Americans Judge The Bush Decade: ‘Awful’ And ‘Not So Good’

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that Americans are entering 2010 with a negative view of the events of the past decade, which was largely marked by President Bush’s tenure from 2001–2009:

According to the poll, a combined 58% said the decade was either “awful” or “not so good,” 29% said it was fair, and just 12% said it was either “good” or “great.” […]

Asked what they thought had the greatest negative impact on America this past decade, 38% cited the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 23% picked the mortgage and housing crisis, 20% said the Iraq war, 11% chose the stock market crash, and 6% said Hurricane Katrina.

But 37% said it lost ground on the environment, 46% said it lost ground on health and well being, 50% said it lost ground on peace and national security, 54% said lost ground on the nation’s sense of unity, 55% said it lost ground in treating others with respect, 66% said it lost ground on moral values, and a whopping 74% said it lost ground on economic prosperity.

Census Bureau figures released in September largely support the public’s pessimistic take on the last decade:

On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially. […]

Bush built his economic strategy around tax cuts, passing large reductions both in 2001 and 2003. … But the bleak economic results from Bush’s two terms, tarnish, to put it mildly, the idea that tax cuts represent an economic silver bullet.

The poll comes as loyal Bushies are attempting to rewrite the former president’s legacy and delude the public into believing that the country’s current problems are all the fault of President Obama. Former White House adviser Karl Rove, for example, has been all over the media, issuing statements like the Bush administration has “no” responsibility for current budget deficits. Bush officials have even tried to claim that they made Afghanistan a top priority and that Obama is the one who has been screwing up their work. Fox News host Sean Hannity has gone so far as to say that Bush deserved the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is claiming that the cure to the country’s problems is to just give political control back to Republicans (which was true for a large part of the last decade).


Historians have ranked Bush as one of the top 10 worst presidents in U.S. history and believe his legacy will most resemble that of former presidents Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover. Time magazine recently did a feature calling the past 10 years the “decade from Hell.”