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Bad Presidents pp 199-209 | Cite as

The Latest Bad President?: George W. Bush

  • Philip Abbott
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)

Abstract

One of the standards for a plausible classification is the capacity to add new entries. Presidential rankings of George W. Bush by historians and political scientists have moved steadily downward, from nineteenth in a 2005 poll to thirty-sixth in 2009. In another poll in 2008, 61 percent of respondents placed him last; in a 2010 poll he was ranked at thirty-ninth.1 Since volatility among lower ranked presidents is relatively low, it is likely that these assessments will place Bush among the “irredeemables” identified by Jean H. Baker that we discussed earlier. Even taking into consideration the closeness to the present, these presidential rankings can provide an initial basis for the comparative evaluation of Bush. Does Bush share common features with some or all of these very bad presidents (as many respondents have suggested) or is his badness different? Or are other interpretations possible that link Bush more closely with other presidents, even “good” or “great” ones?

Keywords

Voter Turnout Bush Administration Executive Branch Executive Power American Political Science Association 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Robert S. McElvaine, “Historians vs. George W. Bush,” HNN, April 1, 2008, pp. 1–14.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See, Irving Ribner, “Bolingbroke, a True Machiavellian,” Modern Language Quarterly 9 (June 1948): 177–84, who compares Bolingbroke’s actions to those recommended by Machiavelli in The Prince and also Bruce Stirling, “Bolingbroke’s Decision,” Shakespeare Quarterly 2 (January 1951): 27–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 5.
    For early generally positive assessments by political scientists, see, Gary L. Gregg and Mark J. Rozell, eds., Considering the Bush Presidency (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2004);Google Scholar
  4. Colin Campbell and Bert Rockman, eds., The George W. Bush Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects (Washington, DC: Congressional Studies Quarterly, 2004).Google Scholar
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    James Moore and Wayne Slater, Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2003);Google Scholar
  6. Robert Draper, Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush (New York: Free Press, 2007);Google Scholar
  7. Shirley Ann Warshaw, The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2009).Google Scholar
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    James P. Pfiffner, “The First MBA President: George W. Bush as Public Administrator,” Public Administration Review 67 (2007): 6–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Richard T. Syles, “President Bush and Hurricane Katrina: A Presidential Leadership Study,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 604 (March 2006): 27.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Douglas Brinkley, The Great Deluge (New York: Harpercollins, 2006), pp. 542–44.Google Scholar
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    Alan Wolfe, Does Democracy Still Work? (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), p. 74.Google Scholar
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    Gary C. Jacobson, A Divider, Not a Uniter (New York: Pearson Longman, 2007), p. 1.Google Scholar
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    Both supporters and critics of the unitary executive acknowledge historical precedent while highlighting Bush’s contribution. See, for example, John Yoo, Crisis and Command (New York: Kaplan, 2010); Ryan J. Bailleaux and Christopher S. Kelly, The Unitary Executive and the Modern Presidency (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2010);Google Scholar
  14. Michael Genovese and Lori Cox, eds., The Presidency and the Challenge of American Democracy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    George Edwards III, Governing by Campaigning: The Politics of the Bush Presidency (New York: Pearson Longman, 2007).Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    Stephen Skowronek, Presidential Leadership in Political Time (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2008), p. 162.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Gary Wills, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State (New York: Penguin, 2010).Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), pp. 116, 44.Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    Ellen B. Smith, The Presidency of James Buchanan (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1975), pp. 192–98.Google Scholar
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    Bruce Miroff, “The Presidency and the Public: Leadership as Spectacle,” in Michael Nelson, ed., The Presidency and the Political System (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2006), p. 282.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip Abbott 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Abbott

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