"[James Buchanan] was the guy who in 1861 passed on the mess to the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln," Reeves writes from Paris. "Buchanan set the standard, a tough record to beat. But there are serious people who believe that George W. Bush will prove to do that, be worse than Buchanan. I have talked with three significant historians in the past few months who would not say it in public, but who are saying privately that Bush will be remembered as the worst of the presidents."
Fleshing out the speculation, Reeves draws on a poll of historians at History News Network. Unfortunately, that poll is nearly two years old, so the only real news is that it's getting easier to take a public swipe at Bush. While I'm happy to see that, I'll believe he's all washed up when he actually washes up. All this talk about what a drag Bush is on the Republican party is a lot of codology until it's actually put to the test. If (as everybody seems to expect) the GOP loses the House in 2006, and even if (as a few people seem to expect, and if it's even numerically possible) it loses the Senate in 2006, you're still not even looking at a loss, just a regression to the mean: So far, he's picked up seats in an off-year election, and picked up seats again in his re-election (which he won by much wider margin than he won/lost in 2000). If that's a loser, well then as the ever-youthful Tim Matheson | some other guy in Animal House | or maybe it was Matheson said, Let me tell you the story of another loser.
Back in aught-three, Jesse Walker considered the question of Bush's worst-ever ranking, concluding that there's still plenty of room at the bottom.