Eugene Cho

george bush – the greatest president?

Okay, so, President Bush isn’t the greatest president but I needed a catchy title. In fact, there are many who consider him one of the worst presidents – ever in history.  [Here’s my take why he may be considered as one of the “worst presidents.”]

While I don’t believe he is the worst president [per the Rolling Stone article], he certain has missed the mark on numerous fronts and history will not be kind to him.  But having said that, I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to be in that kind of position of leadership.  While I vehemently disagree with him on several fronts [particularly the ongoing war in Iraq], I have developed a certain level of respect for him as he handles potshots, insults, lowblows, constant criticisms, and blame for all the woes and ails of everything between A to Z.

Since we all know that there’s going to be an increase in conversations about his failures as president, I thought it would be good to point out some notable figures who recently have praised George Bush for his commitment to Africa. 

Here’s Bono re: the president’s concern for “AIDS treatment, malaria prevention, education, and multifaceted economic development”:

President Bush has every reason to be proud of what he and so many others have accomplished in Africa. From AIDS treatment once thought impossible, to millions of bednets to keep kids from dying of a mosquito bite, to new African jobs created with trade policy, to billions in old debts erased. And back in Washington, a political shift has taken place with Democrats and Republicans working shoulder to shoulder to partner with people of Africa as they work to lift their continent out of poverty, putting 29 million children in school in the last five years, with the help of debt cancellation.

Brian McLaren over at the Sojourners blog:

Some will quickly say that more could and should be done…But we should also acknowledge that much less could have been done. We should celebrate whenever good and beautiful things happen in this world, and President Bush has done some good and beautiful things for Africa. Kudos to him, and to all members of Congress of both parties – and to all Americans who can feel good that a portion of our taxes are being invested in this way.

More from Bono,

These are accomplishments the next president must build on. … I hope that the next president, whoever that is, will get to experience firsthand this beautiful and entrepreneurial continent that is rising to all of the challenges being sent its way.

Some additional thoughts from Bob Geldof, the Irish rock star/social activist [architect behind Live Aid concert in 1985 which raised money for debt relief for poor African countries] and who continues to be invested in Africa:

Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement [Washington Times]:

Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, “has done more than any other president so far…This is the triump of American policy really,” he said.  “It was probably unexpected of the man.  It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion.”

“What’s in it for [Mr. Bush]?  Absolutely nothing,” Mr. Geldof said. 

Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed “to articulate this to Americans” but said he is also “pissed off” at the press for their failure to report on this good news story.

Consider these words from Brian McLaren:

Let’s also pause a minute to pray that our next president and Congress will continue and expand what’s being done. The pain and need in Africa are so great that it will take governments, businesses, churches, NGO’s, individuals, and intergovernmental agencies, all doing their best – assisted by the powers of heaven – to make substantial and ongoing progress. Thanks be to God for the good that has begun to be done. God bless Africa.

I’m not suggesting that we give President George Bush a free pass.  But while many are chomping on the opportunities to hurl their final shots, I think it’s worth highlighting his leadership with an intensely difficult environment in Africa.  And may this be a reminder to us that while we aren’t to place our ultimate Hope in our worldly leaders, we are nevertheless invited to lift them in prayer.  So, whoever the next president may be, may we hold him or her in prayer and accountability for the great and burdensome work ahead.

And lastly, we must not release ourselves from our personal responsibility.  Will you do your part to fight extreme global poverty?

And now that I’ve praised him, here’s why I think he may go down as one of the worst presidents.  The answer can be spelled out with four letters: I-R-A-Q.

Filed under: politics

26 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    Okay. Thanks for this post and highlighting some of Bush’s work in Africa but…he’s still the worst president – ever.

  2. James says:

    “Mr. McLaren is right to assume that President Bush is leading the charge in Africa because he is sincerely dedicated to helping there.

    I guess what I have to ask is – – are we able to assume the President’s sincerity in Africa, and then simultaneously conclude that his administration’s involvement in Iraq and/or Afghanistan is the result of some insidious plan to “get the oil,” or any such disingenuous ‘master plan?” It seems to me that, if we can assume the sincerity of the President in Africa, we can also assume his sincerity in other areas of his administration. He may not have been right in all areas – – perhaps history will have to judge that, further out – – but perhaps his honest dedication and sincerity deserve a little more consideration.”

  3. I agree on the overall tone of this article. Bush, like all American presidents, is a sum of all the parts. And they’re mostly good.

    From the British angle the same sort of thing is said of Tony Blair. He and Bush OBVIOUSLY had malice aforethought and some plan for western domination of the world when the Iraq decision was made. My concern is the old “a lie can get half way round the world” adage. And due to the internet, people swallow every half truth that confirms their own political stance on an issue as the TRUTH. The conspiracy theorists have had a field day for years.

    And one of the things which irritates me greatly is the lack of balance in the arguments of those who castigate western leaders. People we’d normally expect to exercise common sense (whatever THAT is!) become raving extremists in their condemnation of politicians and as a result democracy itself.

    At my site in recent weeks I have had an ongoing battle an English lawyer who wants Al Qaeda to hunt down Tony Blair and kill him. It’s a long story … if you’re interested … visit here.

    http://keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/bin-london-paintballs-er-screws-the-scapegoats-us-for-the-last-13-years/

    We can say what we like in western democracies, while, of course bemoaning the FACT that the leaders we want dead, have taken those freedoms away from us.

    Well, not yet they haven’t!

  4. Ben C says:

    I definitely have a hard time understanding people who bash someone (Bush) with his life experience, his skills to get to become the most powerful man in the world (recent campaign activity interest shedding more light on how huge of a challenge/energy investment it really is to even run for office).

    Bottom-line, the guy had the skills to win and become a two-term man. He sees a broad swath of global issues at a level that none of us to get to see and thus understand. Everything is connected in one way or another.

    I disagree with some of the Bush administration’s decisions, but I cannot begin to be so bold as to claim how I’d do it different because I simply do not have the resources to begin to get my arms around this very big world to responsibly capture it as a whole.

    FYI, I did not vote for Bush and would not vote for him now.

  5. Janet says:

    The war has been an absolute disaster and history will judge him harshly and rightfully so.

  6. worinld says:

    I remember watching a frontline episode on bush, and his faith. The way his faith was depicted from that episode, it seemed like Bush had very clear buckets. good buckets and bad buckets. in the bad bucket was huessein and he had to go. I believe that Bush’s decision making has always been simple and straightforward, and I can appreciate him for that.
    I think the older bush was the one thinking about the oil when he was ‘defending freedom’ in kuwait.
    anyways, you all can yell at him when you see him in heaven…and yell at God for letting him win….

  7. […] bush – the worst president? Earlier today, I wrote a post sharing some praises for President George Bush and his work and leadership in and for Africa.  It’s not my intent to incite my Republican […]

  8. LP says:

    George Bush is just a good-hearted moron, plain and simple. Those who accuse him of going to Iraq “for the oil” and a number of other conspiracy theories also call him an idiot. He’s either a maniacal evil genius or he’s incompetent: he can’t be both.

    My opinion?…He’s a cowboy! He breaks the law and ignores the rules because that’s what “badasses” do. Unfortunately he doesn’t exactly have the mind of a Bismarck, so it’s not working out quite as planned…

    In short, George Bush should probably be fired, but I don’t think jail is the answer.

  9. William Flax says:

    The new, March feature, essay at my Conservative Resource Center (The Return Of The Gods Web Site), specifically addresses the recent Bush trip to Africa in its attack on the Bush policies. It may be accessed at and is entitled “Playing With Matches: Peter Pan In The Great Rift Valley.”

    You can guess to whom the “Peter Pan” refers.

    The man has shown that he is as incompetent in economics as he is in Foreign Policy.

    If McCain wants to get the Conservative votes he is now courting, he is going to have to distance himself from the President.

  10. ThinkLife says:

    Thank God he’s finally done something good. Signing on to the economic stimulus package here was also sorely needed–certainly I need a shot of cash, like too many other Americans.

    Too bad the Republicans have done so little in Darfur, one of the worst areas in Africa.
    Africa is possibly the most needy continent overall. Almost anything we do there, including exporting our garbage there, would help. (That is NOT a suggestion.)

    So if Bush throws a few billion there, he looks like a hero. He is, to those in such dire need. But what more could he have done without the money-sucking Iraq maelstrom? And what have he and Cheney done personally there, not on behalf of the government? Lord knows, Cheney is rich enough to buy an African nation or two.

    But never forget: Dubya and his cronies will have wasted over a$1 trillion in Iraq by the time it’s over. (These are the GAO’s own estimates.) How many improvements could we have made anywhere, including the US, with that amount of money?

    And much of that cash is flowing into Cheney’s Halliburton, through the famous no-bid contract. Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, now he’s their chief salesman.

    Till he worms his way back into a billion-dollar corporate position again, Cheney is Dubya’s puppeteer. And he’s amassed enough power in the VP position to garner the attention of those inside Washington who believe he ought to be impeached. Sign up to help impeach Cheney at http://www.wexlerforcongress.com/BigIssues.asp#cheney

    Please, we can’t get this cadre of rich, greedy, clubby tools and engineers of darkness out of government fast enough.

    And he seems to care less about 3.5 million Darfur refugees at the mercy of the Janjaweed who rape and murder at will. Dubya’s wimpy economic sanctions, while tantamount to a glance in the right direction, are like poking a toe in the barrel of a 12-gage shotgun. Visit http://www.savedarfur.org to help with that.

    I found out that Hebrew speakers coined a new verb after Condoleezza Rice: “le condel.” (See http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16649252) It means “to do nothing.” Sadly, this talented woman might have made a lasting difference under a more compassionate, forward-looking administration.

    The worst President ever? Let his actions guide your judgment.

    But what good are judgments without consequent action? Elect a Democrat in ’08 and save your job, your country, your health and maybe even your future financial security. Sign on to the http://www.dividedwefail.org campaign for health care and economic justice for all Americans.

    Please vote for Hillary or Obama. Either is miles above poor, dumb, misled and misspoken King George the Worst–who for the life of him STILL cannot pronounce NOOK-LEE-ER. So…it’s just a word, right?

    It is sad testament about the sitting President of the United States, upon whose abilities our national security rests, that one of the words most feared for over half a century is one whose pronunciation eludes him.

    Don’t ever send him into a classroom with a lesson about the potato. I quail at the thought.

  11. FS says:

    My recollection is that President Bush promised to provide $15 billion to fight AIDS in Africa,

    Sad to say, but this was the same $15 billion that Clinton had already pledged while he was still President.

    Net contribution by Bush: $0. Political benefit: Priceless.

  12. Matt K says:

    I’m no fan of GWB for the most prominent aforementioned reason, the Iraq war. But it does sadden me how few progressive critics will give him any credit for his commitment to Africa (bravo for McLaren and Bono for not succumbing to knee-jerk posturing).

    No, Clinton did not pledge $15billion to Africa. In 2000 the Clinton Administration was spending $1.3billion in Africa. In 2005 Bush was spending $5.8billion and was pushing congress to pledge a total of $30billion. Clinton was no friend of Africa (re: the Rawandan genocide, the Somalia debacle, the cruise missile attacks on Sudan, etc).

    On Sudan: What do critics suggest we do? Military intervention? Leave one country to suffer a genocide of our initiation to intevene in another? Sudan is an international crisis that will require international action. Blaming the Sudan crisis on “Republicans” is laughable.

    I’ll say it again, Bush II is a lowsy president, but he shamed his predecessor when it comes to Africa.

  13. VOTE AMERICA says:

    WHERE IS ALL THE MORAL AND SELF-RIGHTIOUS WHO VOTED BUSH INTO OFFICE? NOW WE GOT THE “CHANGE” CANDIDATE AND EVERYONE IS ON THE BANDWAGGON AGAIN. WELL…CHANGE HAPPENED AND BUSH & CO ARE LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK WHILE THE REST OF AMERICA IS IN A RECESSION.

    GET OVER THE DREAM AND LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD. VOTE HILLARY. WE ALL KNOW WE NEED ANOTHER CLINTON TO CLEAN UP THE MESS BUSH IS LEAVING BEHIND.

  14. m@ says:

    “Ever” is quite an eopch to use for evaluating dubya’s presidency. Personally, I tend to think Nixon was even worse, particularly if you want to judge on wartime success.

  15. D Hostert says:

    It is beyond my wildest immagination to think that America could elect another conservative after the travesty that our IDIOT president has placed all of us in. Anyone that thinks Clinton was bad for America, has one of the shortest attention spans in history. Bush invented evidence to get us into an illegal war. He told countless lies to the American people, and the US Congress to insight their anger toward HIS enemies. The man needs to go to JAIL for the crimes he has conmmitted. And it should only be after they lock up Cheney. If something isn’t done about this administration, I would predict that within two years, we will have rioting and demonstrations that tear this entire country apart.

  16. kate says:

    Maybe it’s just the cynic in me, but when you delve deeper into the politics behind foreign aid–especially in higher-profile areas, such as AIDS in Africa–it seems as though the US has done VERY little to promote progress in the realm of international development–in comparison to what COULD be done if priorities were shifted even slightly and better accountability practices put into place for governments receiving aid.

    First thing to look at is where the money actually goes–usually, it’s not into the hands of those who need it, but rather is funneled through governments with which the US allied and much of the money (as discovered by private charity auditing of government spending–to the extent that that is possible) goes to ridiculous luxurious for the government leaders. While this isn’t directly the fault of the US and other aid-giving countries, they do need to step up the overseeing of the aid distribution which they give.

    Oftentimes Bush and others will come out claiming that “X amount will go to fight malaria, AIDS, etc,” but rarely do they follow the money trail until it reaches where it is actually intended to go. Unfortunately, it would be hard to funnel the aid directly to private charities on the ground, where it has a much better chance of effecting change, due to the fact that it would anger the governments of those countries because they would lose out on the ability to spend the money on obvious necessities such as second and third private planes (as was the case with President Museveni, Uganda, 2007).

    The political rhetoric surrounding foreign aid is often very good, believable and heartwarming. Sadly, much of it is empty. Not to say that the US has done nothing–I’ve walked though refugee camps watching little girls carry bags of grain with USAID labeling all over it—some aid IS getting where it needs to go. Yet, I can’t help but wonder if those refugee camps would even be present had the US used even a fraction of it’s political/economic influence towards preventing the situations which establish these refugee camps in the first place.

    We need to step it up. Dive in, find the truth, pressure our government to find ways to enact lasting change in the fight against poverty. Just my 2 cents…

    my sources/more info:
    http://www.poverty.com/internationalaid.html
    http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/171
    http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2005/0506debt.html
    http://www.avert.org/aidsuganda.htm

  17. m@ says:

    Kate’s right on with this, by the way.

  18. JS says:

    It’s kind of sad that we can all sleep safe in our beds at night, with little fear of terrorists attacking in the dark and so many still have the audacity to refer to President Bush as the worst president ever. He is an American patriot, using all the wisdom and means available to him to keep us safe from harm. No matter what he does and how much anyone does or does not like it, the man has the most difficult job in America. Let’s not forget that Abraham Lincoln was also referred to as the worst president and infamously derided for the choice of starting the Civil War.

  19. dorothy adams says:

    you know i remember clinton saying hussen had weapons of mass d.. all of his people said he did , so why? is it only bush that lied?

  20. びっくり says:

    I was impressed that he, shortly after coming into office, made a treaty with Russia to sharply reduce deployed nuclear warheads. Also he made a decision for the US to unilaterally reduce nuclear weapon stockpiles. We actually committed to this responsibility in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but few Presidents have upheld that end of the bargain. (That includes the man most Democrats want to label as great)

    Why don’t we know about it? We can blame the media, but in the end the President could fix that by holding a news conference and mentioning only that one point. The press would have to run it then. As Reagan is labeled The Great Communicator, I think Bush maybe labeled The Poor Communicator. This one point would have been helpful in taking wind out of DPRK and Iran’s nuclear desires. Also, it would help take down the New Cold War rhetoric coming out of Russia.

    Poor communication hurt their credibility amongst the very conservative, during the wiretapping issues. There are times when there is legal justification for tapping before a warrant is issued, but we didn’t get any explanation that would relieve concerns. This stimulates attacks from liberals and fear in conservatives: again, poor communication. The communication issues list is long.

    Also, I think Bush has weakened progressively over the last five or six years. Partly because he is too worried about loyalty to his people. They are supposed to be fiercely loyal to him. (“I serve at the will of the President”) If they are screwing up, they should hand him a resignation letter and let him decide how to handle the situation. Instead, he is having to handle a lot of suspicious circumstances and in the end, most of the people resign, not having protected the reputation of the Presidency nor themselves. Honor should be important in roles of service.

    For the “War for Oil” rhetoric. We had a supply of oil coming before both wars. We didn’t loot oil. The supply chain became uncertain during and after the wars, throwing chaos into related financial realms. Not a war for oil: the wars have only threatened oil supply.

  21. BathandBodyDiva says:

    One good act does not an amazing president make.

    He has driven this country into the ground. All you have to do is take a look around. We’re paying almost $3.50 a gallon for gas, economists are screaming recession, and this country is barrowing money from China because this war has run us into the ground financially.

    No, a great president, he is not!

  22. George says:

    You see if you can’t find any solution for improving the conditions of people in your country because it’s too difficults and you need a brain for that you go and show off where it doesn’t matter what the condition of your brain is.

    Mr. Bush have proved and show only one thing during his presidency how to sell your own coutry for his own benefits. Shame on him.

  23. びっくり says:

    If you think $3.50 for gas is expensive, check out this graph for a proper perspective. Also, try comparing to the price of gasoline in other countries.

  24. […] For those that care, I wrote two posts a year ago [?] about  George Bush:  Best President and Worst President.  Check them out.  He’s done some good things and I want to credit him […]

  25. […] those interested, I wrote two posts a year ago about George Bush: Best President and Worst President. He’s done some good things, and I want to credit him — as others […]

  26. […] him in that post about an Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at him.  Okay, I know he’s not the greatest president and many can’t wait to see him out of office but we should give him some props.  Why?  His […]

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The family that karaokes together stays together. #ChoFamilyKPopFamily Family time in one of my favorite cities in the world - especially when the exchange rate is so favorable. Thank you, Vancouver, for being such a great refuge for our souls for the past 20 years. #QuestVancouver It's the day after...that day.
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#PreachingToMyself This is what real life looks like after a crazy couple weeks. Grateful for this woman. I love her. She's gonna scream at me for posting this pic. #ThoseSocksThough Grateful for the opportunity to encourage 2500 youth leaders & pastors at the @youthspecialties conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Had prayed for wisdom to encourage leaders and courage to navigate a word for leaders post election about empathy and compassion for the unseen, marginalized, and those experiencing real fear.

Also, what a joy to have my church's youth pastor, @cobycagle, also here teaching. Some years ago, I was a youth pastor for several years in California, Korea, NY, and NJ. They were meaningful years but filled with challenges and loneliness. Sometimes, I felt unseen and insignificant - in comparison to "real" adult ministry. As a lead pastor now, I want to make sure I don't make those mistakes of overlooking our youth and children's ministry and their volunteers and staff. 
Pastor Coby, Pastor Katey, Pam, Jalle, and Jasmin: We see you. We appreciate you. We are grateful for your presence and leadership at Quest and beyond. Thank you and all of our amazing volunteers Wow. So proud of our 13 year-old son. When he began the trumpet in middle school, you could say it was a little painful. But this cat has got some groove. He's taught himself the piano, guitar, and really come along on the trumpet.

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