Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't let the shoe hit you on the way out

Poll: Bush worse than Nixon

Hat Tip - Dan Cook



  • Worse than Nixon, eh? Wow, newsflash! ;)

    The only people stuck in defending Bush are overt partisans who have nothing to say besides outrage and exasperation. It's a little like Jack Layton supporters - by now, it's just getting sad.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 8:54 AM  

  • And yes, I'm very impressed with his work in Africa - it's something to be very proud of. However, it doesn't compensate for his dismal failures.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 8:59 AM  

  • I don't know...I really loathe Bush and everything he stands for, but having just finished Nixonland, I'm not sure I'd say that Bush is worse than Nixon. Both are horrible, but Nixon was pure evil, and was motivated in everything he did by hatred and malice. Bush has a lot of Nixonian advisors (and quite a few of them show up in Nixonland), but I don't think he has the intellectual depth to match Nixon. Then again, getting the US embroiled in two unwinnable wars, abolishing the Geneva Convention and ruining the modern banking system are, uh, achievements that of which Nixon could only's pretty close.

    By Anonymous matthew, at 12:05 PM  

  • Interesting Matthew... I'm of the opinion that Nixon did bad things (but let's face it, what President hasn't at least attempted to break into his opponent's offices and look at shit - seriously) but that his intelligence made some overall good decisions. Bush is probably a nicer person than Nixon, but his lack of curiosity and intellectual laziness made him the worse President, in my views. But that's just me. I don't know Nixonland... but I love the title!

    By Anonymous jbg, at 1:39 PM  

  • I'm waiting for the rankings of the incoming president which I think will be the lowest in history. Neither Bush's nor Nixon was my choice for president but I really dread what is about to take office.

    My greatest memory of Nixon was the end of the Vietnam war which to my understanding was not a bad thing and then of course there was that visit to China which again was not a bad thing. I think Nixon was one of those people who induced an irrational hatred amongst those who disagreed with him which included the vast majority of the press.

    I understand their loathing because I have similar feelings toward JFK and Hill Billy Clinton.

    By Anonymous Joe, at 5:44 PM  

  • Yeah. Nixon probably has a better record than Bush, but he was a far worse individual.

    I guess it depends what you're basing the rankings on.

    I personally blame Nixon for the annoying habit the media has of suffixing "gate" on every scandal, so I'd rank him below Bush on that alone.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 8:11 PM  

  • "Yeah. Nixon probably has a better record than Bush, but he was a far worse individual."

    Why should our sense of how "good a person" matter at all?

    Anyhow, Nixon's record isn't just "better than Bush's", but rather I would argue Nixon is the most important postwar president.

    -Got the US out of Vietnam through Vietnamization.

    -Opened up China, bringing a billion people today into the developing world.

    -Used the opening up of China as leverage to normalize relations with the USSR, setting the stage for a Gorbachev to emerge (yes the Cold War got hotter and cooler, but detente lowered the stakes critically and gave reformers their opening).

    -Ended the disastrous busing experiment.

    -Ended the draft, and set America on its present course as a high-tech low-manpower (relative to before and to other countries) military, rather than a mass army.

    -Created the EPA, and launched the first (largely successful) wave of environmental reforms, aimed at cleaning up water and reducing more overt pollution.

    -Reformed the worst excesses of 1960's-style welfare by implementing something like a negative income tax, whereby people would not lose all their benefits by returning to the workforce.

    -Would have introduced Universal Healthcare, but lost all of his political capital because of Watergate.

    -Definitively ended the Gold Standard/Bretton Woods system and moved the US to a fully floating currency, thus increasing domestic monetary flexibility. In the wake of Bretton Woods' end, the G7 was formed by Gerald Ford.

    -Used smart nuclear diplomacy to prevent the Russians from intervening in the Yom Kippur war (they threatened to after Israel failed to abide by a ceasefire). This dislodged Egypt from the Soviet sphere, and enabled the US to pacify Egypt - ending Egypt as a conventional military threat to Israel (thus creating a situation where mid-east peace might well be possible).

    Nixon's accomplishments are arguably greater than any postwar president, but his lack of charisma, combined with Watergate have pushed historians to pass over him. I believe he will get the respect he deserves once the baby boomers start to retire, and we get objective historians into the field.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 3:10 AM  

  • Well, I think Watergate and its coverup are the real problems with Nixon... it's hard to overlook things like that. But I do agree he's got a strong record of accomplishments -- although I must say, many of these are new to me, very interesting H2H.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 4:45 PM  

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