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Americans Take Parting Shots at Bush

By Dan Eggen
It was bad enough for President Bush to have shoes tossed at his head during his farewell journey to Baghdad. Now comes a new poll in which Americans call Bush all sorts of names -- some of them a lot worse than "dog."

In a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, respondents were asked to volunteer their assessments of how Bush would be remembered after he leaves office. The most frequent response, from 56 people, was "incompetent," followed by "idiot," "arrogant," "ignorant," "stupid," and so on. Nine people volunteered a three-letter synonym for donkey.

There were some kinder sentiments as well, including "honest," "honorable," and "dedicated." The number of participants who called Bush a "liar" also dropped from 18 in 2004 to just 4 this time around.

Overall, though, the Pew poll underscored the depth of public disdain for Bush, who now ranks as the most consistently unpopular president since the advent of modern political polling. He has not had the approval of a majority of Americans since the beginning of his second term, and has hovered in the 20s in most approval rankings for more than a year. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll last week found that eight out of 10 Americans would not miss him once he's gone.

"The public's verdict on the Bush presidency is overwhelmingly negative," the Pew researchers write in a summary of their findings. "Just 11% said Bush will be remembered as an oustanding or above average president -- by far the lowest positive end-of-term rating for any of the past four presidents." In 2000, by comparison, the recently-impeached Bill Clinton scored 44 percent on the same measure. (Ronald Reagan got 59 percent, while Bush's father received 36 percent.)

The Pew survey also found that 64 percent believe Bush will be remembered mostly for his failures, and 34 percent said he will go down in history as a poor president.

The new polling comes as Bush has embarked on a legacy campaign, attempting to burnish his reputation by claiming success in preventing terrorist attacks, turning around the security situation in Iraq and other accomplishments. Although it's too soon to tell if the campaign is working, most presidents have enjoyed a surge in popularity during their last months in office. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released earlier this week showed 30 percent of Americans now approve of how Bush is doing his job, up from his low of 23 percent in early October.

For his part, Bush has repeatedly claimed to be unbothered by his low popularity, and has pointed to his willingness to endure opposition as a strength. "The thing that's important for me is to get home and look in the mirror and say, 'I did not compromise my principles,'" Bush said in one recent interview. "And I didn't."

The Pew survey was conducted Dec. 3-7 among a sample of 1,489 adults using both landline and cellphones. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent.

By Post Editor  |  December 19, 2008; 3:26 PM ET
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Bush/Cheney could care less what Americans think about them. They are ideologues and their agenda came first. The common good of the working middle class was completely ignored. No one at this point can dispute the facts of our economy. Republicans have left our country in turmoil.
Two categories of republicans: the rich and the ignorant.

Posted by: RMB2 | December 22, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

'I did not compromise my principles,'" Bush said . . .

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," Ralph Waldo said . . .

Posted by: Sophie2008 | December 22, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

For the record;

I, would NEVER throw my Size 12 Steel-Toed Work-boot at President George W. Bushie!

THAT, would simply be the wrong thing to do!

By holding on to it I could get a bunch of Mind-Opening Blows in before the Secret Service finally asked me to stop! ;~)

Hey Bushie(Whap-Whappity-Whap!);

Can you hear me NOW?! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | December 21, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The day he leaves office cannot come soon enough. Anybody who supports him is a total idiot. He is a pimlpe on the @$$ of humanity. He has no shame and has gotten away with more crimes than we can even imagine right now. I wonder about the sanity of those 28% who support him, he is the most dishonest, incompetent, uncaring president ever. And no, he didn't keep us safe from terrorism. He was too busy clearing brush and enjoying his umteenth vacation to pay attention to the myriad of pre-9-11 warnings. What part of "Bin Laden Determined to Attack US" is so hard to understand?

Posted by: catsmom | December 21, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"he would be an okay CEO"

According to the Houston Press, Bush lost money for every business he ever worked for except the Texas Rangers, (where he traded away Sammy Sosa). His jobs were givento him because of who he was, not because he deserved it.

He made money for the Texas Rangers through an arbitrary land grab, by which public property was taken and given to his private business at the taxpayers expense. Sound familiar? This act effectively made Bush the biggest welfare recipient in the history of the State of Texas.

Posted by: rooster54 | December 20, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

If you check out the link to the survey, you can see that the number of people who described him as a Christian dropped from 14 to zero. Same goes for "excellent"; 11 to zilch.
Good riddance.

Posted by: mia_927 | December 20, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Dan Eggen,
You partisan hacks in the press have been taking shots at him for 8 years. The only real question is if you will spit or swallow in your coverage of Obama for his tenure.

Partisan hacks that are killing your industry and once great paper. Good riddance when YOU are gone.

Posted by: ikez78 | December 20, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Bush needs to just go away, very quietly. There are no words that adequately describe the breadth and depth of the destruction he has wrought on our country.

Posted by: kim4 | December 20, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

As unhappy as I am with Bush for his foolish decisions to push Amnesty, overspend, and back the bailouts, I suspect that America will look back on him and realize that he was underappreciated. His decisions to invade Iraq and win the war there in the face of overwhelming political opposition will be recognized as world transforming ones of which Americans can be very very proud. A flawed President but a true Profile in Courage, his greatest shortcoming was his desire to meet the feckless left halfway.

Watch Obama's mighty bellyflop and you'll find out what "incompetent" really means. Sure that bucks popular opinion but Bush had very high approval ratings as well. He fell on his sword to do what he thought was right for America. I don't see Obama even contemplating such an agenda.

Posted by: DaMav | December 20, 2008 5:28 AM | Report abuse

Typical of humans to kick the President on his way out. Obama has yet to prove anything and he already walks on water. Remember we have been without a terrorist attack in America since 9-11 and we have Mr. Bush to thank for that. He's had his share of issues, but all in all he has been a decent president. We deserve to lend him our support for the next 45 days.

Posted by: PaydayOnLoans | December 20, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

I have not waited until year eight of his presidency to call him a moron and an idiot. I knew from the very start that he was a failure in everything he has ever tried and I knew he would be a failure trying to lead this country. I'll have to admit that I underestimated him, he was much more of a failure than I could have imagined. No matter how he tries, he will go down in history as the most inept and incompetent President that the United States has ever had. I would hate to have my grandchildren read in their history books that I was a failure at being President. How do you explain that away?

Posted by: racam | December 20, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

'I did not compromise my principles,'" Bush said in one recent interview. "And I didn't."

That's because he had none.

Posted by: charley42 | December 19, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

It's not simple. I never voted for him, and argued with my friends who supported him. I was astonished when he was re-elected in 2004.

But, he's not evil. He would be an okay CEO, but he's not a good executive. He has an intense desire to be right - but that's common with politicians. He has a lot of compassion at the individual level.

He's Jimmy Carter with much, much worse advisors.

I hope he is as successful as President Carter in being a former president. So far he seems to be focused on too high level issues to be effective. He may grow.

I'm so glad it's almost over.

Posted by: Kili | December 19, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Since I hold dual citizenship (Canada/Germany) .. I class Bush as person, never mind anything else, a total idiot/idiot (in French & English, for bilingual Canada) und einen Riesenidioten ("a gigantic idiot", in German, for Germany).

Good riddance to this horrible, incredibly limited member of humanity - had Bush never set foot in our lives thousands would be alive, thousands in health, rather than destroyed mentally & physically!

Posted by: hchiba | December 19, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

If most Americans understood the meaning of "Quisling";

My entry might have won! ;~)

Mexico, Sa'udi Arabia, UAE, and Iraq;

lose THEIR President in January!

Bushie betrayed this Country and it's Citizens!

Posted by: SAINT---The | December 19, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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