NYT Editorial acknowledges HNN Bush poll





The nonprofit History News Network is reporting that in an informal survey of 109 historians, 98.2 percent considered President George W. Bush’s presidency to be a failure, while 1.8 percent called it a success.

On the question of whether he is the worst president in history, there was greater difference of opinion: 61 percent said he was, while others disagreed or are withholding their opinions. (The survey also made clear that James Buchanan has some work to do rehabilitating his whole catapulted-the-nation-into-Civil-War reputation.)

We take most unscientific surveys with a large grain of salt, and this certainly falls into that category. On the other hand, we like the idea of historians starting to think about the George W. Bush presidency, and how it fits into larger patterns of American history.

We’d be interested in knowing more about the 1.8 percent of historians who regard this presidency as a success.

Given the disastrous Iraq War, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, the economy hurtling toward recession, the huge budget deficits, the plummeting dollar — to name just a few problems — these historians sound a lot like the 20 percent of dentists who don’t recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum.


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Gary Ostrower - 4/16/2008

The Times editors want to know more about the 1.8% of historians who consider the present administration a success. I'd like to know more about the few(?) historians wise enough to withhold judgment about ranking a president still in office. I often think about Harry Truman's dismal poll numbers on the day he re-entered private life.

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