Okay. I realize this may be slightly premature and the historians will need a cooling off period before this prestigious and competitive award can be ceremoniously bestowed. But I've run an official poll in my head and I don't think any other president in history stands a fighting chance.
Using almost any method of accounting and nearly any criteria, this presidency will be infamous for ineptitude. Being egregiously shortsighted, completely lacking communication finesse, or blundering a few decisions, even somewhat important ones, could possibly be overlooked with the benefit of rose-colored glasses and several years of perspective and amnesia were it not for a series of world-altering disasters that each alone would move a presidency onto the losing side of the scoreboard. Three disasters seem to stand out in my mind as the worst of the worst.
Let's review these three in chronological order rather than magnitude because their respective impact and crushing long-term effects have yet to be fully realized.
First: dragging us into an illegal, unethical, and unwarranted war by misrepresenting the nature of the intelligence and willfully misinterpreting the threat of weapons of mass destruction, not to mention blatantly lying about the tie to terrorism and the acts of 9/11. Then, once there, grossly mismanaging the war.
Second: spectacularly botching the federal response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The administration's political cronyism, lack of public policy, and unmitigated incompetence was fully exposed while W himself cracked inappropriate jokes and praised "Brownie" in the wake of unfathomable destruction, tragic human suffering, and death.
Third: facilitating complete economic melt-down with trillions of dollars of new debt, continued weakening of the U.S. dollar, and a catastrophic mortgage and banking crisis fostered by corrupt and irresponsible deregulation policies.
Who could ask for more evidence that this administration will ultimately bottom out the list of bad? But there is more--much more. Here are a few other examples I can think of immediately:
- Ignoring warnings of terrorist threats before 9/11
- Suspending habeas corpus
- No Child Left Behind act
- Alienating American allies
- Steamrolling tax cuts that benefit the rich
- Allowing torture of prisoners
- Illegal wiretapping
This list could go on for pages, but I think my opinion is clear. I just hope we can survive it and we don't end up with more of the same.