For much of George W. Bush's second term, the president was the object of derision and jokes. Upon leaving office, he had quite a low popularity rating.
As time has passed, however, how does our previous president's reputation hold up? And how does it compare to our current president? Victor Davis Hanson has some answers and opinions.
George W. Bush left office in January 2009 with one of the lowest job-approval ratings for a president (34 percent) since Gallup started compiling them — as compared to Harry Truman’s low of 32 percent, Richard Nixon’s of 24 percent, and Jimmy Carter’s of 34 percent — and to the general derision of the media.
All that hysteria once led to Charles Krauthammer’s identification of “Bush Derangement Syndrome” — a pathology in which the unbalanced seemed to channel all their anxieties, frustrations, and paranoias onto George W. Bush. And yet, following 9/11, Bush had calmly led the nation and enjoyed one of the highest positive appraisals of any president since the advent of modern polling, when for months he registered a 90 percent approval rating; indeed, he averaged a 62 percent approval rating over his first four years.
Yet, as with all presidents, with time and a successor come perspective. So it is not hard to see why the out-of-office Bush’s likability ratings are slowly inching back up — most recently to 46 percent. For reflection on Bush’s eight years in office, take a look back at the six aspects of his presidency that harmed his popularity most.