Opinion surveys are useless in this regard, as they usually result in nothing more then a popularity contest. (To quote one anonymous wag, opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink).
Various Scholarly Surveys from 1948 to 2005 produced a ranking of 22 out of 42 for George W Bush. By contrast, Bill Clinton was ranked 21 and George H W Bush was ranked 25.
In polls for Quinnipiac University (2006) and Washington College (2005), GWB ranked 7-8, Bill Clinton 4-5. (Reagan rated a 2).
Okay, so what about George Bush. Are the Bush Bashers™ so blinded by hatred for the President that they refuse to see how great he is? In the words of the Conservative Blog Powerline, is he:
- ...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.
- Like Harding, Bush is intellectually unqualified to be President, with an inability to string two coherent sentences together coupled with the manners and mannerisms of an immature teenager.
- Like Hoover, Bush has a mule headed stubborn attitude that prevents him from admitting he made a mistake, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. With Hoover it was his policy's for dealing with the depression. With Bush it's his policy toward Iraq. And Bush has no superior management or business skills that Hoover used in devising a plan for the recovery of post WWII Europe.
- Like Lyndon Johnson, Bush made a series of insane foreign policy decisions that have landed the US right in the middle of a sectarian civil war (even a few Republicans have been courageous enough to use the V word when talking about Iraq). And unlike Johnson, Bush has no impressive record of Civil Rights legislation to balance his failure of foreign policy.
- Like Nixon, Bush has most likely bent or broken the law, specifically the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and War Crimes Act of 1996 (I say most likely because for the last 6 years the Republican Congress has done a Three Wise Monkeys act). The on going trial of Lewis Libby shows a mania for secrecy and an obsession with destroying critics of the Administration that makes Nixon's Enemies List look like a letter to the editor of the hometown paper. And once again Bush has no great Foreign Policy achievements to balance these criminal acts (Nixon going to China).
The above mentioned comparisons present a strong case for poor performance as a President when it comes to what is best for the majority of American Citizens. You can dance an spin all you want, but to deny that the Presidents policy's have lowered the standard of living for the average Joe or Josephine and endangered the future for their children is idiotic.
But if you base Presidential rankings in terms of increasing and expanding the authority of the Executive branch, Bush ranks right up with FDR. The fear that spread after 9/11 attacks allowed the President to stage an unprecedented power grab, using the "signing statement"to claim the authority disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office; asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Crap of course, but so far no one has yet to challenge this "interpretation of the Constitution" BS, least of all the Republican do nothing Congress (Bush fears the Dem's may try).
Worse President ever? Hell yes.