Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Regular readers will know that Macro Man tends to avoid political discussions like the plague, given his generally low opinion of most of the individuals who choose politics as a profession. But there's one issue that's been gnawing at his mind recently, and given that he's travelling today now is as good a time as any to throw it open for consideration.
The clue is, of course, in the title of the post. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal ranked all the US presidents save W.H. Harrison and James Garfield, both of who died early in their terms. At that juncture, G.W. Bush was the very personification of mediocrity; of the 40 presidents ranked, GWB was #19 (two spots above his old man, funnily enough.)
Since that point, of course, we've had Hurricane Katrina and the abject mismanagement of its aftermath, no end in sight to the military effort in Iraq, the Republican loss of the House of Representatives, the housing bubble, its subsequent implosion, the financial market crisis resulting from that, and the recession that is apparently resulting from the crisis and the aftermath of the bubble.
All in all, it doesn't make pretty reading. There's not many presidents that can claim to have started their term with the economy in recession and a financial bubble bursting, and ended their term with the economy in a different recession in the aftermath of a different bubble bursting. Ay caramba!
Now, asking where Mr. Bush ranks is an invitation for people of a certain persuasion to let forth a cannonade of vitriol. Macro Man would ask readers to refrain from doing so, particularly those who have no real idea how Mr. Bush ranks in relation to, say, Millard Fillmore.
The temptation is of course to relegate GWB to the bottom of the pile...but was he really as bad as Warren Harding? Richard Nixon, for that matter? Herbert Hoover? Macro Man would be curious to hear from those with an informed view; how much has the current president slipped since 2005, and where will he go down in history?
(Bonus for those who proffer informed views on the legacies of Messrs. Blair and Chirac as well....)