By: E&P Staff
Al Neuharth, the former Gannett chief, USA Today founder and currently weekly columnist for that newspaper, has had a change of heart.
A year ago, in honor of President’s Day, he stated that while he was often critical of George W. Bush, he did not, and probably would not ever, crack his list of the five worst presidents we’ve ever had.
A year later he admits he was wrong. In his USA Today column today he announces that Bush has not only cracked the bottom five, he’s now at the very bottom.
Last year, Neuharth, a World War II hero who has met every president since Eisenhower, listed his five worst as Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant, Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon. “It’s very unlikely Bush can crack that list,” Neuharth wrote.
Now he admits: “I was wrong. This is my mea culpa. Not only has Bush cracked that list, but he is planted firmly at the top.” By top, of course, he means bottom.
Neuharth, after calling the Iraq war Bush’s “albatross,” concludes: “Is he just a self-touted decider doing what he thinks right? Or is he an arrogant ruler who doesn’t care or consider what the public or Congress believes best for the country?
“Despite his play on words and slogans, Bush didn’t learn the value or meaning of mea culpa (acknowledgement of an error) during his years at Yale.
“Bush admitting his many mistakes on Iraq and ending that fiasco might make many of us forgive, even though we can never forget the terrible toll in lives and dollars.”
Neuharth, always considered a political moderate, made waves more than two years ago when he called for a phased U.S. pullout from Iraq. He still has not been joined in this by many mainstream pundits or editorial pages.
Striking a different pose, David Broder in The Washington Post today writes: “It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback. But don’t be astonished if that is the case.”