Don't Call It A Bush Comeback

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JONATHAN CHAIT DECEMBER 6, 2010

Don't Call It A Bush Comeback

Politico's James Hohmann, last seen repeating nutty Republican anti-tax talking points in Politico news stories, has a piece today about the George W. Bush comeback:

George W. Bush’s job approval rating as president has spiked to 47 percent, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

That’s 1 point higher than President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in a poll taken the same week.

This is the first time Gallup asked Americans to retrospectively rate Bush’s job performance. And it was a stunning turnaround from his low point of 25 percent in November 2008.

Stunning? Let's look at the poll in question, which surveyed Americans about a number of ex-presidents:

This seems to show that every former president who wasn't forced to resign will eventually become popular --and, indeed, that Bush is currently less popular than all of them, including Jimmy Carter. This certainly doesn't vindicate Hohmann's conclusion that "Bush’s rebound gives some credence to what he has long said — that history will eventually judge his presidency." Or, I suppose, if you thought opinion polls were the same as "history," then you'd think that history will eventually vindicate every non-Nixon president.

Indeed, it's pretty obvious that being removed from the partisan debate makes you popular, and being involved in it makes you unpopular. That's why Bill and Hillary Clinton currently enjoy very high approval ratings, and Michelle Obama has astronomical favorability.

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posted in: jonathan chait, barack obama, george w. bush, james hohmann, w. bush

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