Worst President Ever?
This is a snappy new sticker that has been making the rounds lately. It raises a question that I have struggled with for a while. Is Dubya really the worst president ever?
It certainly seems so today, but it is hard to keep a clear historical perspective on things. Nixon killed a lot more people, untold millions in Vietnam and Cambodia. Reagan gave us the Contra War, Salvadoran death squads, and Guatemalan genocide. Even Kennedy brought us to the brink of global nuclear war in a fit of macho posturing.
I in no way want to minimize the horror of what Dubya has done and still less what he may have set in motion or yet stir up. But in terms of the pure physical damage and mass murder he is in no way the worst, at least so far. In terms of eroding basic human rights, however, he is no doubt a contender for the worst ever, though Andrew Jackson, who made bridles out of Indian skin for his horses, could give him a good run for his money.
I think the best case for Dubya as the worst president ever is in terms of the waves of destruction he has set in motion on virtually every front: from exacerbating the crisis in the Middle East beyond the point of no return to policies designed to accelerate global climate change to the rehabilitation of torture and disappearance as instruments of national policy to the accelerated dismantling of civil liberties in the US to attacks on science and education to the promotion of theocracy.
None of these converging vectors has reached full potential yet, but the wave is looming on the horizon.