I mean, as long as you're slurping around down there, you might as well get a taste of everything in the area.

The American lady who called to see if I would appear on her radio programme was specific. "We're setting up a debate," she said sweetly, "and we want to know from your perspective as a historian whether George W Bush was the worst president of the 20th century, or might he be the worst president in American history?"

"I think he's a good president," I told her, which seemed to dumbfound her, and wreck my chances of appearing on her show.
Setting aside the stupidity of the question--Bush wasn't a 20th century president, and though he's certainly in the running for the all-time gold, he wasn't so bad that he was able to shift time--and also setting aside the question of whether his 8 years are worse than the 19 days Clinton spent as the first 21st century president (they were), the interesting thing about that column isn't the fact that Andrew Roberts defends the Bush record. The interesting is the extremes to which he goes to do so, defying not just reality, but the fabric of space-time itself in order to do so. Seriously, Roberts' article in defense of the Bush record is such bullshit (in the Harry Frankfurt sense of the word) that it borders on performance art.

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog touched on one particular point that I want to address as well.
But here's my favorite line:

With his characteristic openness and at times almost self-defeating honesty, Mr Bush has been the first to acknowledge his mistakes -- for example, tardiness over Hurricane Katrina....

The first? THE FIRST??? Wait, has he ever made such an acknowledgment of that particular error? Or about practically anything?
Bush's most recent discussion of Katrina involved his acknowledgment of this error--failing to land Air Force One at Baton Rouge--and then defending the choice by saying that it would have pulled law enforcement from the area, which is true. However, in the same breath, he defended the response by saying that 30,000 people were pulled off roofs, so the response wasn't that bad--he got absolutely petulant on that point. He neglected to mention that most of those people were pulled off those roofs--as they always are--by local law enforcement, volunteers, and Guardsmen. That's not a federal response. And the public record is full of examples of federal forces and aid that could have swung into action immediately but didn't because they were waiting for orders from the federal government. And the person most responsible for the failed response kept his job--Michael Chertoff of Homeland Security.

The rest of it is pretty much the same, though this bit also deserves special mention for fellating beyond the call of duty.
Mr Bush's supposed lack of intellect will be seen to be a myth once the papers in his Presidential Library in the Southern Methodist University in Dallas are available.
Make sure you spend some extra time on the taint. It gets neglected.

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