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Foner Tags W as Worst President Ever

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Via Atrios this morning I learned that Eric Foner, probably one of the rock stars of the historical profession, has ranked W as the worst president ever:

One other president bears comparison to Bush: James K. Polk. Some historians admire him, in part because he made their job easier by keeping a detailed diary during his administration, which spanned the years of the Mexican-American War. But Polk should be remembered primarily for launching that unprovoked attack on Mexico and seizing one-third of its territory for the United States.

Lincoln, then a member of Congress from Illinois, condemned Polk for misleading Congress and the public about the cause of the war -- an alleged Mexican incursion into the United States. Accepting the president's right to attack another country "whenever he shall deem it necessary," Lincoln observed, would make it impossible to "fix any limit" to his power to make war. Today, one wishes that the country had heeded Lincoln's warning.

Historians are loath to predict the future. It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.

This is big. Very big. Foner's one of the most prominent political historians these days.

Furthermore, I agree with all of his statements. I just always think it's a good idea to allow a little time to pass and historians to begin to sift through the records before we proclaim someone the "worst ever."

If you recall, I've already put W in the "bottom five" and there's a pretty good chance that he will be rated as the worst eventually but we have had a lot of turkeys in the Oval Office in our history.

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