Returning to the sheer awfulness of the Bush presidency, I wanted to address an argument "liberty" raises in the comments. She argues that Bush wasn't so bad because of all the things he didn't actually do that FDR did. No doubt, FDR is up there on the "awful" list, but I want to make the case for Bush's total awfulness by invoking a distinction Bob Higgs makes in Crisis and Leviathan.
Bob points out that the real problem with big government is Big Government. What he means by that is that it's one thing for government to grow in scale, but when government grows in scope is when the real trouble starts. The key to Bob's ratchet effect argument is that crises lead not just to government "scaling up" but to it acquiring powers that it didn't have before, i.e., a change in the scope of its powers. The other part of the ratchet effect argument is that when the crisis passes, the government might reduce its exercise of these new powers, but not all the way back to the pre-crisis level. What people often miss is that this also means that those new powers lay dormant waiting for the next feasible situation in which they can quickly be activated. The long-run damage comes from the acquisition of those powers in the first place, not just their exercise in the specific crisis in which they are acquired.
Over the last few months (and I'm going to ignore the previous 7.5 years worth of similar points with respect to the "war on terror" and the Iraq mess), the Bush Administration has given the state a whole new bunch of powers that it did not have before in any real way.
The Fed has given itself new responsibilities and powers that are nowhere to be found in any of its mandate, and it did so with the complete blessing of Bush. Those powers have led to a doubling of its balance sheet in under a year.
The US government is now a part-owner of financial institutions (if not auto companies), and the power to do so is more or less new and represents a significant expansion of the scope of government power.
Third, the auto bailout represents an arrogant use of executive power (yet another in a long line of many by the Bush crew) in his unilaterally allocating TARP money to Chrysler and GM. Exercising unilateral executive power that way within the economy represents a change in scope as well. (And for our friend Sean: can you point me to folks on the left who are objecting as loudly to this use of executive power as they were to those related to the war? I'm not being sarcastic - I'd like to see it if it's out there.)
Many of the truly awful things Obama might do that "liberty" is concerned with will be things he will be able to do because of the precedent of the expansion of the scope of government power that the Bush Administration has engaged in over the last 8 years. And the blame for that expansion of scope belongs right at the feet of George W. Bush and arguably makes him the worst president of the last <insert large number here> years. Obama may well expand the scale, but it was Bush who ratcheted up the scope so that any Obama expansion will happen much more easily.
Once the principles of government ownership, bailouts for everyone, Fed funding for non-banks, and unlimited executive power to intervene in the economy are granted, as the Bushies have done, anything Obama does will be just, in the immortal words of Mozart, "scribbling and bibbling."