Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Careful With Those Bush/Truman Analogies...

ABC News ran a dramatic piece today on President Bush's public approval ratings, "Bush Defeats Truman."

article indicates that Bush has lacked a majority of public approval over a longer period than President Harry Truman:

At 39 months in the doghouse, George W. Bush has surpassed Harry Truman's record as the postwar president to linger longest without majority public approval.

Bush hasn't received majority approval for his work in office in ABC News/Washington Post polls since Jan. 16, 2005 — three years and three months ago. The previous record was Truman's during his last 38 months in office.

Click here for PDF with charts and full questionnaire.

Truman's problems included both economic recession and the war in Korea, which, in October 1952, 56 percent of Americans said was not worth fighting. Bush's approval, likewise, has suffered overwhelmingly because of the unpopular war in Iraq; his job rating correlates almost perfectly with views of the war.

In the latest ABC/Post poll, just 33 percent of Americans approve of Bush's work, a point from his career-low 32 percent earlier this year. Sixty-four percent disapprove, with those who "strongly" disapprove outnumbering strong approvers by a 3-1 margin.
Comparing numbers like these requires a little care, of course, and ABC might have been a bit quick off the blocks in suggesting "Bush Defeats Truman."

You see, while Bush may have beaten Truman non-majority approval indices over time, Bush is still well above Truman's public approval ratings from 1953. Truman left office with the lowest presidential support in history,
at just 23 percent.

But who cares about precision when one can hammer Bush, one more time, as the "worst president ever"?

Firedoglake, for example, "It’s Official: Bush Is Objectively The Most Hated President In History."

Actually, he's not, as the numbers themselves indicate.

But the Truman comparison is accurate in other respects, particularly in terms of historical legacy.

Historians, for example,
regard President Truman as in the near great category today, and some commentators have suggested that President Bush's historical record will follow a similar trajectory into the near-great pantheon:

With all the talk about President Bush's failed legacy by the nattering nabobs of negativism, one might think he won't have one.

Actually, he has cut a wide and often determined swath in the troubled course that history has dealt him, with 9/11 defining his presidency and the war-footing decade in which he has governed. Other big events, from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to several very large domestic initiatives he started and implemented, will have positive repercussions long after he has left office.
As American progress in Iraq continues, and we see futher consolidation of the Iraqi democratic regime, the positive repercussions will come more clearly into focus.


Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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