WASHINGTON (UPI)-- President George W. Bush reacted with deep thankfulness at being chosen as the worst president ever of the United States by the Council on Foreign Relations Prize Committee.
"It is with deep honor and humility that I accept this award," said Bush at the ceremony held at the CFR offices here on Monday. "It could have been a lot worse, I guess. I could have been chosen as being dumber than a chimpanzee or something."
Henry Kissinger who acted as the awards committee chairman and emcee, said that the award "Couldn't have gone to a nicer guy."
Kissinger went on to describe how up until now, James Buchanan, the 15th US president, has been universally regarded as the worst American president in history.
The Pennsylvania Democrat, elected in 1856, was a totally confused and indecisive chief executive, who made the American Civil War virtually inevitable by appeasing and negotiating with the Secessionist South. Buchanan's recent biographer Jean Clark, writing for the American Presidents Series, just concluded that his actions constituted treason. Like Bush's, his administration was as corrupt as any in history, and he was widely believed to be queer.
Buchanan failed to act after South Carolina announced secession from the Union and attacked Fort Sumter. He also supported the legality of the pro-slavery constitution of Kansas and the Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott case declaring that escaped slaves were not people but property.
In 1861 he passed that mess on to the first Republican president Abraham Lincoln. Now, there are a great many serious people like the CFR who believe that George Bush has proven far worse than Buchanan. Virtually every major US historian is saying privately that Bush will be remembered as the worst of all the presidents.
Kissinger recounted how the History News Network has even just polled 415 historians on the Bush record, and 413 said they believed Bush was a failure, while one said he was succeeding, and one was undecided. A total of 414 said they thought he was the worst president ever.
Those historians said Bush's deficit spending and misuse of the military were "really bad," a belief shared with many self-identified conservatives. He has taken the country into an unwinnable war based on lies and deceit, just to grab foreign oil and boost the profits of Exxon Mobil and other Big Oil companies, alienating most everybody in the process.
There has been a consistent stench in his Administration surrounding the awarding of Iraqi reconstruction contracts to Halliburton and other companies linked to Dick Cheney.
Bush is now similarly unjustifiably threatening Syria and Iran at the behest of Israel.
The historians also pointed out that Bush is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich, who are getting richer while the poor get poorer, driving it trillions of dollars further into debt and boosting the budget deficit. Bush is trying to dismantle Social Security.
The US dollar is facing downward pressures and could collapse, the housing bubble is bursting, and US car companies GM and Ford are facing bankruptcy.
Bush has also repeatedly deceived the American people on affairs domestic and foreign, he has proved to be incompetent in dealing with the aftermath of hurricane destruction in the South, and in conducting the Iraqi war which is turning into a repeat of Vietnam.
Bush has rejected the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming, even as global-warming fuelled highly destructive hurricanes devastate the South, drought devastates US agriculture, heat waves and cold waves kill the elderly, US drinking water dries up, and glaciers recede.
He encourages energy waste and health damaging pollution and ignores easily attainable energy efficiency standards which could reduce global warming and pollution and revitalize the US economy. The US continues its pig-like oil and energy guzzling, contributing to skyrocketing oil and energy prices.
Bush has acted like an international war criminal in conducting his Iraqi war, while he has eroded international law, the United Nations, and international trade and treaties. The US is now a "torture nation" and no one in the world is safe.
Bush has sacrificed American employment with his toleration of pension and benefit elimination to increase corporate profits, along with outsourcing of the best US jobs to China and India and other policies.
Bush is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress, and has deliberately and dangerously blurred the separation of church and state. He is now stacking the Supreme Court with right-wing loons.
Bush has also virtually stolen two US elections and has eroded citizen rights and national security under the guise of fighting terrorism. Bush's administration allowed the 911 disaster to happen, and many unanswered questions remain about who actually was involved in planning and undertaking it.
Bush has also tolerated or ignored one of the oldest problems in the US history: corporate corruption in supplying the military in wartime, and corporate corruption generally which thrives under his watch.
Many of the historians noted that however bad Bush seems, there may be worse men around the White House, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Scooter Libby.
"Bush is far worse than Richard Nixon, and I should know," concluded Kissinger to hearty applause while Bush repeatedly bowed in a prolonged standing ovation.