If someone asked you to pick the presidents who would make a list of the “greats,” it’s likely you’d include George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Today’s conservatives tend to hold Ronald Reagan in high regard, even though Reagan’s record is not exactly consistent with several elements of the current GOP platform: tax increases and compromise with Democrats were not dealbreakers for Ronald Reagan. Likewise gun control.
Yesterday’s dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum raised the question of how George W. Bush will be treated by the history books. When Bush left office in 2009, his approval rating stood at 34%. Frustration with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the economic state of the country at the time no doubt contributed to the low rating.
The library dedication also marked the reunion of former members of the Bush administration. Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice. ABC reporter Jonathan Karl took the time to delve into the legacy issue with Rove. How does George W. Bush stack up in comparison to his predecessors, according to Rove at least?
“The greats, you can’t touch: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, FDR,” Rove began. Who could disagree? “But yeah, I’d put him up there,” Rove continued.
In the same interview, Rove echoes a common Republican talking point about the Bush presidency; that Bush kept us safe from terrorism…after 9/11. (Unlike many Republicans, Rove at least mentions 9/11; others merely state that Bush kept us safe. Period.)
“He got the big things right,” Rove explained. “He kept us safe after 9/11, he moved to modernize our tools, provide the tools to fight terror, he called terror for what it was…”
Take a look at the Hardball Sideshow above for more on Karl Rove and the Bush legacy.