Former President George W. Bush continues to reap the benefits of Donald Trump’s dumpster fire presidency, with a majority of the American people now viewing the 43rd president favorably.
According to a new CNN poll, a stunning 61 percent of the country view Bush favorably, and just 33 percent view him unfavorably. Even among Democrats, Bush’s favorability is above water, with 54 percent saying they view him positively.
This is one of the most under-discussed impacts of the Trump presidency: the fact that an increasing number of Americans are excusing the myriad of failures under the second Bush presidency simply because the current commander-in-chief is so blatantly unfit.
But as the Washington Post pointed out at the end of last year, just because Trump is worse than Bush, doesn’t mean the 43rd president deserves praise:
He and his administration helped facilitate the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. They misled the country into a war that cost tens of thousands of lives. They spied on Americans without warrants and violated legal prohibitions on torture. They botched the response to Hurricane Katrina, costing 1,800 lives while Bush talked about his FEMA director doing a “heckuva job.” They blew a budget surplus on tax cuts that failed to help the economy and exacerbated inequality. They gutted environmental regulations, distorted climate change science and lay down for companies to exploit natural resources at will. They exploited homophobia to drive up voter turnout. And in one of several scandals not out of place in the Trump administration, when it came to light that Bush’s Justice Department had fired nine U.S. attorneys for political reasons, Bush sheltered advisers under executive privilege. None of this deserves rehabilitation.
By many measures, George W. Bush could’ve gone down as one of America’s worst presidents. But Trump’s presidency has seemingly saved him from this fate. Maybe everything is relative after all.
If Hillary Clinton secured enough electoral votes in 2016 and made her way to the Oval Office, this likely wouldn’t even be a discussion. Her administration might have been boring, but it likely would have been competent. It wouldn’t have given the 43rd president any lifeboat to climb onto.
Instead, America was given Donald Trump, a president so bad that George W. Bush can now breathe a deep sigh of relief that there is at least one scenario in which he doesn’t seem as awful as he really was.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.