Via Jim Geraghty, a reminder that Inauguration Day 2009 seems, oh, so looong ago. Actually, The One’s daily approval rating stands at 47 percent today, so he and the Bushitler find themselves in a dead heat:
A few obvious points. One: The Kennedy mystique is eternal. By the time the 50th anniversary of his assassination rolls around in 2013, I expect the wistful Camelot reminiscences to push him to a cool 90 percent. Two: Although Dubya’s numbers were Nixonian towards the end of his presidency, we can now lay to rest the idea that he’ll ever be remembered in the same class. “Not nearly as bad as Nixon” isn’t something you want to carve over the doorway of the presidential library, but still, 47 percent approval is a remarkable rehabilitation in less than two years’ time. Three: What explains the bizarre drop in support for Carter versus the almost equally sharp rise for other presidents? The temptation is to say that America’s in the throes of a backlash to liberalism, but in that case, explain the famously progressive LBJ and the famously centrist Bill Clinton rising eight points in four years. For that matter, explain Bush 41 bumping up by the same amount. Is the Carter backlash here less a reaction to his liberalism than it is to his lack of “effectiveness”? LBJ passed seminal civil rights legislation and escalated in Vietnam, Clinton balanced the budget and presided over a roaring economy, and Bush 41 inherited the Reagan legacy and won the first Gulf War, whereas Jimmeh … eh. Obama, having sent thousands more troops to Afghanistan and passed ObamaCare, is arguably a lot closer accomplishments-wise to Johnson than he is to Carter, but the feeling of weakness right now among Americans is so profound that I think it leaves them searching for Obama/Carter comparisons. Which is also why Carter’s ratings are down so sharply, I think. Suddenly people are remembering the malaise. Vividly.
Exit question via Politico: Does this poll signal the end of the White House blaming its problems on Bush? They can continue to do so, but they’re not getting much mileage out of it anymore.