History, as judged by historians, possibly after all those currently living are dead, may in fact judge him more kindly. But by nearly every group and every measurement, the consensus is that nobody likes him and they want him to leave. He is and will always be a miserable failure. So why the bump?
Even as the Bush Legacy Project churns away, grinding the remains into a more palatable form, it’s hard to stomach the revisionist history, whether it be on Iraq, housing, education, Veterans, or the economy.
There have been several metrics which hint to whether things have improved under our 43rd President. I like this infographic from the Atlantic, which shows the changes in a variety of datapoints pre- and post-Bush. Salon does the same, but not as attractively packaged. Pew does it as well, in a more academic format. Harpers Index runs three pages. Another by-the-number at ProPublica solicited reader submissions. Think Progress and Crooks and Liars parse with a lefty-slant. Political Irony points to the snark as delivered by Jon Swift.
Froomkin in the WaPo delivers with a narrative than can be reduced to a single paragraph:
He took the nation to a war of choice under false pretenses — and left troops in harm’s way on two fields of battle. He embraced torture as an interrogation tactic and turned the world’s champion of human dignity into an outlaw nation and international pariah. He watched with detachment as a major American city went under water. He was ostensibly at the helm as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression took hold. He went from being the most popular to the most disappointing president, having squandered a unique opportunity to unite the country and even the world behind a shared agenda after Sept. 11. He set a new precedent for avoiding the general public in favor of screened audiences and seemed to occupy an alternate reality. He took his own political party from seeming permanent majority status to where it is today. And he deliberately politicized the federal government, circumvented the traditional policymaking process, ignored expert advice and suppressed dissent, leaving behind a broken government.
As far as hinting towards an explanation for this bump, I have no scientific proof, only a rudimentary understanding of polling and a pretty good read on the political consensus. Several recent polls have indicated some head scratching results, but that can all be easily explained.
What really has happened if you skim the internals is that the few people remaining who self-identify as Republicans are even more crazy and more extremist, and as such, are driven to support their ideology and the flawed manifestation of George W. Bush at even higher levels. Either that, or it’s just the natural number of the batshit insane (previously), as defined by the crazification factor. In either case, fewer people who are more crazy results in a higher approval rating.