Sean Hannity went out on a long, long limb yesterday on Neil Cavuto's Fox News show -- once again promoting his blueprint for Conservative Victory -- and made a bold prediction:
Hannity: You put all of this in toto, in its entirety, and we are looking at -- not only the socialization, the Europe-ization of -- the Western European socialist model coming to America, we're looking at a -- the end of capitalism in America as we know it.
I want to add a point. He is -- by far, I predict, Neil -- and I say this with all sincerity and passion that I can muster up -- he will go down in American history as the worst president we have ever had.
And I'm talking about national security, and I'm talking about economic issues.
Gee, he's been in office a little over year now and he's already making this prediction?
And won't Obama have a heck of a time doing a worse job than his predecessor, George W. Bush?
After all, as Sean Wilentz predicted in Rolling Stone in 2006:
George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.
The right-wingers dismissed that because it was Wilentz, a noted liberal. But sure enough, a survey of 80 historians for C-SPAN three years later found:
President George W. Bush is near the bottom of the heap in the latest survey of historians on presidential leadership. Bush received an overall ranking of 36 out of 42 former presidents—in the bottom 10.
Actually, we'd say that there's little doubt he was indeed the worst president in history just on the two counts that Hannity stipulates, namely, national security and the economy:
-- The worst attack ever recorded on American soil occurred on his watch, while he was in fact asleep at the wheel.
-- His subsequent policies, particularly the decision to invade Iraq, made the nation quantifiably less safe for the foreseeable future (see the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate for more on this).
-- Bush and his policies nearly destroyed not just the American economy but drove the entire global economy to the brink of complete meltdown.
Projection. It's not just for theaters anymore.
The swirling global economic crisis produced by Republican rule is only the most prominent debacle produced by eight years of conservative philosophy being put into action. Conservatives never met a deregulation scheme they didn't like -- and it was that very mania for breaking down well-established institutional barriers, particularly in the financial sector, that led to the housing bubble and the collapse on Wall Street. Certainly, Democrats played along, often eagerly -- but they were being conservative when they did.
No doubt the solutions to the economic crisis will entail re-regulating the financial sector and imposing strict government oversight. And when they do, no doubt conservatives will accuse Democrats of indulging "socialism". But it is to laugh: the right has earned all the credibility of Joe the Plumber on such matters.
Especially when you consider all the other fruits of conservative governance:
* Foreign-policy debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* A government that invades nations under false pretenses.
* A nation less secure and at greater risk of terrorist attacks than ever.
* A sinking economy.
* An expanding gap between rich and poor.
* Utter inaction on global warming.
* $5-a-gallon gasoline.
* An unresolved immigration problem.
* An incapacity to deal with natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
* A debacle in public-school education testing and funding.
* Declining food and consumer-product safety standards.
* A government that spies on its own citizens.
* A government that tortures prisoners held in their detention facilities.
These messes weren't the result of George W. Bush being too liberal and straying too far from the movement's party line. To the contrary -- they're the direct result of him toeing that line to the millimeter. They are all the direct product of the conservative philosophy of governance.