Rich Galen

The Mullings Director of Standards & Practices and I are heading to Dallas for the opening of the Presidential library of George W. Bush on Thursday.

I know that there will be many who, echoing the outpouring of venom in Great Britain upon the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, will elbow their way in front of TV cameras to be as ugly as necessary to get on the air.

I can't fix that, and I won't try.

I have known George W. Bush since I was hired to be the spokesman of his dad's PAC, the Fund for America's Future by Lee Atwater. That was when H.W. was the sitting Vice President and George W. (whom we incorrectly called "Junior" although not to his face) made regular trips to Washington, DC to help out.

A front pager in Tuesday's Washington Post by America's senior political writer, Dan Balz, looks at Bush's place in American politics as he prepares for his library opening.

A new Washington Post-ABC poll asked respondents "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush handled his job as president?"

The answer was 47 percent approve; 50 percent disapprove.

As a calibration, in the Gallup three day track last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (before the Boston Marathon attacks) had President Barack Obama's standing at 49 percent approve, 43 percent disapprove.

Americans are a tough audience.

We can't rewind the clock and know what would have happened if we had not invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Watching the result of President Obama's having supported the removal of Muammar Gadhafi in Libya and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt you can see why he is a little reticent about unseating Syria's Bashir al-Assad.

Historians who, like everything else in our lives, feel they have to rush to judgment, are still, well, iffy about the Presidency of George W. Bush. Going back to the polls, Bush left office in January 2009 with an approval rating of only 25 percent, so if rehabilitation of his legacy is necessary, it appears to have already begun.

Harry S. Truman's lowest approval rating, by the way, was 22 percent. And he has since been granted a legacy reprieve by historians.

Since leaving the White House George W. has taken a decidedly different tack than Bill Clinton (lowest approval rating 37 percent in May 1993). Where Clinton uses his celebrity for good works in raising money for his foundation or, with H.W. Bush, raising money for Haiti; George W. has taken up painting.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.