Chait: Yes, George W. Bush Was a Terrible President, and No, He Wasn’t Smart

I’ve been more than a little astonished of late at the return of George W Bush to the stage.  Apparently this week’s opening of the Bush museum has “opened up a flood of pent-up Bush revisionism.”  Jonathan Chait has this right, as far as I’m concerned.  Read the whole piece here; here’s his wrap-up:

His economic policies exacerbated income inequality without producing prosperity. His massive increase of the structural budget deficit, which ballooned to over a trillion dollars before President Obama took office, left the United States less fiscally equipped to respond to the economic crisis he also left his predecessor. He initiated a costly war on the basis of both mistaken and deliberately cooked intelligence, and failed to plan for the postwar period. His policies not only ignored the crises of climate change and a costly and cruel health insurance system, but made both much harder to solve.

The failures of Bush’s governing method — the staffing of hacks and cronies, the disdain for evidence — was perfectly reflected in the outcomes. The Bush presidency was a full disaster at home and abroad, and whatever small accomplishments that can be salvaged barely rate any mention in comparison with the failures. The general reckoning of Bush is not too harsh. It is too kind.