Many political careers — particularly in the late 20th and this, the early 21st century thus far, have ended in embarrassing ruin. Bill Clinton, leaving office with some of the highest presidential approval rates in history, is often cited for jokes such as “having made the word ‘blowjob‘ politically correct,” or having all sorts of goofy images posted of him that would otherwise be looked over as innocuous. On the other hand, George W. Bush left office with among the lowest approval ratings in history — but in his retirement, the vehement rhetoric launched toward him, and his dismal approval ratings, have been softened by time.
Other political post-mortems have been much more hilarious. Former Congressman Anthony Wiener resigned in disgrace after he accidentally posted a photo of himself on Twitter; which blew open a scandal of himself sending less-than-fully-clothed pictures of himself to women online. Having resigned nearly two years ago, he’s now looking at making a comeback as a candidate for the Mayor of New York.
George W. Bush has essentially retreated to a private life — arguably because of the overwhelmingly negative view the people had on his Presidency; whereas Bill Clinton, while still as polarizing, has enjoyed overwhelming public support — even in the ever-existing shadow of his own sexual scandals in office.
Are such political comebacks possible? Could George W. Bush or Bill Clinton [or Anthony Wiener in this case!] make a comeback in a positive light, or would their scandals and disgrace continue to follow them?
- What is About Bill Clinton’s 1990s and the Democrats? (gestetnerupdates.com)
- Washington: Bill Clinton watches ‘Scandal’ (politico.com)
- Obama to attend George W. Bush library dedication in Texas (politico.com)
- By all means, let’s reopen the WeinerGate wound (legalinsurrection.com)
- George W. Bush ‘costliest ex-president’ (bigpondnews.com)
Of course comebacks are possible. Any ex-President who provides either entertainment value or positive news copy gets rehabilitated. Look at how Jimmy Carter has been evaluated more positively after office than during. This kind of thing happened as far back as Herbert Hoover, whose charitable work after a dismal presidency garnered him a lot of good will. If Bush wants it, he will have to start performing service work however. Hiding out doesn’t help one reshape a legacy.
That’s a point I meant to bring up when I wrote this too, actually — Carter’s presidency. He was looked at fairly miserably too, but his post-Presidency has treated him VERY well; and I’m thinking Bush will have the same results, too. I think he’s still too polarizing to come out just yet — but another few years will do a lot for softening the public criticism of him. Very good point.