[A President] "resembles the commander of a ship at sea. He must have a helm to grasp, a course to steer, a port to seek."
I don't think George W. Bush will make it to the long list of the best U.S. Presidents, and by long, I mean the top 20. This may surprise some, since I've been such fan of his Presidency. Keep in mind, I am trying to look at him through the long lens of history, not comparing him to the alternatives available now (i.e. Kerry, Dean, etc...)
Let's run over his record. His handling of the crisis of 9/11 was stellar and his time in college as a cheerleader served him well. The country was incredible united, and steadfast during that time, but he has never shown great ability domestically. Ironically, this was purported to be his greatest strength by pundits going into his first term. In reality, he has shown more expertise, and knowledge in foreign policy, which again, was portended to be among his greatest weaknesses. Even critics of his decisions made on foreign policy must admit, at his expert execution of his agenda. When we look at his domestic record, we see Medicare/Medicaid reform, Education, Immigration, Social Security, and Energy. His planning and execution have lacked any real clout to solve these problems, although he has time, yet!
From time to time, historians have been asked to rank the best President. You can see more on these surveys here. How does President Bush rank for you?
Three criteria you may choose to use, from the article, are: Vision, political skill, and communication abilities.