The longer a president is out of office, the more people forgive and forget.
Up until now, the only possible exception to that rule was Richard Nixon, whom Americans still associate with the Watergate scandal. Nixon, however, did get high marks for foreign policy during his post-presidential years.
Now, it appears George W. Bush may be in the same situation.
A CNN/ORC poll released Thursday says Bush's current favorable rating is 43%, and his unfavorable rating is at 54%, more than three years after he left office. That's up from his 2009 favorable rating. But by comparison, the same poll says two-thirds of those polled have a favorable view of Bill Clinton, who preceeded Bush.
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars, both popular when they started, but which became increasingly unpopular as the years went on, are one reason for Bush's continued unpopularity. But the other is the economy, which fell into recession in his last year in office.
President Obama, who graciously hosted the Bushes last week for the unveiling of George W.'s presidential portrait, will probably try to use this to his advantage in his re-election campaign. But Obama's critics will probably respond by stating that while, statistically, the recession ended three years ago, the economy hasn't improved a lot.
One statistic being quoted...and not conservatively, either...is the May employment numbers which state the economy hardly added any jobs and that the unemployment rate increased.
Interestingly, another thing Obama's critics cite is gas prices, which range from $3.50-$4 a gallon. But, at least in the Mid-Ohio Valley, they're actually a bit lower than they were four years ago, when Bush was still in the White House.
Those numbers, admittedly, dropped dramatically by election day, when the nation realized it was in a recession. As some Republican candidates noted earlier this year, gas was $1.60-$1.70 a gallon when Obama took office in January, 2009.
Perhaps someday, George W. Bush will be looked upon more favorably for his eight years in office: a period when he had to confront several issues, the biggest of which were the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
But, as seems to be the case with a full economic recovery, that day seems a long way off.
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