The Right Coast

May 26, 2005
History Professors on George W. Bush
By Mike Rappaport

A history professor/blogger reports on the views of his colleagues concerning our current president. They don't like him. What a surprise. More than 80 percent regard his presidency as a failure.

One would think that historians would understand that a judgment of this kind requires us to wait many years. After all, certainly it is possible that George Bush has helped to launch a movement towards democracy throughout the world that would render his presidency a success. Apparently, these "experts" don't need the knowledge that time would provide.

One pro-Bush historian nailed it: “I suspect that this poll will tell us nothing about President Bush’s performance vis-à-vis his peer group, but may confirm what we already know about the current crop of history professors.” Even the blogger acknowledges that "The liberal-left proclivities of much of the academic world are well documented, and some observers will dismiss the findings as the mere rantings of a disaffected professoriate. 'If historians were the only voters,' another pro-Bush historian noted, 'Mr. Gore would have carried 50 states.'"

To give you a flavor of the attitude toward Bush, here are the views of the blogger:

My assessment is that George W. Bush’s record on running up debt to burden our children is the worst since Ronald Reagan; his record on government surveillance of citizens is the worst since Richard Nixon; his record on foreign-military policy has gotten us into the worst foreign mess we’ve been in since Lyndon Johnson sank us into Vietnam; his economic record is the worst since Herbert Hoover; his record of tax favoritism for the rich is the worst since Calvin Coolidge; his record of trampling on civil liberties is the worst since Woodrow Wilson. How far back in our history would we need to go to find a presidency as disastrous for this country as that of George W. Bush has been thus far? My own vote went to the administration of James Buchanan, who warmed the president’s chair while the union disintegrated in 1860-61.
These could be talking points for Barbara Boxer. Yet, this historian tries to put it forward as the results of expertise. Sad. Very sad. No worse -- pathetic.

Update: This post is discussed over at the Madison Principles Blog, see here and here.