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George W. Bush: America’s Worst President Ever?

It cannot be stressed enough that George W. Bush’s time in office directly led to the unmooring of America’s post-Cold War political order. 

George W. Bush. Image Credit: White House.
Image of US President George W. Bush.

When I was in high school and college, President George W. Bush was considered someone to truly despise .

The Left insisted that the forty-third president led us into a tragic, deeply unpopular war. 

Democrats called for his impeachment. 

Bush’s vice-president, Dick Cheney, ran around telling confidants that he was convinced the intelligence community—specifically, the leadership at CIA—was running a “regime change operation at home” against Bush’s reelection during the 2004 Presidential Campaign (sort of like Donald Trump’s belief that the Faceless Men of the “Deep State” were out to get him at every turn).

What should we think of George W. Bush? Some say he was America’s worst president. Is that so? 

The 2000 Florida Recount

George W. Bush, like Donald Trump, was elected under a cloud of controversy entirely of the Democratic Party’s making. 

Unable to accept defeat, former Vice-President Al Gore, the Democratic Party’s nominee in the 2000 Election, decided to challenge the results of that year’s election in the key swing state of Florida. Refusing to end his challenge, Gore’s legal team, of which Ron Klain (Joe Biden’s future White House chief of staff) was a leader, wanted only to recount the four Democratic counties of Florida. 

The Florida Supreme Court, most of whose members at that time were put there by the former Democratic Party governor of Florida, Lawton Chiles in the 1990s, was happy to play along with the Gore legal team. That is until George W. Bush resisted and managed to have his case heard before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). 

Without that, Bush would have lost, and Gore would have been the president. Thanks to Bush refusing to kowtow to the Democrats, though, his presidency was marred by political controversy foisted upon it, partly, by the Democratic Party’s refusal to accept the results of the 2000 election.

Bush had campaigned as being against any more US military interventions abroad. He had taken Bill Clinton’s foreign policy to task for misusing the US military as a global police machine rather than as an institution focused solely on the defense of US national interests.

Bush promised to restore America’s economic potency in the wake of the dot-com bubble bursting by cutting taxes to stimulate growth on the supply-side. What’s more, Bush was an ardent culture warrior. In fact, many have observed that the Evangelism of George W. Bush was the antithesis to Bill Clinton’s playboy antics that had defined the 1990s. 

George W. Bush was a Disaster

Yet, by the end of George W. Bush’s eight years in the White House, he’d be leaving a country in much worse shape than when he had found it. The Global War on Terror, sparked by al Qaeda’s dastardly attacks on 9/11, precipitated Bush’s ultimate “war of choice” in Iraq that destroyed America’s credibility globally, weakened our military, and destabilized the Greater Middle East. 

Bush left office with a national economy in freefall with the onset of the Great Recession of 2008, too. As for the social situation, since 2009, the United States has been in the throes of the greatest Leftist cultural revolution since the turbulent 1960s. 

It cannot be stressed enough that George W. Bush’s time in office directly led to the unmooring of America’s post-Cold War political order. 

Indeed, without the unpopularity of George W. Bush’s presidency, Barack Obama would have never become president when he did. 

Thanks to the abject failures of George W. Bush, the controversies that dominated his entire presidency, all subsequent caustic events in America’s national politics can partly be laid at his feet. 

Obama was the most Left-wing president in our history (until Obama’s former vice-president, Joe Biden, became the forty-sixth president of the United States, that is). 

After Obama’s eight years, Americans elected Obama’s antithesis, the even more controversial Donald J. Trump. During those years, everyone lost their minds.

Without George W. Bush, There’d Have Been No Obama, Trump, or Biden

Today, America is made to endure the unbelievably awful leadership of President Joe Biden, who was only elected because he, too, was a stark contrast from his much-maligned predecessor. 

Had it not been for the caustic events of the 2000 Election, and the subsequent failures of the George W. Bush presidency, life as we know it would be fundamentally different in the United States. It might not have been better. 

But it might have been more predictable and stable than it has been.

As for the issue of Bush being so despised, as I noted above, well, it didn’t take long for the great villain of the Left to become one of their heroes. 

The man they had accused of being a war criminal from 2003-2008, by 2017 had become a paragon of virtue to the Democrats because of his antipathy to Donald Trump as president. 

George W. Bush, a skilled political operator (people forget he was a student of the great Republican operative Lee Atwater), cynically calculated that Trump’s rise meant for him a rare opportunity to distance himself from the more controversial aspects of his failed presidency.

Thus far, Bush’s rehabilitation tour has worked. From glowing interviews on the Jimmy Kimmel late night program to flowery reminisces of Liberal newscasters longing for the glory days of the flawed, but fundamentally decent, George W. Bush years in office, all the way to being given prominent billing during the inauguration of Joe Biden during the tumultuous days of January 2021. 

Bush has deftly swept his sordid record under the rug—for now. 

Make no mistake, though, without George W. Bush, there would have been no Barack Obama, no Donald Trump, or Joe Biden. It’s your call whether that’s a good or a bad thing. 

A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

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Written By

Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.