George W. Bush always claimed that he would be vindicated by history. Even he might be surprised at how quickly history worked its magic. His personal approval rating is now at 47 percent, the highest they've been since just after his re-election — as it should be: he's succeeded admirably as an ex-president. After years away from the spotlight, he's given a couple newspaper interviews and said, "There's no need to defend myself." He's dedicating his presidential library this week. His charming dog paintings have been released to the public. And people are reconsidering some aspects of his legacy. National Journal's Ron Fournier wrote on Tuesday, "Go Ahead, Admit It: George W. Bush Is a Good Man."
Sure, esteemed Columbia University historian Eric Foner decided Bush was the worst president ever. He left office with a 22 percent approval rating. This had something to do with the policies he put in place. By 2007, 61 percent of Americans thought the Iraq war was a mistake, and in March, on the tenth anniversary of the war, 53 percent of Americans thought it was a mistake. By 2009, a majority of Americans thought the Afghanistan war wasn't worth fighting. Bruce Bartlett, a former economic adviser for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, has said the nation's unhappy fiscal state is the younger Bush's fault. Fournier's reassessment notes the former president's legacy "includes Bush’s responses to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — all worth exploring skeptically." Sure, 9/11 happened on Bush's watch, but, The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin writes, after that, "there was no successful attack on the homeland"!