Jonathan Bernstein: History Will Not Be Kind to George W. BushRoundup: Media's Take
tags: George W. Bush, historians, presidential rankings, Jonathan Bernstein, presidential reputations
Jonathan Bernstein is a columnist for the Washington Post.
George W. Bush is not remembered with any enthusiasm currently. That’s not likely to change.
Whatever way it’s measured, he’s not doing too well. Gallup has his retrospective approval at 47 percent; that’s third-lowest in the polling era, better than only Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson (Harry Enten has more on placing post-presidential approval in context). As far as historians and other students of the presidency, it’s even worse; Bush falls in the bottom quarter of the ratings surveys in which he’s been included.
In terms of popular appeal in the short term, Bush will likely be hurt because there’s no campaign underway to improve his reputation — either by himself, as was the case with Nixon and is still the case with Jimmy Carter, or on his behalf, as with John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. We don’t really have a way of measuring the effects of those campaigns, and Nixon’s hasn’t worked, but it certainly seems likely to help to some extent. Bush’s best hope as far as popularity is probably for his brother, nephew or some other family member to become president and excel, which somehow rubs off on him. That’s not much of a hope....
comments powered by Disqus
- 1619 Project: New York Times Magazine Publishes Special Edition Dedicated to American Slavery and Its Legacies
- National Security Archive Releases New Briefing Book on Chernobyl through the Eyes of the Soviet Politburo, KGB, and U.S. Intelligence
- Before Trump eyed Greenland: Here’s what happened last time the US bought a large chunk of the Arctic
- Illinois Governor Signs Bill Mandating Public Schools Teach LGBTQ History
- Controversial Monument to Women’s Suffrage Redesigned to Include Sojourner Truth
- Historian Elizabeth Hinton Profiled in Harvard Magazine: Color and Incarceration
- 'Clearly, he did not take part in our curriculum': Historians bash Ken Cuccinelli's revised Statue of Liberty Poem
- The Increasing Popularity of Hotel Historians
- If You Call It History, You’ve Got to Do History’: Historians Chafe at a Video That Omitted Their University’s Whites-Only Origins
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum gets grants to help publish Abraham Lincoln papers