George H.W. Bush: Good POTUS, Bad POTUS?

Grade H.W. as a President on a 7-point scale.

Too soon?

Above average in international affairs, below average at home. So, average overall.

Works for me. I voted the same.

Bush was very good at International affairs.

He didn’t manage the economy well and it cost him a second term.

He seemed like a man of strong character. People from both parties liked and respected him.

I agree he was average overall.

I would go Good on international affairs but with a below average at home, still basically average overall. Especially as domestic should probably outweigh foreign policy for these Presidential ratings.

It’s tough not to grade him on the curve. For a republican he was very good. Compared to his son or to Trump he was god-like. Compared to Nixon he was very good. Compared to Reagan he was very good.

Compared to Clinton or Obama he was just average. Compared to Carter he was, again, average — more skilled, less decent but adequately so.

I liked him okay.

Everything Baal Houtham said.

He started the Gulf War. Fuck him for that.

Fuck him for that too.

Oh we found out late in his life that he was a sexual assaulter. Fuck him for that.


Average taken as a whole. Bad ideology and goals, but actually competent at the job. And incompetence in a position like President is so destructive that it’s just as bad or worse than malice. So it roughly evens out.

Our standards for what a bad president is keep dropping decade after decade. He wasn’t terrible but he wasn’t good.

Really? Iraq invading Kuwait wasn’t involved at all?
Remember, he was the one smart enough to not go to Baghdad. Unlike his son.

He was the last remotely decent Republican president. Don’t expect we’ll see another decent one for some time now.

Bush sent 4 Iraqi Republican Guard divisions into Kuwait on 2 AM in August 2, 1990?

The Gulf War was begun by George H.W. Bush, with urging from others, particularly Margaret Thatcher, using the UN to provide legitimacy for the effort. The war was about oil, including the Bush family’s interests, NOT about the people of Kuwait or democracy or “the stability of the region” or anything else. Suggesting that the war started when Iraq invaded Kuwait is, IMO, a simple attempt to control the terms of the discussion. The war between Iraq and Kuwait was over in 2 days; Iraq won.

I feel like people are voting him average compared to their vision of the ideal President.

But look at all the actual Presidents, and consider that again.

He was, in essence, white Obama. And where Obama turned most of his focus to rebuilding the economy and let the international scene languish, Bush had most of his focus on bringing China and Russia out of being places of mass murder to places with a chance of one day becoming open democracies, but didn’t pay full attention to the domestic scene.

He didn’t do “stupid shit”, as Obama would say, and he believed in being professional, reasonable, and able to compromise.

He was clearly better than his son.

To the extent that Clinton’s presidency was all that good, it’s largely because he simply maintained the policy that HW Bush had set.

Reagan was a great orator, but I don’t know that he actually did anything notable during his term but continue some of the Cold War fights that we can’t morally defend as having been for the right reasons.

Carter was crap.

Nixon was a good President but a crook.

Ford was a nothing.

I mean, realistically, Ford is probably about the level of an Average President. HW Bush and Obama are really about as good as it gets. Lincoln and Washington were not the unearthly gods that we make them out to be, they just happened to deal with large issues and not necessarily well.

Lincoln used some pretty slimey politics to get into office, the Civil War went as long as it did because Lincoln kept hiring idiots to run the war, and he was horrible to Native Americans - really his only good trait was that he is highly quotable.

Washington didn’t do a lot beyond quit the job when it came time.

And you’ll note that we don’t know the names of nearly all Presidents because they were completely unnoteworthy.

The average President is Gerald Ford not Barack Obama or George HW Bush.

There are perhaps a few people who were able to somewhat live up to the expectations that we have for the office, e.g. Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Andrew Jackson - but Jackson was a monster.

I’m not saying that Bush needs to be carved into Mount Rushmore. But if we’re realistic about how good our Presidents actually are on average, he’s in the top 10%. If you don’t consider him to have been amazing, I would suggest that this says more about the quality of our Presidents than it does about George HW Bush, because he really was in the top 10%, by any honest appraisal.

His Papa liked Nazis.

Having read Richard Ben Cramer’s 1992 classic WHAT IT TAKES (about the 1988 prez primaries), I’m quite pleased that Bob Dole has outlived him.

If you became President in 2020, would anyone remember you when you die? How would you do the job better than any of those before you?

I agree Lincoln had problems finding capable generals for the war, but how was he horrible to Native Americans other than putting down an uprising in Minnesota by hanging some of their leaders? How was Lincoln any worse than any other president would’ve been?

As for Washington, the man knew how to get the right man into the right job in his Cabinet.

There was no reason to think at the time that the breakup of the Soviet Union and the freeing of the Warsaw Pact countries was going to go well. HW had flaws, many of which have been pointed out, but keeping the world out of a bloody general European war and even a potential nuclear exchange deserves a huge amount of credit.

Compared to modern republicans, fairly decent.