When this week's (April 17) Maclean's landed in my mailbox, I took one look at it and wondered if The Nation had switched to glossy paper. That's because the cover, which shows a confident looking George W. Bush, asks "The Worst President in 100 Years?"
Inside, a six-page essay (including photos) in which Steve Maich rips the preznit on every from his catastrophic foreign policy blunders to his fiscal mismanagement.
Maich doesn't even get into the environment or health issues and scarcely mentions the humanitarian and political disaster that was Hurricane Katrina. It would take a whole year's worth of Maclean's to do that.
Still, Maich manages much in the space allowed.
In 2004, George Mason University polled 415 presidential historians and found 80 per cent considered Bush's first term a failure. More than half considered it the worst presidency since the Great Depression. More than a third called it the worst in 100 years. Eleven per cent said it was the worst ever. Robert McElvaine, a professor of history at Millsaps College in Mississippi, says scores would likely be worse if the poll were repeated today. "When I filled out that survey I said Bush was the worst since Buchanan [1857-61], but things have gotten worse and now I'd have to consider him the worst ever," McElvaine says. "If you look at the situation he inherited, and the situation following 9/11, he had great opportunities and he basically squandered them.
Maclean's website also asks readers to vote on whether Bush sucketh more than any other president in a century and, last time I looked, the score was 76% to 24% against the Shrub.
Here's the thing: Conrad, Lord of Blackness, has taken umbrage at this altogether inadequate historical scholarship. Which is why his former protege, Maclean's editor/publisher Kenneth Whyte, will be sacrificing many trees so that Black can hold forth in next week's Maclean's on how there have been far worse U.S. presidents in the past. (Recall that Black recently authored a biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a copy of which has been shredded to line my nuclear bomb shelter.) Readers will no doubt be subjected to a torporific treatise on Taft's inability to grasp the intricacies of the job.
Maich will respond to the response. And Black will likely respond to the response to the response. Which should drive a lot of traffic to the Maclean's website.
Sayyyyy, do ya think they planned this?