Whenever President Bush’s poll numbers tumble into the 30s, Democrats and their allies hoot and holler in glee at the apparent unpopularity of this man they love to hate. But, we should not let this snapshot of the president’s approval define his record of leadership. Despite his middling poll numbers, he may not be the failure they insist he has become.
Today, most Americans (including this Republican) consider that Harry S Truman was one of the better presidents of the last century. And yet in 1951, his “approval numbers fell to some of the lowest levels ever recorded by Gallup, staying below 30 percent and cratering to 22 percent in February 1952.” The incumbent’s numbers “cratered” about ten points higher.
that sixth-year pain is nothing but normal, and has been shared in some way by all two-term presidents; that the judgments made of presidents in their sixth years of office (and in their seventh and eighth years, for that matter) have not always stood up over time.
Emery looks at a number of presidents, not just Truman, but also Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt, widely regarded today as successful leaders, but whom pundits had written off at similar junctures in their second terms.
Whether or not George W. Bush follows in their noble footsteps has yet to be determined. He can still create a lasting record of success provided he deal with a number of pressing problems facing our nation. If he can continue to correct some of the mistakes in Iraq and complete the victory there, securing that fledgling democracy, he will have done much to promote stability and peace in the Middle East. Success in Iraq will weaken its neighbor Iran, compromising its ability to threaten the region.
And he needs deal with the latest crisis created by North Korea’s apparent nuclear test.
On the domestic front, it would be nice if he could enact immigration and Social Security reform. And do more to hold the line on federal spending.
Not only is the jury still out on George W. Bush’s record as President of the United States, but he still has 2 years and 3 months to correct his flaws and build on his accomplishments. Noemie Emery shows how other presidents rose from difficult sixth years to compile impressive records, improving our nation — and their own reputations. The president — and his advisors — would be wise to study his predecessors’ records as he looks forward to the second half of his second term.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest)