Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Three things collide
in the curious demi-monde that is Malcolm's mind.

Here's one, from the New York Times Editorial Board blog today:

The nonprofit History News Network is reporting that in an informal survey of 109 historians, 98.2 percent considered President George W. Bush’s presidency to be a failure, while 1.8 percent called it a success.

On the question of whether he is the worst president in history, there was greater difference of opinion: 61 percent said he was, while others disagreed or are withholding their opinions. (The survey also made clear that James Buchanan has some work to do rehabilitating his whole catapulted-the-nation-into-Civil-War reputation.)

The corollary from that is:
We’d be interested in knowing more about the 1.8 percent of historians who regard this presidency as a success.
Of course there's more than a degree of nonsense in any of these self-serving academic polls. Yet that provokes the second thought.

Not too long ago Malcolm had, for reasons of putting bread on the table as well as financing a serious wine habit, to toil daily at the chalk-face. He was once given (by an "expert") an explanation of classroom misbehaviour. It is that, at any given time, about one person in twenty could be diagnosed as clinically-insane.

So just 1.8% beats that generalisation.

Curiously, and this is the third thought, that's about the same percentage as the Britons who, even in the depths of the Second World War, could not name their Prime Minister.

So, let's hear it for James Buchanan, finally released from his wooden-spoon ranking as the the "worst" President. At least he could have told Dubya one Pennsylvanian home-truth:

What is right
and what is practicable
are two different things. Sphere: Related Content

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