At least he tried.

At least he tried.

It’s that time of the year again! That of polls, lists, and other publicly humiliating ranking processes. 2008 had been an extremely tough year, ending on a very dark note with the death of Nobel Prize recipient Harold Pinter (more on that later).  But rejoice, children, as George W. Bush is now leaving the building, thank you, thank you very much.

A CNN poll reveals that 75% of the American population are joyfully wishing good riddance to the one 28% consider the worst president in United States history.  “Earlier this year, Bush scored some of the lowest presidential approval ratings we’ve seen in half a century, so it’s understandable that the public is eager for a new president to step in,” said Keating Holland, CNN polling director.  From the skyrocketing ratings of support following 9/11 to the plummetting desperation of the year following Operation Desert Storm, George W. Bush has established himself an extremely controversial and unpopular image, despite campaigning in 2000 as a down-to-earth type of guy, straightforward and close to popular needs. How the might have fallen.

Numbers don’t really make sense without a comparison. Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, who was threatened with impeachement and despised by the Democrats, managed to leave office with better numbers – a whooping 45% said they would miss him as a leader. Bush only scores a very small 23% who will probably only miss his White House antics (but don’t worry, most of them are compiled on YouTube).

If his last name and his swift, prompt response to 9/11 inspired confidence, he quickly lost it. A war deemed hasty – as well as illegal – and the recent credit crunch have made his popularity run down the hill faster than an Olympic medalist: only 20% trust in George W. Bush for doing a respectful, decent job as President.  82% believe that he never was a uniter, despite his claims in the early years of his first mandate; it seems he divided the country even more than it was before, which is understandable considering the extreme positions he took on several social hot topics such as abortion or civil rights. The rise to neoconservatism was not of popular taste, at home as well as on the international scale. Bush managed to alienate and isolate the country like no other president ever did – highlighted by a predecessor who had always cultivated good foreign relations and being a part of several european and middle-eastern peace processes. George W. Bush provided military support to Israel, made the Middle East implode, put the United Kingdom at risk and gave continental Europe the silent treatment.

“President Bush’s job approval rating has been at or below freezing since the beginning of the year,” Schneider said. “The current 27 percent approval rating is one of the lowest ratings for any president, ever.”

I guess Bush is now giving Pierce a chance to rest second as worst president in history.  It will be a tremendous piece of work to clean up the mess he’s leaving behind.