Being gracious winners, this week, liberals howled with delight at George Bush for coming in seventh-to-last in a historians' ranking of the presidents from best to worst.
This was pretty shocking. Most liberals can't even name seven U.S. presidents.
Being ranked one of the worst presidents by "historians" is like being called "anti-American" by the Nation magazine. And by "historian," I mean a former member of the Weather Underground, who is subsidized by the taxpayer to engage in left-wing political activism in a cushy university job.
So congratulations, George Bush! Whenever history professors rank you as one of the "worst" presidents, it's a good bet you were one of America's greatest.
Six months after America's all-time greatest president left office in 1989, historians ranked him as only a middling president. (I would rank George Washington as America's greatest president, but he only had to defeat what was then the world's greatest military power with a ragtag group of irregulars and some squirrel guns, whereas Ronald Reagan had to defeat liberals.)
At the time, historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. dismissed Reagan as "a nice, old uncle, who comes in and all the kids are glad to see him. He sits around telling stories, and they're all fond of him, but they don't take him too seriously" -- and then Schlesinger fell asleep in his soup.
Even liberal historian Richard Reeves blanched at Reagan's low ranking in 1989, saying, "I was no fan of Reagan, but I think I know a leader when I see one."
Reagan changed the country, Reeves said, and some would say "he changed the world, making communism irrelevant and the globe safe for the new imperialism of free-market capitalism." In Reeves' most inspiring line, he says Reagan "was a man of conservative principle and he damned near destroyed American liberalism."
By 1996 things hadn't gotten much better for Reagan in the historians' view. A poll of historians placed Reagan 26th of 42 presidents -- below George H.W. Bush, his boob of a vice president who raised taxes and ended Republican hegemony under Reagan. Four of the 32 historians called Reagan a "failure."
I guess it depends on your definition of "failure." To me a failure is someone who aspired to be a legitimate scholar but ends up as an obscure lecturer at Colorado College.