George W. Bush’s favorability ratings are on the rise… Liberals loathed him, to the point of hysterics- Gene Robison, of the Washington Post, is still fuming over his presidency , but recent Gallup poll numbers show the American people are more forgiving. Bush’s favorability rating has risen above his unfavorable rating for the first time since 2005. Conventional wisdom from the popular media held that Bush would be immune from the redemptive attitude Americans take to their former Presidents- Bush it seems, was just that bad. But a jump in the numbers this pronounced, indicates something deeper…..history can help us.
When Harry Truman left office…. his disapproval rating was a staggering 67%. His popularity had sunk so low, his average approval rating collapsed to 45%- this after he enjoyed approval ratings of nearly 90% following the victory in WW2. Truman’s perceived crime was fighting an unpopular war… a war many Americans didn’t understand at the time. Within 10 years of leaving office, Truman was listed as “nearly great” by Arthur Schlesinger’s poll of 75 historians. The American people felt the same- Truman’s favorability rose to over 60% during the Watergate crisis. Truman’s leadership during the earliest and most dangerous years of the Cold War have now been properly acknowledged- and few can argue with his record on civil rights in America. Today, Truman is not ranked below 9th in any major poll of Presidential leadership.