Eric Foner, a leftist historian writing in the Nation:
RARELY HAS A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION produced such widespread despair on the left. By any objective standard, George W. Bush has been among the worst Presidents in American history. One of the main purposes of elections in a democracy is to act as a check on those in power by confronting them with the possibility of being removed from office. If Bush can be re-elected after having alienated virtually the entire world, brought the country into war on false pretenses and mortgaged the nation's future to provide economic benefits to the rich, what incentive will other Presidents have to act more reasonably?
Foner manages to summarize the contempt the Left feels toward anyone outside their elitist cocoon, and simultaneously, with breathtaking arrogance, demonstrates his "intellectual" superiority by asserting that whatever he thinks is the "objective standard" by which all of us should think! Isn't that nice?
This is the sort of drivel that passes for intellectual discussion in his circles, I imagine. Just for fun, let's look at his 'objective standards" that prove GWB is among the worse Presidents in American History.
1. He's "alienated virtually the entire world"
First of all, this assertion has been shown repeatedly to be completely false. The coalition that participated in Iraq was composed of even more countries than participated in the 1st Gulf War (see HERE for the facts). What Foner actually means is that so-called "progressives" like himself, and some countries (such as France and Germany and many of the totalitarian regimes of the Middle East) are not happy with the U.S. decision to oust Saddam Hussein (Security Council Resolution 1441 notwithstanding). I can understand Mr. Foner's anguish. But my response--like it is to every one of my patients who don't want to face reality-- is to grow up. Sometimes you have to do the RIGHT thing, even if it isn't the POPULAR thing. George Bush has done much that is RIGHT, and goodness--he's even popular, too. I mean 51% of the citizens of the US voted for him, didn't they? And here is an article from Damascus that suggests that a majority in Syria of all places, would have voted for him, too! Just because you don't like him, Mr. Foner, doesn't mean the entire world doesn't like him. That's sort of grandiose, don't you think?
2. He "brought the country into war on false pretenses"
Come on. Give me a break. False pretenses? How many articles have shown this to be false? How many times does this ridiculous assertion need to be debunked before reason seeps into the Bush-Haters' brains? GWB looked at the same intelligence that the rest of the world looked at. The same intelligence that every senator and congressman looked at. That John Kerry and John Edwards looked at. That France, Germany, Britain and virtually any country that has an intelligence service looked at. They ALL came to the same conclusion. Saddam's WMD's were thought to be real; AND even Saddam encouraged this widely held belief. Accept it.
3. "Mortgaged the nation's future to provide economic benefits to the rich"
OK. This is the old "class warfare" argument that jerks like this guy has been promulgating from time immemorial. They're all for "fairness" unless you happen to be rich. Then its OK be be unfair. Like the tax system of this country, which penalizes the rich to the extent that the top 5% of wage earners (of $120,000 or over) pay 55% of the income taxes (see here). Geesh. What could be fairer? Practically anything. GWB has given some of that money back, to EVERYONE who paid it. People like John Kerry or THK, or Hollywood celebrities . are free to give the government more of their money if they want to (and, btw, I don't notice that they have put their money where their mouths are), but I for one, was delighted to get some money back from the government.
This historical genius goes on to say:
I suspect that the attacks of September 11 and the sense of being engaged in a worldwide "war on terror" contributed substantially to Bush's victory. Generally speaking, Americans have not changed Presidents in the midst of a war. The Bush campaign consistently and successfully appealed to fear, with continuous warnings of imminent and future attacks. Land of the free? Perhaps. Home of the brave? Not anymore. (emphasis mine)
Yes, yes...I see it now! September 11 was a trivial incident and this "sense" I have that we are engaged in a worldwide war on terror must be a delusion of mine! Part of a vast rightwing conspiracy to keep the population of the U.S. (and probably the world!) fearful and controlled! Now, why didn't I figure that out? Clearly this man represents the best and brightest of his field!
For the record, I happen to think that--with all his flaws--history will be extremely kind to George W. Bush; and may even rank him among the greatest of U.S. Presidents. Now, wouldn't that be a kicker!
My only question is this: what incentive does anyone have to listen to the pseudointellectual rantings of an historian who has let history pass him by?