Bush vs. Obama: The popularity contest

The latest in our game of polls is one that compares President Obama with President Bush.  This is from The Telegraph:

More than half – 52 per cent – of Americans now have a favourable view of George W. Bush, who left office in 2009 with the lowest approval ratings of any president in recent history, his reputation scarred by the world financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina and the fallout from the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

His numbers now compare favourably to Mr Obama, whose personal job ratings have taken a dive in recent months, with only 45 per cent of Americans saying they approve of his presidency – with many marking him down for his handling of the Islamic State insurgency and the Middle East.

So what does it mean?  It means little, but I have a few thoughts:

First, President Obama's lack of leadership has finally caught up with him.  President Bush may have made mistakes, but he never ran out the clock so that the next guy would be stuck with the decision.  Bush tackled the problems, made a decision, and moved on.   For example, he could have punted on the financial crisis in October 2008.  He didn't.  He made a decision and lived with the consequences.

Second, President Obama's failures around the world are a direct result of his "de-Bushing" of our foreign policy.  He has tried to be so different from President Bush that it has hurt his presidency and perhaps legacy.  President Obama has given us an opportunity to look at the world without a strong U.S. that speaks with moral clarity, such as it did under President Bush.   

Over in Iraq, the choice is clear.  The Bush vs. Obama approach is there for all to see.  Iraq 2009 was a better place than Iraq today.  The difference is Obama's rejection of the Bush policies.

Third, President Bush has handled his post-presidency with such class.  He has never taken cheap shots at his successor.  He kept quiet in Dallas and out of partisan politics.   

The poll is not significant.  At the same time, I'm not surprised that people are taking a second look at President Bush and appreciating his honest efforts.

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