Like many, I read the article "The Worst President in History" by Sean Wilentz on Rolling Stone magazine's web site. Regardless of whether one agrees that the current scoundrel is the worst or that honor belongs to a previous scoundrel, the article is worth the time it takes to read.
Rolling Stone is not a source I would have associated with deep political commentary. In fact, I stumbled onto Wilentz's article from a link in another web site on my reading list. Dr. Wilentz, a Professor of History at Princeton, laid out a well organized and solidly supported case for his assertion of Bush's place in history by comparing his record against other contenders for the title. He analyzes the administration's credibility problems, performance (or lack thereof) at home and at war, and misconducts. As you would guess, the administrations utter disregard for the Constitution is on the list. As is the fact that this administration has borrowed more money during its reign than the previous 42 presidents combined, according to the figures Dr. Wilentz compiled.
Wilentz admitted that historians as a group generally lean leftward. That slant is evident in a few discussions, but he successfully kept it tolerable by sticking to facts and tried to present data and statistics that would balance the discussion. Unfortunately for those who call 1600 Pennsylvania either home or the office, even those designed to help balance the scales did not. In some cases, they may have tipped the scale even further.
I mentioned this article to several friends and associates, one of whom asked me to email him a link to the story. Unfortunately, I had not bookmarked the web page and could not remember where I stumbled onto it, so I decided to give Google a try.
Remembering the title of the article and being too lazy to enter it in its entirety, I simply typed the phrase "worst president" into the Google search bar on my browser. My guess was the story I was looking for would be the first entry, along with a host of stories written by those who think Ted Kennedy should have been elected president long ago, Al Gore's environmental policy should be the law of the land or we should invite the French protestors to rewrite our labor laws. All those stories were listed as was the one I was searching for. I was mildly surprised that my target story was the second entry. While the case presented by Dr. Wilentz was compelling, it paled in comparison to what appeared first on Google. I was pleasantly surprised and entertained by the search results.
The first web site listed was the biography of George W Bush. While that page itself is the usual PR tripe (please refrain from reading it if you are eating), it is refreshing to start the morning with a good laugh and a cold dose of truth, this one delivered courtesy of Google.
As a test, I tried a few other similar phrases to see if the White House bios were simply linked to the word "president." The phrase "dumbest president" yielded no link to the White House site and "best president" rightly did not, either. I spent a few minutes trying other combinations but the only hit to the White House site was the original search. From that, we can conclude that the White House web site does not just answer to any question regarding the presidency.
Following His Majesty's own logic that he determines what is best for us, how our money should be spent (he is indeed an expert at spending, but I digress) and what is in indeed true, since his own web site proudly shouts "here" when Google searches "worst president" that must be accepted as fact. After all, the White House web site is an instrument of the administration. As a tool of the regime, it is simply above any doubt. To question any statement from the White House would, after all, be un-American.
Most likely, by the time you read this article the connection between Google searches and White House bios will be broken. In fact, expect Google to be shut down entirely since it is clearly unpatriotic, a threat to national security and possesses weapons of mass destruction. I suspect the web master at the White House and several people at Google will be on their way to a gulag somewhere. And I will probably get to meet Dr. Wilentz in person on our flight down to Guantanamo Bay or perhaps our upcoming hunting trip with the Vice President.
Mark Schell [send him mail] is a freelance writer from Northern Virginia.