Bush & Co is incapable of doing *anything* more effective then spending 8 months (and counting) standing in a circle pointing fingers. The world (not just the usual suspects but the entire world) hates us. Citizens can now be held without charge. Warrantless searches are now legal.

We're bogged down in a pointless war that is going to bankrupt the country. And it turns out Bush lied to get us into the war. And we're still waiting to hear the exit strategy. And so far the people responsible for the most egregious mistakes have all been given presidential awards.

In the face of a looming strike by millions of immigrant workers Bush shows leadership by....... Ummmm...... Hard working Americans..... War on terror....... Failure not an option......

It's not just that everything he's attempted (other than cutting taxes while ballooning the government) has failed, but that all of his crucial decisions have made the situation worse.

I understand that Bush thinks his greatness won't be appreciated until decades down the road. But which of his massive blunders does he think will get a favorable revision? Massive debt? Destabilizing the Middle East? Outlawing medical research? Lighting a fire under Islamic fundamentalists? Grand oblivious arrogance?
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:58 PM on April 20, 2006


Why a strong economy is no GOP asset
"Of all the problems Republicans face heading into the fall political season, one of the most exasperating is the economy. In many ways, they say, these are the best of times: Unemployment is at 4.7 percent, lower than the averages of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. The economy is showing strong, consistent growth, without significant inflation. And the stock market is roaring along.

Yet many Americans just aren't impressed. A majority tell pollsters they trust the Democrats more than the GOP to handle the economy. When asked in an open-ended question which is the most important problem facing the country today, respondents to a recent CBS News poll named "economy/jobs" second after the Iraq war - and ahead of immigration, terrorism, and healthcare."

[Christian Science Monitor | April 21, 2006 edition]
posted by ericb at 5:02 PM on April 20, 2006


Every president thus far has schemed to seize more power, and expand the power and influence of the executive branch. Now that Bush claims unfettered ability to wage war on whomever, whenever, and however he likes, to spy on Americans without warrants, to detain and torture without trial or charge anyone, anywhere, for as long as he likes, and the congress hasn't stepped in to stop it, it is almost certain future presidents will claim precedent and do the same or worse.

OK, let me get this straight:

Say a terrorist arrest in Pakistan nets a laptop or cell phone with the phone number of a terror suspect in the United States. Upon further investigation, the person in question is here on a green card and has some other shady connections worthy of investigating. You actually would not want our government to conduct surveillance on this person?

Presuming your answer is no, let me ask you: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?
posted by b_thinky at 5:04 PM on April 20, 2006


Whoa there. Exactly what could redeem having caused thousands and thousands of deaths, squandering an entire earth of goodwill in the aftermath of 9/11, mishandling the worst domestic environmental disaster, &c.?
Hehe. Yeah, I thought that sounded crazy when I wrote it. It'd have to be something along the lines of repelling an alien invasion to redeem himself. Good summation of the Bush legacy, BTW.
posted by Help Me Impeach Bush at 5:06 PM on April 20, 2006


b_thinky, why would it be impossible to get a warrant in this hypothetical situation of yours?
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 5:07 PM on April 20, 2006


I would -- but after having gone through the proper procedure to get a warrent. Which is easy to do. But Bush has decided he just doesn't need to bother with. And there's the problem -- as eveybody keeps pointing out, and apologists such as yourself keep willfully misinterpreting. So I ask you: What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you think our imperial president is above the rule of law?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:09 PM on April 20, 2006


In early 2002 I said that Bush would destroy the United States as we know it. - y6y6y6
posted by b_thinky at 5:09 PM on April 20, 2006


What I'm really looking forward to is the run-up to the 2008 election, to see just how far the current leading candidates will go to distance themselves from the merest hint of Bush, and how all their quotes come back to haunt them.

Giuliani? Famously said, "Thank God he's in the White House."
Hilary? Failed (so-far) to denounce the war in Iraq.
McCain? Dude went out and stumped for the man.

Prediction: Our next president is neither of these three people.
posted by frogan at 5:09 PM on April 20, 2006


OK, let me get this straight:
Oh, fun. Okay, go for it.

You actually would not want our government to conduct surveillance on this person?
Err, no. Your attempt to "get this straight" has failed spectacularly. In fact, you could say it was positively Bushian.

I'd just like them to do it in a legal way. We have laws that cover this kind of stuff, you know. Or do you know?

Presuming your answer is no, let me ask you: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?
Haven't you ever heard that when you presume, you make a "pres" out of "u" and "me"?

In any case, my answer WASN'T "no". And what's with the nasty tone?
posted by Help Me Impeach Bush at 5:11 PM on April 20, 2006


What I'm really looking forward to is the run-up to the 2008 election, to see just how far the current leading candidates will go to distance themselves from the merest hint of Bush, and how all their quotes come back to haunt them

Bush may not be popular, but he's not poison like Nixon. Giuliani and McCain won't be hurt by supporting Bush. Hilary is a different story since her party is against the war she voted for simply to remain politically viable.
posted by b_thinky at 5:13 PM on April 20, 2006


It's interesting that Rolling Stone has posted the entire article online, they normally just post little teasers and then tell you to see the print version.

Liberal conspiracy anyone? ;)
posted by dobie at 5:13 PM on April 20, 2006


How will he be ranked if he triggers a world war and global economic collapse by nuking Iran?
posted by piscatorius at 5:13 PM on April 20, 2006


You actually would not want our government to conduct surveillance on this person?

Missed the point. Of course we'd want surveillance. The point is that we'd like our President to obey the law (e.g. get a warrant) while carrying out his duties. Current laws allow that warrant to be issued 3 days AFTER said surveillance begins. Is that really too much of a constraint? Does that really hamper effectiveness? Fine, we can have that debate. How about a week? Two weeks? I think we're all cool with that.

But to blithely carry on as if the law doesn't apply...?

Ludicrous.
posted by frogan at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2006


You actually would not want our government to conduct surveillance on this person?

So let them get a warrant. There's a court with sealed records set up for just this eventuality. Why is this a problem?

I'll reply more politely than you began: Are you ignorant of this or just aimlessly argumentative?

This administration just wants to do whatever the hell it wants and resents even minimal intrusion from things like legal procedures, accounting for itself to the public, etc.
posted by argybarg at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2006


The intelligent monkeys who rise from the furnace of our burning cities will esteem him as a vengeful god.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2006


I'd just like them to do it in a legal way. We have laws that cover this kind of stuff, you know. Or do you know?

Uh, yes, we do have laws, and the president is actually acting within the law here.
posted by b_thinky at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2006


Strangely, one argument I've been hearing lately is that Bush shows no concern for his actions because he's accepted a belief that his "greatness" will only be judged long after he leaves office. Conversely, I have to agree with the opposite: ... it's fair to say you believe that history will judge him as one of the worst.

well, you can predict the future, but I don't think that makes the argument 'strange' - you don't really know how history is going to judge things. Their point is logically coherent, even if unlikely; if things were to clear up in Iraq, and a new democracy was started that spread across the middle east, etc, then people would look back on this period and think we were hysterical and overreacting. all you can judge at this point is what you think, not 'how history will judge' - that's the whole point of suggesting that you only care how history will judge things.
posted by mdn at 5:15 PM on April 20, 2006


What odinsdream said. Truman went way low in approval, but my sense is that history gives him a break because the Korean War is now seen as a necessity, albeit a messy, troubling one. The same could be said for dropping nukes on Japan. I don't think Iraq will ever be seen as anything but, at best, an optional war ("and why didn't we invade the DPRK, which we knew had nukes, not just mustard gas?" ask future historians) or worst, IMO, the war for oil and empire that it is.

Even finding ObL wouldn't mean much now for Bush--so many Americans think Saddam was behind 9/11. There's definitely room for improvement in Iraq, but how sexy is building a new school or getting a new sump pump running? This is not the type of things that Americans get excited about. Any potential PR positives were blown on the deck of that aircraft carrier--almost as if Bush was taking out a loan in approval numbers, and expecting to pay it off with the rose petal-strewn streets of Sadr City.

Hydrogen cars? Mission to Mars? Bush is just incompetent enough to try for one last push to do. . . something. Let's hope it doesn't get us all killed. My sense is that at the mid-20's, he'll go hard to his base, and try to push for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage out of sheer desperation, and sheer Nixonian outrage at a public that turned on him.
posted by bardic at 5:17 PM on April 20, 2006


You actually would not want our government to conduct surveillance on this person?

Surveillance with a warrant? Sure, go for it. That warrant would probably be pretty easy to get. HMIB wasn't talking about the situation to describe; he specifically mentioned warrantless surveillance, and you're being dishonest if you pretend differently. What the fuck is wrong with you?
posted by the_bone at 5:17 PM on April 20, 2006


You actually would not want our government to conduct surveillance on this person?

Obviously, a (possibly retroactively granted) warrant is required.

on preview: yeah
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:19 PM on April 20, 2006


No he isn't.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:20 PM on April 20, 2006


red herring alert
posted by wakko at 5:20 PM on April 20, 2006


"The intelligent monkeys who rise from the furnace of our burning cities will esteem him as a vengeful god."

Or, more in line with Bush fantasy, after the rapture when non-believers are eviscerated, all the good Christians will thank him for bringing about the end times.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:21 PM on April 20, 2006


I’m really thinking people give too much power/credit to the president. He’s not the head honcho on the economy. He’s not the one who can unilaterally decide to go to war.
I would have to say one of the major problems with Bush is that he assumes he has too many powers.
The problem is that those powers have been ceded to him by congress through party channels.
It is not that Bush is a bad president and that’s hurting the country, it’s that congress has abdicated their responsibility to their constituents in favor of loyalty to the party which is headed and dominated by a small oligarchy.

You could put nearly anyone in as president and if the other two branches are doing their jobs it wouldn’t screw the country over as much as it has.

That’s the problem. Bush is just a scapegoat. And what does bother me is that 30 years from now people will be saying what a bastard Bush was while the same mistakes of neglect and misrepresentation are being made.


...you know who else was a bad President? Hitler.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:21 PM on April 20, 2006


b_thinky

Stop reading your Karl Rove cue cards and actually think for a moment. Note we are concerned about wiretapping WITHOUT A WARRANT. Sabe? Do you really want the chief executive to be able to listen in on communications without any oversight? You are aware of the misuses that have been made of this power, right? I mean, you've heard of J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon, and how they used information collected in this way to blackmail and intimidate their enemies, right? What the fuck is wrong with you, to coin a phrase, that you would want to return that power to these guys? You're really that afraid that the big, bad terrorists are gonna getcha if you don't?

Throw away that other Rove cue card as well, the one about the economy being just peachy. Why? The jobless rate and the unemployment rate are two different things. The former sucks, the latter looks good. It's the difference between people without jobs, and people looking for a job that can't find one. And what jobs they find when they do. For the last five years the real pay has been going down for everyone in every stratum of income, except those in the upper 1/6. And as one narrows down the upper band to 10%, 1%, 0.1%, the acceleration of earnings in those groups becomes more and more astounding. In other words, this "great economy" has been sucking the life out of the middle class and poor, and pumping money up to the rich. If that's what you and Karl call a good economy, what the fuck is wrong with you?
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:21 PM on April 20, 2006


Bush has so lowered the bar that there will likely be presidents so spectacularly bad as to make us almost nostalgic for the Duhbya years. So. In twenty years we won't all go "Gee. Bush really WAS awful."

No. In twenty years we will be going "Back in my day we had forests, and beaches, and some wild animals. And a ham sandwich only cost six bucks!"

To which the mutant progeny bouncing on our knee will expel from one of their many face orifices "What's 'ham', Grandpa?"
posted by tkchrist at 5:23 PM on April 20, 2006


Just a question relating to the whole three-day after emergency surveillance warrant thing. Why is it okay to hold surveillance for three days without a warrant and what would be the result if the surveillance was carried out but the warrant subsequently denied? Has this ever happened? Is it simply a case of 'no warrant for you, pack up and go home now'?

Just curious as to the process involved.
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:28 PM on April 20, 2006


Presuming your answer is no, let me ask you: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

As others have clearly said: This type of surveillance is already legal, provided a warrant is obtained. You can even get the warrant after you've already begun surveillance. Not only that, but everything is done in a secret court. Yep. Really. I know, it doesn't jive with anything you've been reading, does it? Start here, if you really want to learn more.

A more important question, however, is brought to light by yours:

What, if not surveilling terrorists, is this secret NSA program for?

To me, the answer is obvious: Spying on political enemies. Face it - nothing is beying this administration ethically or morally. They've not allowed anything to get between them and their objectives in the past. Objectives like starting a war. A fucking war, my friend.

So, to assume that this administration simply wouldn't spy on their political enemies is short-sighted; just plain naive.

If I, and thousands of other people, are smart enough to know that this type of surveillance is already provided for by FISA, then you know Gonzales and other Bush lawyers know it, too. It's plain to see that the reason a secret program would exist at all is to spy on political enemies while never revealing evidence of said spying to anyone but themselves.
posted by odinsdream at 5:31 PM on April 20, 2006


TwoWordReview: Any evidence gathered during the period when the warrant was presumed would not be admissible in court. Not that unusual of a situation, similar things happen all the time with regular warrants.

Note that the mechanism of retroactive warrants completely undercuts all 'ticking bomb' arguments.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:31 PM on April 20, 2006


Another take. Befuddled Conrad Black argues for, Steve Maich, against.
posted by juiceCake at 5:32 PM on April 20, 2006


To put it succinctly: to any given American "we have a great economy" does not translate to "I personally have a decent paying job and healthcare". When economic figures don't reflect the well-being of the average American, you have to wonder whether those economic figures express any meaningful information.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:33 PM on April 20, 2006



Uh, yes, we do have laws, and the president is actually acting within the law here.


You're arguing with Alberto Gonzales, my friend. In Senate testimony, he's already said that the president is not acting in accordance with FISA.
posted by odinsdream at 5:33 PM on April 20, 2006


Mental Wimp: read the FISA laws, and laws pertaining to a president's war time powers and you'll see there is no law breaking going on, contrary to what you might see on the Daily Show.

Thanks for your .02 on the economy. Whenever yet another piece of economic good news comes out (almost daily now going on several years now) I always hear naysayers talking up the jobless rate, but without any solid numbers. I don't suppose you are the one that finally has some kind of data to show this economy really sucks after all and despite all conventiional wisdom and economic reporting, are you?

If so, please share.
posted by b_thinky at 5:33 PM on April 20, 2006


America has been involved in war-mistakes (Vietnam) and had Presidents who thought they were above the law (Nixon) before, and it's come through them. We will survive Bush.

I understand the importance of being vigilant when people threaten our country from within (as well as without), and standing up to the President is important when he pulls shit like he's been pulling. But he won't kill us.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 5:34 PM on April 20, 2006


sonofsamiam: Cheers!
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:34 PM on April 20, 2006


tkchrist: that was awesome.
posted by gigawhat? at 5:34 PM on April 20, 2006


I don't suppose you are the one that finally has some kind of data to show this economy really sucks after all and despite all conventiional wisdom and economic reporting, are you?

www.mises.org

Probably will be blown off as libertarian nonsense; all I knows is that this crowd's predictions from 5 years ago were dead on. Austrian economic thought earns more of my respect all the time.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:37 PM on April 20, 2006


He’s not the one who can unilaterally decide to go to war.

According to his lawyers, he in fact, is. That whole thing about congress needing to declare war? Yea, that's actually just a "suggestion" congress can make.

Here's a better page explaining all of the NSA arguments brought up in this thread so far.
posted by odinsdream at 5:39 PM on April 20, 2006


www.mises.org

Probably will be blown off as libertarian nonsense; all I knows is that this crowd's predictions from 5 years ago were dead on. Austrian economic thought earns more of my respect all the time.


A quick scan reveals nothing on the jobless rate. I've been reading that site for years - I'm an economic libertarian - and know they will rip on economic policy regardless. They believe - as I do - that taxes and government should be ever smaller and will praise nothing in between.
posted by b_thinky at 5:41 PM on April 20, 2006


b_thinky

Cite the part of the FISA law that makes it okay for the Prez-uh-dint to wiretap without a warrant. I've read it. It ain't in there.

Regarding the jobless rate vs. unemployment, we can cut through the BS by citing a single, undisputed statistic: The economy has lost 913,000 jobs since Bush took office.

I noticed you didn't even try to contest the loss of buying power for everyone but the rich.

Really, Rove isn't a very good teller of truths.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:43 PM on April 20, 2006


Well, now that b_thinky has been shown to be unthinking, let's get back to the real issue: There is absolutely no way Bush is our worst president. C'mon. Harding. W. H. Harrison.
Andrew Johnson. Franklen Pierce. And my vote: James Buchanan.
(Though the Campus Republicans put on a demonstration against Lincoln for President's Day a couple years back, saying Lincoln was the worst).
posted by klangklangston at 5:43 PM on April 20, 2006


Why was W. H. Harrison one of the worst presidents? Because he didn't know enough to wear a coat and hat and mittens during his inauguration speech?
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 5:45 PM on April 20, 2006


"They believe - as I do - that taxes and government should be ever smaller and will praise nothing in between."

Sorry, Grover, that's retarded. While the government will always be wasteful and sloppy in some areas, there's a) plenty of things they do damn well, b) plenty of things they do better than the private sector, c) plenty of things where the free market is simply a poor and distorting force upon (including government).
If you don't like government, get offa the internet.
posted by klangklangston at 5:45 PM on April 20, 2006


Re: Wm. Hen. Harrison-- Yeah, that's one reason. Though it's easy to argue that he might be our best president because of it.
posted by klangklangston at 5:47 PM on April 20, 2006


What, if not surveilling terrorists, is this secret NSA program for?

To me, the answer is obvious: Spying on political enemies. Face it - nothing is beying this administration ethically or morally. They've not allowed anything to get between them and their objectives in the past. Objectives like starting a war. A fucking war, my friend.


Dude, are you serious? If so, take a deep breath, count to ten. Try to get a job or a hobby. Also, You might find this link helpful.
posted by b_thinky at 5:47 PM on April 20, 2006


Give me one good reason to think Bush wouldn't spy on his political enemies if he had the ability, which he has.

People that favor torture would favor anything.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:51 PM on April 20, 2006


that taxes and government should be ever smaller

A lot of Bush supporters went along with the above, although it was obviously a one-outta-two deal (even if you take out military spending, the Federal government today is an unprecedented behemoth thanks to Bush, who's never met a spending bill he could veto).

That was when Iraq was going well, supposedly. Now, the budget is blown, and the tax cuts might as well have I.O.U.'s to China written in bright red ink at the top of every 1040.
posted by bardic at 5:52 PM on April 20, 2006


Hardy har, that's funny - cause if I'm crazy, I would have said something you disagreed with. I get it - that's why it's funny that you linked to mental health resources. Right?

Now that we've established that I'm crazy, perhaps you'd like to address Mental Whip's question:

Cite the part of FISA that allows the president to wiretap without a warrant.

If not FISA, which "law" is the president relying on when he wiretaps without a warrant? If inherent authority, do realise that this interpretation of "law" is the same way you justify an executive branch that has all the powers of government, i.e., a dictatorship.
posted by odinsdream at 5:52 PM on April 20, 2006


"Dude, are you serious? If so, take a deep breath, count to ten. Try to get a job or a hobby. Also, You might find this link helpful."

Right. Because we all know that no President before has ever used the FBI or security apparatus to illegally surveil American citizens based on their legal political actions.
posted by klangklangston at 5:52 PM on April 20, 2006


bardic: yup. Deficit spending, inflation ARE TAXES.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:53 PM on April 20, 2006


Cite the part of the FISA law that makes it okay for the Prez-uh-dint to wiretap without a warrant. I've read it. It ain't in there.

The Constitution, as well as FISA, authorizes the President to carry out electronic surveillance. The FISA court of appeals wrote in 2002 that if FISA tried to limit the President's Article II power to conduct warrantless surveillance, it would be unconstitutional to that extent.

The surveillance program is legal dude. The economy is great. Let's agree to dislike the war but overall things are pretty peachy in the USA (unless you're one of those folks who has an irrational hatred of GWB).
posted by b_thinky at 5:57 PM on April 20, 2006


(Though the Campus Republicans put on a demonstration against Lincoln for President's Day a couple years back, saying Lincoln was the worst).

Huh? The first and greatest Republican president was attacked by his own party? That's bizarre, even by College Republican standards.

b_thinky, I know it's a lot to ask, but try not to be so much of a dick. I realize that listening to Rush and reading Malkin all day makes you think anyone who disagrees with you is crazy, but realize that nearly 60% of the country sees you as having marginal views.
posted by bardic at 5:59 PM on April 20, 2006


B_thinky: When asked "Where does The Constitution/FISA say X?" the answer is not "The Constitution/FISA says X" without, y'know, pointing out where.

The surveillance program is illegal, dude. Let's agree that if you're called on something you don't continue the bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 5:59 PM on April 20, 2006


Actually, things are also not great if you're a soldier in Iraq, which is bad. But my whole point is there isn't really any justification to say GWB is the worst president ever, unless you just can't stand the fact that he's alive and it's given you a gigantic headache for 6 years.
posted by b_thinky at 6:00 PM on April 20, 2006


The Constitution, as well as FISA, authorizes the President to carry out electronic surveillance.

The Constitution authorizes the President to carry out electronic surveillance ?

Did those men at the Constitutional Convention also express opinions on what's legal and illegal concerning the Internet? Did they recommend highway speed limits for automobiles? Did they opine on file-sharing?

What are you talking about?
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 6:01 PM on April 20, 2006


"Huh? The first and greatest Republican president was attacked by his own party? That's bizarre, even by College Republican standards."

He went to war to prevent the South from seceding. That was enough for them. Of course, I've yet to meet a Republican that I respect on this campus who has joined the Campus Republicans. They're angry white fratboy washouts.
posted by klangklangston at 6:01 PM on April 20, 2006


B_Thinky, I believe what the Constitution really authorizes is for you to stop talking out of your ass. That's in Article III.
posted by klangklangston at 6:02 PM on April 20, 2006


If you can't refute the legality, just admit it or ignore it and pretend you didn't read it so you can keep pretending to be outraged. Or, maybe try some factual evidence to refute it. No need to make lame wisecracks.
posted by b_thinky at 6:05 PM on April 20, 2006


angry white fratboy washouts who never took an American history class, obviously.

I mean, protest FDR or JFK or something.
posted by bardic at 6:05 PM on April 20, 2006


No need to make lame wisecracks.

b_thinky, you just suggested that someone you disagree with needs mental therapy.

Wingnut, heal thyself.
posted by bardic at 6:06 PM on April 20, 2006


The Constitution, as well as FISA, authorizes the President to carry out electronic surveillance.

You really ought to stop. The constitution neither includes the word "surveillance" or "electronic" (hah, electronic in the constitution, good one!).

Are you going to even try to expand your knowledge in this subject area? If so, I linked to a place where you can examine rational arguments that address any question you possibly have about the NSA program. Are you going to try reading some of them? Pick just one and read it. Here, start with this argument against the administration's claim to "inherent authority."
posted by odinsdream at 6:06 PM on April 20, 2006


The Founding High-Tech Fathers, a Story by Alberto Gonzales
"It's wonderful that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has a lively imagination, and more wonderful still that he shared it with United States Senators.

Atty. Gen. Gonzales: '... President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.'

Perhaps he gets it from his fellows in the Bush Administration; if you can believe, in spite of evidence to the contrary, that WMDs were real, then it's a snap to believe that George Washington had a PDA.

Or maybe he's seen something we haven't -- deep in all the millions of files that the Bush White House has so vigorously re-classified over the last five years, there are startling, top-secret parchment revelations about earlier presidents, memos like these:
"To: Gen. Geo. Washington

'General: Transcripts of Lord Cornwallis' monitored cell phone calls last evening mention that His Lordship spoke more than once upon a "spotted dick pudding." Our code-breakers ween this to be some cloaked language of sinister portent, sir, and have set upon working to divine its meaning with all haste and diligence.'
'To: President A. Lincoln

'Mr. President: Enclosed herein are yesterday's logs of intercepts of Blackberry e-mail exchanges between Gen. Lee and Capt. Rhett Butler. Yr obdt servant ...'"
posted by ericb at 4:10 PM on April 20, 2006


How can people complain about the economy with the stock market at 6 year highs? Unemployment at all-time lows? Personal incomes up? Home ownership at an all-time high?

You know what else is at an all-time high? The deficit.
posted by delmoi at 4:10 PM on April 20, 2006


"In the Supreme Court's first wiretapping case, Olmstead v. United States, in 1928, it was Justice Louis Brandeis who wrote in his dissent, 'Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent ... the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal ...' [source]
posted by ericb at 4:12 PM on April 20, 2006


Not two hours ago my husband and I were sitting on the porch debating this very topic: Will George Bush become known as the worst President in the history of America? Asked to put an objective face on and think of one good thing he has done, I was completely stumped; it seems like everything he touches turns to shit. Husband Dave was remembering the great tax rebate however. Where he works, the people still marvel over that unexpected $250.00 that came in the mail. A little bit of ready money tucked into the pocket can buy you a lot of good will among people who can't imagine a $9 trillion deficit will affect them.

Aside from that, we came to the conclusion that history will be brutal to his memory.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:13 PM on April 20, 2006


odinsdream -- you're wasting your time linking to actual resources. We only link here as a means to snarky one-liners. Zing!

I'm still waiting to hear why a warrant would be undesirable/unavailable in this suggested hypothetical.
posted by dreamsign at 4:17 PM on April 20, 2006


How can people complain about the economy with the stock market at 6 year highs? Unemployment at all-time lows? Personal incomes up? Home ownership at an all-time high?

First you have to look at who is counted, and who is not.
The phrase "Cooked Books" comes to mind.
Remember, McDonalds = manufacturing jobs these days.
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 4:18 PM on April 20, 2006


odinsdream -- you're wasting your time linking to actual resources here. We only link as a means to support snarky ad hominems.

I'm still waiting for an explanation why a warrant would be unavailable/undesirable in this suggested hypothetical.
posted by dreamsign at 4:19 PM on April 20, 2006


Say a terrorist arrest in Pakistan nets a laptop or cell phone with the phone number of a terror suspect in the United States. Upon further investigation, the person in question is here on a green card and has some other shady connections worthy of investigating. You actually would not want our government to conduct surveillance on this person?

With all due respect, if you believe that argument has any relevance to the debate about illegal wiretapping you're a complete idiot. If you'd paid any attention at all you would know what the response was. I can only conclude that you haven't, and I'm not going to bother telling you what the standard response even is. I'm sure others in the thread will bring it up. And actually skimming the thread, it's obvious they have.

In fact, I have to wonder, what exactly did you hope to accomplish by posting that?
posted by delmoi at 4:19 PM on April 20, 2006


Say a terrorist arrest in Pakistan nets a laptop or cell phone with the phone number of a terror suspect in the United States. Upon further investigation, the person in question is here on a green card and has some other shady connections worthy of investigating. You actually would not want our government to conduct surveillance on this person?

With all due respect, if you believe that argument has any relevance to the debate about illegal wiretapping you're a complete idiot. If you'd paid any attention at all you would know what the response was. I can only conclude that you haven't, and I'm not going to bother telling you what the standard response even is. I'm sure others in the thread will bring it up. And actually skimming the thread, it's obvious they have.

In fact, I have to wonder, what exactly did you hope to accomplish by posting that?
posted by delmoi at 4:20 PM on April 20, 2006


You know what? I'm going to take a different tack on this: I'm going to say that, if the right person is elected into office the next time around, they have a golden opportunity to be viewed as the best. president. evar. by simply being personable, competent, and able to get people working together towards common goals.

Oh, wait: that would make 'em the best. president. evar.

(crosses fingers reeeeeally tight and hopes for the best)
posted by davejay at 4:20 PM on April 20, 2006


Um, testing...
posted by delmoi at 4:20 PM on April 20, 2006


You know what? I'm going to take a different tack on this: I'm going to say that, if the right person is elected into office the next time around, they have a golden opportunity to be viewed as the best. president. evar. by simply being personable, competent, and able to get people working together towards common goals.

Oh, wait: that would make 'em the best. president. evar.

(crosses fingers reeeeeally tight and hopes for the best)
posted by davejay at 4:20 PM on April 20, 2006


Trey, I just know you're going to pipe up with something like "No, not really. Carl Bernstein was a reporter who broke a story of White House corruption. He did this with the help of inside sources -- it was his job to track it down. He is no longer an impartial investigative reporter and is not really in a position to be calling for hearings per se."

(heh -- there's a timing issue on the site. I have fun, I do.)
posted by davejay at 4:24 PM on April 20, 2006


No tags?
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 4:26 PM on April 20, 2006


If you can't refute the legality, just admit it or ignore it and pretend you didn't read it so you can keep pretending to be outraged. Or, maybe try some factual evidence to refute it. No need to make lame wisecracks.
posted by b_thinky at 9:05 PM EST on April 20 [!]


I love it when someone advises others about something that doesn't apply to the others in the dialog, but to themselves. A sort of don't do as I do, do as I say dynamic. It's hilarious.
posted by juiceCake at 4:29 PM on April 20, 2006


The wording of the FISA law specifically states that it (FISA) is the *exclusive* means by which the justice department can surveil people on U.S. soil. Here is an explanation. The word exclusively is in the law. And therefore, any surveillance that doesn't comply with FISA is against the law. FISA is a provision which limits the president's powers in Article II.

Plus, you're really being a dick. Don't suggest that people get mental counselling. Find some links to back up your posititions. Note that my link is a law school faculty blog from one of the best law schools in the US. And note also that it's a very conservative law school. In fact, John Ashcroft went there as a law student. Stop being pissy and find some *evidence*. That's how it's done here.
posted by zpousman at 4:30 PM on April 20, 2006


I can't imagine I actually thought this discussion might be more about the article than the usual bickering. That said, I thought it was a fantastic analysis.

From the linked article:
No historian can responsibly predict the future with absolute certainty. There are too many imponderables still to come in the two and a half years left in Bush's presidency to know exactly how it will look in 2009, let alone in 2059. There have been presidents -- Harry Truman was one -- who have left office in seeming disgrace, only to rebound in the estimates of later scholars. But so far the facts are not shaping up propitiously for George W. Bush. He still does his best to deny it. Having waved away the lessons of history in the making of his decisions, the present-minded Bush doesn't seem to be concerned about his place in history. "History. We won't know," he told the journalist Bob Woodward in 2003. "We'll all be dead."
posted by kyleg at 4:30 PM on April 20, 2006


b_thinky, please read my evidence (hint: they actually quote the law) and then respond. Or find a law professor who agrees with you. Thanks!
posted by zpousman at 4:31 PM on April 20, 2006


The Constitution gives no wartime powers to the President except that he is Commander in Chief over the milita in addition to the regular armed forces. There are two problems with the notion that declarations of war give additional powers to the President.

The first is that the Constitution failed to explicitly give a dictatura (dictatorship in its pre-20th century sense, that is, unilateral control and not a pejorative about particular forms of autocracy) to the President in time of war; it instead means that the President is the final authority for the military. This does not allow anything special. The phrase "Commander in Chief" has been conflated to special powers that are outside the Constitution.

The second is that there is no declaration of war. The phrase "War on Terror" is rhetorical; there was no declaration of war on terrorism from Congress. There is no declaration of war in Afghanistan; there is a resolution that authorized the use of military force. There is no declaration of war in Iraq; it is another such authorization. In point of fact, Congress has not issued a declaration of war since 1942. If war generates special powers, then the last president to wield them was Harry S. Truman. The war argument goes against the case of Presidential apologists.
posted by graymouser at 4:33 PM on April 20, 2006


b_thinky, read it and weep: Uchicago Law School Faculty blog.
posted by zpousman at 4:34 PM on April 20, 2006


Another great article in this Rolling Stone:

The Pentagon's New Spies: The military has built a vast domestic-intelligence network to fight terrorism -- but it's using it to track students, grandmothers and others protesting the war
posted by homunculus at 4:34 PM on April 20, 2006


"Worst President Ever." "Worst President Ever." I like the way it sounds, and it is without a doubt true. However, I prefer a title that does a better job of characterising both Bush the Man and Bush the President.

How about this one- "George W. Bush, The Enron President"
posted by Afroblanco at 4:44 PM on April 20, 2006


Those arguing along the lines that "sure, Bush is bad, but [insert some president here] was worse", should read the article - the historians do actually address [insert some president here] compared to Bush, and make arguments as to which did better or worse in which areas and why. With the subject (and link) of this thread, when claiming that some other president was worse than Bush, you'd kind of expect to see some counter arguments to the reasons given by the historians why those presidents were not worse than Bush.
Otherwise, the assertion just seems kind of weak in the face of the historians reasons, and if you think they've mis-evaluated some things, I'm kind of interested to hear which things.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:45 PM on April 20, 2006


Actually, on second thought, I don't like that so much. After all, Enron never tortured anybody.

How about "George W. Bush, the Torture President?"
posted by Afroblanco at 4:47 PM on April 20, 2006


"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right." H. L. Mencken

"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been." Winston Churchill

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." H. L. Mencken

"In America, anybody may become president, and I suppose it's just one of the risks you take.” Adlai Stevenson

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." Galbraith's Law

“We get the government we deserve. When we improve, the government is also bound to improve.” Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
posted by blue_beetle at 4:48 PM on April 20, 2006


Bush may not be popular, but he's not poison like Nixon. Giuliani and McCain won't be hurt by supporting Bush. Hilary is a different story since her party is against the war she voted for simply to remain politically viable.
posted by b_thinky


Okay-- One. More. Time.

If you're going to refer to women in public life by their first names, then please do the same for the men. Conversely, if you refer to men by their last names, please extend this courtesy to women. So: Richard (or perhaps Dickie?), Rudy, John, and Hilary, or Nixon, Guiliani, McCain and Clinton.

Thank you. Now please continue.

And Bush is teh suxxors.
posted by jokeefe at 4:51 PM on April 20, 2006


"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other partyies is are unfit to rule - and both all commonly succeed, and are right." H. L. Mencken


Fixed that for him.
(It bugs me when people confuse democracy with a two-headed one-horse race).
posted by -harlequin- at 4:55 PM on April 20, 2006


jokeefe; could it have been less a sexist thing and more of a "wait, which clinton are you talking about" thing? Just maybe?
posted by odinsdream at 4:59 PM on April 20, 2006


The intelligent monkeys who rise from the furnace of our burning cities will esteem him as a vengeful god.
posted by Astro Zombie

i have nothing to say that could possibly top this, so i will choose instead to say nothing.

Other than it's about fucking time that the mainstream press started to enumerate the ways that this administration has failed us.
posted by quin at 4:59 PM on April 20, 2006


If you're going to refer to women in public life by their first names...

All hail the grammar police. "Hillary" is more specific than "Clinton," since both spouses are public and political figures*. But thanks for playing the hypersensitive gender card.

* Continuing the timestamp train wreck, you could date this 2009 and add "presidents."
posted by cribcage at 5:00 PM on April 20, 2006


b_thinky, where's the evidence that your head is not up your ass? huh? dude, WHERE IS IT? oh, maybe the evidence that your head is not up your ass got lost with the WMDs? or are the WMDs up your ass, too? is osama bin laden up your ass also? we already know bush is up your ass. damn, you must have a gigantic ass. if you don't have a gigantic ass, cite some statistics that prove otherwise. let's all agree that your head is up your ass along with the WMDs, osama bin laden, and bush (unless you're one of those folks who has an irrational liking of b_thinky's head-up-his-ass thinking).
posted by mijuta at 5:04 PM on April 20, 2006


If you're going to refer to women in public life by their first names...

All hail the grammar police. "Hillary" is more specific than "Clinton," since both spouses are public and political figures*. But thanks for playing the hypersensitive gender card.


"Senator Clinton" would have been even more specific, and wouldn't have fallen into this discourse, which is annoyingly typical in political discussions. Just to ask: when was the last time you saw somebody call Condaleeza Rice "Condi", while in the same breath referring to George Bush as Bush and Karl Rove as Rove, etc.?

It's hardly hypersensitive. It's a pervasive usage, and it's irritating. Keep an eye out for it, you'll catch it everywhere.
posted by jokeefe at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2006


^Wow. What a dick.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:15 PM on April 20, 2006


Damn you joekeefe! I mean mijuta!
posted by eyeballkid at 5:15 PM on April 20, 2006


If you're going to refer to women in public life by their first names, then please do the same for the men. Conversely, if you refer to men by their last names, please extend this courtesy to women. So: Richard (or perhaps Dickie?), Rudy, John, and Hilary, or Nixon, Guiliani, McCain and Clinton.

Um, you realize that there is another prominent politician named Clinton, right? People call Hillary Hillary because otherwise people would think you were talking about Bill Clinton. Other then Rudy, people would have no idea who you were talking about if you said "Richard, John and Rudy".

The purpose of language is to communicate. "Hillary" in a political discussian means Hillary Clinton. "Clinton" means bill Clinton, although if you've already mentioned hillary then it's obvious who you're talking about. "John" "Richard" "Bill" "Al" "Howard" "Russ" "Ted" "Tom" etc are meaningless without specific context.
posted by delmoi at 5:18 PM on April 20, 2006


Fixed that for him.

You 'fixed' HL Mencken? Blasphemer!

So, yeah, I was waiting for this article to make it out of the thread(s) it's been posted in, to the front page. It's a pretty good one; a nice laundry list of why George and his administration enablers should be taken out back into the alley and beaten with switches until the piss runs down their legs.

But then, that'd be torture, I guess, and even if America Loves Torture, I'm not so cool with it. I guess I'd settle for public disgrace and long prison terms.

Which are about as likely as the beatings, sadly.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:18 PM on April 20, 2006


jokeefe: you may have a point about Rice, but you're off the ball with Clinton. Also, people called Saddam by his first name, since there are so many Husseins in power in the Middle East. People usually called Carol Mosley-Braun by her last name. Same with Barbara Boxer, since Boxer is more specific then "Barbara"
posted by delmoi at 5:23 PM on April 20, 2006


Also people usually refer to Lindsay Graham by her last name.
posted by delmoi at 5:24 PM on April 20, 2006


^Wow. What a dick.
posted by eyeballkid


Did... Did I just get called a dick on Metafilter? Whoah. I feel like I should mark this day, somehow.

delmoi, that argument would work if it wasn't so common for every other female politician to so frequently be designated with their first names (such as, again, Condoleeza Rice). That's all I'll add, and then apologize for the derail.
posted by jokeefe at 5:28 PM on April 20, 2006


I didn't mean you jokeefe.

But I could mean you, if that's what you're into.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:29 PM on April 20, 2006


Also people usually refer to Lindsay Graham by her last name.

*chuckles*
posted by ericb at 5:33 PM on April 20, 2006


jokeefe is correct. I notice this all the time in literature as well, where people refer to "Blake and Shakespeare and Joyce" but turn around and reference "Virginia and Emily and Sylvia." It's annoying and inappropriate.
posted by bardic at 5:48 PM on April 20, 2006


I've never heard anybody refer to Emily Brontë as Emily, for what it's worth. Not that that has anything at all to do with this thread, of course.
posted by odinsdream at 5:58 PM on April 20, 2006


Also agree with jokeefe. And that b_thinky saying something is so does not make it so - links or evidence for your assertions, please. And, apparently, that I have nothing whatsoever original to add to this conversation. Um. Bye now.
posted by kyrademon at 5:59 PM on April 20, 2006


Yaaay! Now we have two derails to prevent us from discussing the link! Let's argue about the NSA and gender issues. Those topics are rarely discussed on Metafilter, and are always interesting.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:01 PM on April 20, 2006


(I was thinking of Dickinson, but the point remains.)
posted by bardic at 6:03 PM on April 20, 2006


"If you can't refute the legality, just admit it or ignore it and pretend you didn't read it so you can keep pretending to be outraged. Or, maybe try some factual evidence to refute it. No need to make lame wisecracks."

Provide evidence FOR its legality first, bitch. Stop relying on the tautology that because the President has done it it must be legal unless proven otherwise, as that way leads to fascism.
posted by klangklangston at 6:15 PM on April 20, 2006


american idiot.
posted by brandz at 6:24 PM on April 20, 2006


I've heard Sylvia Plath referenced as "Plath" quite often, but have never heard just "Sylvia". I've seen (and used) Woolf in writing but never in conversation because people might think I'm referencing Wolfe.

Since I'm commenting on a derail anyway, here are a few extemporaneous facts.

1. Both of my grandmothers were named Sylvia, and I find it odd that Sylvia is now a choice name for young Hispanic girls and less-and-less common among Eastern European bubbies.

2. My friend Dove Rock is a feminist rapper. Her label is Iron Vagina Records and her EP is titled "Sylvia Plath's Easy Bake Oven" which I find clever to no end.

3. I respect Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf far more than Hillary, even though I can't stand Woolf's prose and I kinda like Hillary's past proposals for health care.
posted by elr at 6:27 PM on April 20, 2006


...And Wolfe wrote for Rolling Stone.

what were we talking about again?
posted by elr at 6:28 PM on April 20, 2006


what were we talking about again?

Why it's legal for women to surveil their husbands without warrants.
posted by ericb at 6:32 PM on April 20, 2006


I am a historian. I respect Wilentz and agree with him on Bush. But when historians try to bring their authority to present day issues, they make asses of themselves. Nothing in our training or knowledge makes us any better political commentators than anyone else. Historians don't know how history will judge Bush, any more than anyone else does.
posted by LarryC at 6:42 PM on April 20, 2006


One thing that could improve his place in history would be assassination -- Lincoln was also a controversial President -- it took an assassination to make him a martyred hero. I sure hope that it does not happen! (*waves NSA*).
posted by stbalbach at 6:47 PM on April 20, 2006


Nothing in our training or knowledge makes us any better political commentators than anyone else. Historians don't know how history will judge Bush, any more than anyone else does.

I disagree, though I respect your gesture toward personal humility. Historians bring to contemporary politics something that only very few political pundits have: a knowledge of history, and a broad context. Compared to most people who "opine" on the subject -- to use one of Bush's favorite anti-intellectual terms of dismissal -- historians are in an excellent position to judge how a contemporary politician stands up in the long view.

As far as your implication that the historian who wrote this article made an "ass" of himself -- well, you'll have to produce evidence taken from the article itself before I believe it.
posted by digaman at 6:59 PM on April 20, 2006


LarryC, Wilentz makes that point himself early on. I take one of his larger argument to be that while someone like Truman planted seeds for a later recognition of skill, if not greatness, Bush hasn't by any known standard of judgement.
posted by bardic at 7:03 PM on April 20, 2006


How can people complain about the economy with the stock market at 6 year highs?

Um, in the time that W has been in office, the Dow Jones average has gone from 10,887 all the way up to 11,342. In the same time period of Clinton's administration, the Dow went from 3,310 to 9,141. So in the five years of the wonderful Bush economy, the main index of the stock market went up less then 5% but in the same time during the Clinton administration the index went up almost 200%. So forgive me if I'm not jumping for joy over the state of my retirement account.

The figures are from Yahoo finance.
posted by octothorpe at 7:35 PM on April 20, 2006


"Otherwise, the assertion just seems kind of weak in the face of the historians reasons, and if you think they've mis-evaluated some things, I'm kind of interested to hear which things."

The sheer fact of scale is what gets misrepresented. Bush feels big now because he's now. Johnson and Buchanan's crimes have grown pale in the long light of the sun. But Buchanan's either intentional or incompetant dickering led to the Civil War, which was a far far greater crime than anything Bush's done, and Johnson's open contempt for the union basically fucked the lives of blacks for several generations. Bush simply has a smaller canvas on which to operate.
posted by klangklangston at 7:47 PM on April 20, 2006


Feinstein, Boxer, Snowe, Moseley-Braun, Murray, Biggert, Albright, Norton . . . Yeah, I'm just not seeing the "nearly all female politicians are known by their first names" thing.

But not to derail: It's hard to imagine that any previous president was worse than Bush. But that's the difference between history and the present. There's no need to imagine the present. A historian is clearly qualified to comment on history, but no more qualified than anyone else to comment on the present, I think. Which is not to say that I don't agree with the RS article, just that I wouldn't agree with it any more or less if it was written by pretty much anyone else in the world.
posted by JekPorkins at 7:49 PM on April 20, 2006


Bush should still get something for that aircraft carrier stunt...I mean cummon,that was cool!
posted by furtive at 7:50 PM on April 20, 2006


My sense is that at the mid-20's, he'll go hard to his base, and try to push for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage out of sheer desperation, and sheer Nixonian outrage at a public that turned on him.

That would be intensely interesting. It would certainly hasten the splitting of the country.
Smedleyman is dead right. Listen to him. There is rot in your government far deeper than Bush. This is a great opportunity to thoroughly clean house. It's in your best interest to do so: the more deeply entrenched the corruption gets, the harder it is to dislodge it.

btw, congrats to b_thinky for goading a whole lotta people into explaining very clearly why Bush is, indeed, Worst President Ever (since Nixon).


And again, Smedleyman says it exactly.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:03 PM on April 20, 2006


Lamar!
posted by Kwantsar at 8:05 PM on April 20, 2006


How can people complain about the economy with the stock market at 6 year highs?

Well, the richest 10% aren't complaining. Halliburton isn't complaining. God knows the oil companies aren't complaining. . .
posted by spock at 8:15 PM on April 20, 2006


My sense is that at the mid-20's, he'll go hard to his base, and try to push for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage out of sheer desperation, and sheer Nixonian outrage at a public that turned on him.

Except he already tried and failed misurably. The prez dosn't actually have any authority in the constitutional process, it's all up to the house, senate, and states.

Plus, what incentive would republicans who didn't agree with the amendment have to support it?

Bush's own party has abandoned him to save his own skin. And furthermore, he has no reason to worry about any of this, because he's out of politics for good in 2008.
posted by delmoi at 8:35 PM on April 20, 2006


"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/011183.php#011183

Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe that was meant with absolutely no sarcasm. Bush support has truly jumped the shark.
posted by namespan at 8:52 PM on April 20, 2006


How can people complain about the economy with the stock market at 6 year highs?

...and record prices for tulip futures!
posted by pompomtom at 9:12 PM on April 20, 2006


jokeefe, I've met people with the surname Rice, I've never even heard of anyone else called Condoleezza. As names go, it's as specific as fuck.

In probably every English speaking country, if you said Condoleezza everyone would know who you meant, if you said Rice they'd have no idea. If you said Condoleezza Rice you'd have wasted breath on that last syllable.

Condoleezza.
Rice.

(Annoyingly enough, Condoleezza's bio comes up third in the search for Rice, but you'll still note that there are a lot of references to, you know, rice, but also other people with that surname, whereas a search for Condoleezza is just results about the woman herself.)
posted by The Monkey at 11:01 PM on April 20, 2006


Quite honestly, it is getting to the point where I'm starting to feel a little sorry for him.

And that is sad.
posted by spilon at 11:40 PM on April 20, 2006


Oh, please. I'm sure contemporary references to Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver were just *brimming* with chummy first names. Ever hear "Scooter" Libby just called "Scooter"? Barack Obama referred to as "Barack"? I'm sure it's all about name recognition. And I bet the press talks about what Karl Rove is wearing ALL THE TIME, just as they frequently do with Ms. Rice. Oh, but I just said Ms. Rice, so you probably don't know who I'm talking about.

Anyway.

As for on the topic stuff ... yes, I do think he's the worst president we've ever had. Worse than Ulysses S. Grant, worse than Nixon, worse the Reagan, etc. It's not that he's doing anything that's never been done before, but he sort of hits the perfect storm of malcompetence, as someone on this site once put it.
posted by kyrademon at 11:50 PM on April 20, 2006


How can people complain about the economy with the stock market at 6 year highs?



Unemployment at all-time lows?



Personal incomes up?



Home ownership at an all-time high?

Paying a mortgage != ownership. Affordability has been trending WAY down since 2000, largely thanks to the tax cuts and free money goosing of the economy 2001-2004.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:04 AM on April 21, 2006


How can people complain about the economy with the stock market at 6 year highs? Unemployment at all-time lows? Personal incomes up? Home ownership at an all-time high?

Well, FOX decided they had to blame Bush's 33% approval rating on "Gloomy Economic Views". Why don't you ask them?
posted by dhartung at 12:31 AM on April 21, 2006


> If you're going to refer to women in public life by their first names, then please do the same for the men. Conversely, if you refer to men by their last names, please extend this courtesy to women. So: Richard (or perhaps Dickie?), Rudy, John, and Hilary, or Nixon, Guiliani, McCain and Clinton.

Indeed.

> THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming. General Myers, Vice President and Condi and I had a long-ranging discussion with our key members of the defense team about a variety of subjects.
posted by dhartung at 12:40 AM on April 21, 2006


I really don't think our pal b_thinky is going to be returning to the thread.

He's already shat, wiped, and flushed.
posted by blasdelf at 1:07 AM on April 21, 2006


george w bush is the worst president ever for one very simple reason ... judging him by his OWN goals and his OWN beliefs, he has failed miserably

it isn't just that the conservatives believe that his goals are right that pisses me off ... (although that's reason enough) ... it's that they can't see that he is utterly failing to accomplish them

there is not one major policy issue or crisis that he hasn't screwed up royally when he attempted to deal with it

osama bin laden ... iraq ... katrina ... medicare prescription plans ... reducing government ... fiscal responsibility ... the myers fiasco ... diplomacy in general ... leadership and discipline of his party ... grand strategic planning for the 21st century ... turning america into a more "moral" nation ... improving our nation's education system

he's blown them all

the only thing he can say he pulled off is getting a couple of supreme court justices that he wanted

and i'm not even considering the stuff he hasn't tried to deal with but should have

he's not the worst president ever because of his politics, or his decisions or his corrupt and asinine associates ... although those reasons do count against him strongly ... he's the worst because of his utter incompetence

we couldn't say that about reagan or his father, who managed to at least follow through on some things and get them done

bush, plain and simple, is a loser
posted by pyramid termite at 1:47 AM on April 21, 2006


it took an assassination to make him a martyred hero. I sure hope that it does not happen! (*waves NSA*).
posted by stbalbach

Please, please, please do not let Bush be assassinated. The very last thing this world needs is for him to be martyred. Let all of his lies be discovered and let him live out the rest of his long and unpleasant life in prison. And as long as i'm asking for a Pony, please let the rest of his corrupt administration suffer the same fate.
posted by quin at 3:17 AM on April 21, 2006


I didn't mean you jokeefe.

But I could mean you, if that's what you're into.
posted by eyeballkid


Heh.

Cheers for making that clear.

And just another btw.... Henry Kissinger, when he was Secretary of State, got to be Dr. Kissinger; Condaleezza Rice never gets to be Dr. Rice, which one would think would be her appropriate title. Anyway.

I can't stand the woman, myself.
posted by jokeefe at 10:21 AM on April 21, 2006


Kissinger pretty quickly became his own charicature. Are there some good examples of women/first name and men/last name that don't involve a clear difference in distinctiveness? ("Rice" versus Condoleeza, or "Hillary" because our initial attachment to Clinton is Bill)

And yeah, she's repulsive in every way imaginable.

Back on topic, I remember hearing Bush say that he didn't care how history judged him, which I thought was about the most damning thing a person could say, that when the totality of facts are known, he doesn't care at all if he was in the wrong.
posted by dreamsign at 2:57 PM on April 21, 2006


I remember hearing Bush say that he didn't care how history judged him, which I thought was about the most damning thing a person could say, that when the totality of facts are known, he doesn't care at all if he was in the wrong.

See, not caring how history judges one and not caring if one is wrong are not really the same thing at all. I mean, when, exactly,will the totality of facts be known? Is the totality of facts about any period of history currently known?

And yeah, Rice should more respectfully be called "Dr. Rice," even though she's creepy. And Hillary should be called "Hillary, Esq." out of respect. Just kidding. "Senator Clinton" would be respectful and sufficiently differentiate her from Bill, but Hillary is the one who started calling herself "Hillary" with no maiden or last name when she ran for Senate -- it was her self-given brand name. She'll probably have to change the brand name if she seriously expects to run for president. Of course, the "President Clinton" brand name might be problematic for her.

Maybe she can change her name to "President Rodham." When she invades Iran, it will seem less like bizarro world if it's not President Clinton doing it.
posted by JekPorkins at 6:19 PM on April 21, 2006


The worst? I don't know, I didn't live through the rest. I do know that this one is, however, the number one hit to Miserable Failure.

(I really like the picture in the A9 search r)

Funny how Carter's getting up there too.
posted by IronLizard at 8:44 PM on April 21, 2006


John Dean: If Past Is Prologue, George Bush Is Becoming An Increasingly Dangerous President
posted by homunculus at 9:37 PM on April 21, 2006


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