History Heads-Up

June 10, 2008

Although Decider George reportedly majored in history at Yale, we all know what he did was party.

People who major in things like history, usually also like to read.
Decider George is not a book-kind-of-guy.
He’s more into strutting, and saying dumb-ass things like telling Scott McClellan they’d end up pals years from now, all buddy-buddy on the front-porch swing, reminiscing about the good, old White House days.
Or popping up with bits of historical folklore in vain-gloried attempts to find a nugget of good in all the shit he’s caused the last near-eight years — most of it bed-rocking on the theory the future will view him a lot better than we the living do right now.

Decider George longs for what Lindsey Graham blubbered a week or so ago: “”History is going to judge him a lot better than everybody thinks.”

We thinks that history is catching up.

As Decider George currently gimps around Europe, trying to be subdued, he’s on everybody’s shit list, but everybody’s cool about it — polite society civil and polite with an embarrassing, oaf.
This bit from an analysis last week by noted historian and author, Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford:

  • To say Europeans will welcome U.S. President George Bush on his farewell visit to Europe next week would invite a charge of verb-abuse.
    Welcome is hardly the word. But they will be glad to see the back of him. His two terms have been a bad time for relations between Europe and the United States.

    What we’re asking here is actually a deeper question: How much does the individual matter in history? Answer: A lot. If the winner of the 2000 presidential election had been Al Gore (i.e. the winner of the 2000 election), the story of transatlantic relations over the past few years could have been very different. The 9/11 attacks might have provoked a transatlantic crisis anyway, because America then felt itself to be at war while Europe didn’t. But so much of the subsequent bust-up had to do with Mr. Bush himself: his unilateralism, his obsession with Iraq, his cowboy style, his incompetence.

    — Timothy Garton Ash, theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews, (6/4/08)

Europeans hate Decider George.

  • Anti-American sentiment still runs high. More people in France, Germany and Britain view the United States as a “force for evil” than good in the world, according to a poll last month for The Daily Telegraph newspaper of London. Only Italians saw the United States differently: A majority said it was a “force for good.”
    usatoday.com/printedition/news, (6/6/08)

One does not wonder how all those Europeans came to see the US as a “force for evil.”

In yesterday’s Washington Post, an article about Decider George and history:

  • Unfortunately for the president, many historians have already reached a conclusion.
    In an informal survey of scholars this spring, just two out of 109 historians said Bush would be judged a success; a majority deemed him the “worst president ever.”
    “It’s all he has left,” said Millsaps College history professor Robert S. McElvaine, who conducted the survey for the History News Network of George Mason University.
    “When your approval ratings are down around 20 to 28 percent and the candidate of your own party is trying to hide from being seen with you, history is your only hope.”
    Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz, who wrote a widely cited Rolling Stone essay about Bush in 2006 titled “The Worst President in History?,” said last week that the president’s historical arguments can be effective because they are difficult to disprove.
    “By just saying, ‘In the long run this is going to look great,’ it makes it very hard to respond to,” he said.

    — Dan Eggen, washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article, (6/9/08)

McElvaine, mentioned in the above story, also conducted a similar survey four years ago with about the same results.
First published May 17, 2004, under the title, “Historians vs George W. Bush,” the poll revealed history will not look too favorable upon Decider George.

  • Although his approval ratings have slipped somewhat in recent weeks, President George W. Bush still enjoys the overall support of nearly half of the American people. He does not, however, fare nearly so well among professional historians.
    A recent informal, unscientific survey of historians conducted at my suggestion by George Mason University’s History News Network found that eight in ten historians responding rate the current presidency an overall failure.
    Of 415 historians who expressed a view of President Bush’s administration to this point as a success or failure, 338 classified it as a failure and 77 as a success. (Moreover, it seems likely that at least eight of those who said it is a success were being sarcastic, since seven said Bush’s presidency is only the best since Clinton’s and one named Millard Fillmore.) Twelve percent of all the historians who responded rate the current presidency the worst in all of American history, not too far behind the 19 percent who see it at this point as an overall success.

    Several charges against the Bush administration arose repeatedly in the comments of historians who responded to the survey. Among them were: the doctrine of pre-emptive war, crony capitalism/being “completely in bed with certain corporate interests,” bankruptcy/fiscal irresponsibility, military adventurism, trampling of civil liberties, and anti-environmental policies.

    hnn.us/articles, 12/5/05

And a comment example from those historians in McElvaine’s ’04 survey: “Although previous presidents have led the nation into ill-advised wars, no predecessor managed to turn America into an unprovoked aggressor. No predecessor so thoroughly managed to confirm the impressions of those who already hated America. No predecessor so effectively convinced such a wide range of world opinion that America is an imperialist threat to world peace. I don ‘t think that you can do much worse than that.”

And this in The Washington Times under the headline, “Bush Hit On Alert System:

  • Key lawmakers in the House and Senate say the Bush administration has failed to upgrade the nation’s emergency-alert system despite a two-year-old presidential order and a pledge by federal officials to have a new system working when hurricane season began last week.
    “Far too many people are dying in disasters that could have been avoided with an effective warning system,” said Rep. Sam Graves, Missouri Republican and ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on economic development, public buildings and emergency management.
    “In the first five months of this year alone, over 100 people were killed by tornados in the South, the Midwest, and my home state of Missouri,” Mr. Graves said. “This is simply unacceptable.”
    An investigation by The Washington Times reported in February that nearly two years after Mr. Bush ordered a sweeping technological overhaul of the country’s early alerts for natural disasters and terrorist attacks, the new system had not been implemented as several federal agencies wrestled with technicalities such as “Common Alerting Protocols.”

    Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Democrat, who presided over the subcommittee hearing, told The Washington Times on Friday she was not satisfied with progress on the executive order.
    “I heard nothing to indicate they have developed a system that will perform better than a whistle,” Mrs. Norton said.

    — Audrey Hudson, washingtontimes.com/news/, (6/8/08)

And Decider George on hisself and history as given to writer Robert Draper for the upcoming book, Dead Certain, parts of which were published last fall: “I made a decision to lead. One, it makes you unpopular; two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?”

Heads up history — No!

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