Worst Ever: A. Johnson, Buchanan, Harding, Pierce and G.W. Bush
Bush was ranked 5th worst of all time.
Now that alone is pretty bad... but frankly if I was surprised by anything it was that he managed to come in that high. So I decided to figure out why. It's just... sad.
The rankings were conducted based on 20 independent criteria... these were Bush's rankings in each (out of 43):
Now, there are 3 categories he did uncharacteristically well on relative to his general performance... and 2 he did somewhat better on. Let's take them in order.
Bush's Great Presidential Strength
Criteria # 7. Bush's top score out of all 20 criteria evaluated. He ranked 18th out of 43 on this one. It was....
I shit you not.
Now I'm not sure which to be more dumbfounded about... that this criteria was used at all, or that this ended up being Bush's strong point. How exactly is "luckiness" a defining quality of how good a president is at their job? Do people think if you're good you somehow create luck? And how in the world were the historians surveyed supposed to evaluate how "lucky" the presidents were anyway? "Well... the midwest wasn't struck by a rogue asteroid during Reagan's administration, gosh that's pretty lucky..."??? And that aside... BUSH... LUCKY? Lucky to what... get elected to a second term? What the hell else "lucky" happened to the guy? Lucky 9/11 happened on his watch? Lucky the WMDs weren't actually there? Lucky he never stumbled across Osama? Lucky the financial sector imploded before he managed to leave office? Lucky that hurricane hit New Orleans and gave him the opportunity to showcase his adminstration's mad emergency management skills? WHAT was he lucky about?
Ok... 18th isn't exactly saying he's history's luckiest president or anything, but still... you have got to be kidding me.
Bush's Other Great Strength
Criteria # 9. This one was right behind luck, Bush came in at 19th out of 43 on this one. And it was...
Willing To Take Risks
Oh for the love of...
Ok, let me explain something to the people making this poll. "Risk taking" CAN be a good thing. But it's just a little tiny bit dependent on some other factors. For example, you probably don't want to take STUPID risks. Being willing to take STUPID risks is bad, not good. So sure, give me a highly intelligent risk taker who knows when to roll the dice. Oh look! One of the criteria was "Intelligence"! Let's see, criteria #18, well let's just see how Bush sco... ugh...
FORTY SECOND. Out of 43 freaking presidents. Somehow Harding managed to beat him to the bottom of the list on this one.
Well ok... you say he's dumb as a brick but he's lucky! Remember? He'll just fluke into avoiding the rally big critical mistakes when he takes all these risks! So this will totally pay off! Wait... what? "Ability To Avoid Critical Errors" was a category too? Great! Criteria # 19... we'll just go look at how he scored there and....
THIRTY EIGHTH. Thirty eighth out of forty three presidents. This guy never met a crucial mistake he didn't want to get to know better.
Ok, so the mentally challenged guy who can't avoid making crucial mistakes is willing to take risks... who thinks this should be considered a strength?
Bush's 3rd and-4th Greatest Presidential Strengths
Criteria #2: Party Leadership: 23/43
Criteria #4: Relationship With Congress: 32/43
This just keeps getting worse.
Ok.. .so now we have the second least intelligent president in history who couldn;t avoid making a critical error to save his life but is totally willing to take risks... who has some moderate skill at convincing his party and the Congress to follow him over the cliff.
Wow. And these are his relative STRENGTHS. These pulled his average UP.
The only other criteria Bush scored out of the bottom 6 on... and that just barely, was criteria #1. Background (Education, experience, etc...). Lot of good that did us.
The bottom line is that I have difficulty imagining a more disastrous combination of factors then the ones we just saw listed here. If the nation had had an error prone moron who at least KNEW that and avoided taking risks it probably would have muddled through only mildly traumatized. Or if the country had an error prone moron who was clueless about that but who was also completely incompetent at persuading Congress to go along with his idiocy the damage might have been contained.
But no... the U.S. got Bush. The walking disaster idiot savant.