History always has the last word:
White House aides say Bush, who majored in history at Yale, likes to emphasize historical comparisons because they are easy for the public to understand and illustrate in dramatic fashion how differently future generations may come to view him.
Unfortunately for the president, many historians have already reached a conclusion. In an informal survey of scholars this spring, just two out of 109 historians said Bush would be judged a success; a majority deemed him the "worst president ever."
"It's all he has left," said Millsaps College history professor Robert S. McElvaine, who conducted the survey for the History News Network of George Mason University. "When your approval ratings are down around 20 to 28 percent and the candidate of your own party is trying to hide from being seen with you, history is your only hope."
We're far too close to the last eight years to say what history will say about George Bush. It all depends on how the things he set in motion will play out, and we don't know that yet. Those 109 historians aren't acting as true historians, judging the past with the benefit of hindsight and perspective. They're jumping into the journalists' arena, commenting on the first draft of history.
History rehabilitated Harry Truman's image, but it hasn't been very kind to Richard Nixon's. I suspect Bush's treatment will fall somewhere in between. He won't be in the top half of presidents and probably not even in the top two-thirds, but the worst ever? Don't think so.