Friday, January 16, 2009

The View From Now

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 4

So, the day after President Bush gave his farewell address to the nation, how is the public reacting? Getting a bit mushy to see him limp off the stage, perhaps?

Not a bit of it. According to a new poll reported in the New York Times today, George W. Bush's current approval numbers are as low as they have ever been, with just 22% approving of his performance as president. Contrast this with Reagan and Clinton, who both left office with 68% approval numbers, or Bush's father, who went out with 54%, or even - and this has got to be just killing the neocons - Jimmy Carter, who left office with 44% approving of his performance.

Worse still, it seems that public disapproval of the president isn't limited to his performance in office; folks don't seem to care much for the president personally, either. According to the poll, Bush's negatives are at 60%, while his positives clock in only around the mid 20's.

Little wonder, then, that the president and his staff are pinning their hopes for redemption on the long view of history. Indeed, that's the only hope left them. But the degree to which attempts at shaping the judgment of history have gone more than a little over the top is perhaps the best indication that even the true believers are having a hard time convincing themselves, let alone history. A vivid case in point: a recent article in CQ Politics by Richard Connor postulates that history may one day look upon George W. Bush in the same light as Abraham Lincoln. Er, okay. And Ed Wood may one day be voted the greatest motion picture director of all time. But I wouldn't wait up nights.

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