Whenever we drive on the Ronald Reagan Expressway, my daughter asks me to remind her what Reagan was famous for, and I have to recount as much as I can recall: brought us to the brink of nuclear extinction, murdered a generation through homophobic indifference to the AIDS crisis, put the War on Drugs on overdrive, funded terrorists throughout Latin America, grew the national debt by trillions, and literally allowed astrology to steer the course of the nation.
And yet, he was rehabilitated in the public imagination, so much so that Republicans and Democrats in the 2016 election vied to declare themselves the second coming of Ronald Fucking Reagan.
If that wasn't evidence enough of the short memories of the American public, consider that the torturer GW Bush's popularity has more than doubled since he left office, having presided over the destruction of the world's economy and a war based on a lie that destabilized the Middle East and led to literally uncounted deaths (because he refused to count them), spending the country into a Reagan-sized hole while clearing brush on his ranch and affecting a Texas accent.
That rise in popularity is largely thanks to Democrats, 54% of whom now view Bush favorably, up from 11% in 2009.
Trump is terrible, but that doesn't make Bush great. Come on, people.
Much of the 43rd U.S. president's ratings climb can be attributed to shifting views among Democrats and independents. In 2009, for instance, just 11 percent of Democrats looked upon Bush favorably. Now, that figure stands at a 54 percent majority.
In fact, Bush now holds a majority favorable rating among every demographic but liberals, the poll shows. Within that group, 43 percent approve of the former president while 48 percent still harbor an "unfavorable opinion" of the man.
Republicans, by contrast, regard Bush in virtually the same light as they did after he left office. At that time, 76 percent of Republicans polled approved of the outgoing president. That number spiked to 88 percent in a 2015 poll but has now shrunk back to 76 percent in the days of the Trump administration.
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Mad Magazine)