If we can accept the premise that “time heals all wounds,” perhaps time is former President George W. Bush’s best friend and it's really had his back over the last couple years.
A recent Economist/YouGov poll found that among Democrats, Bush has a net favorability rating of 51 percent. About 42 percent of those surveyed said they still have an unfavorable view of the 43rd president, while seven percent said they “don’t know.”
In that same poll, 82 percent of Democrats view President Trump as being less competent compared to other presidents since World War II. About 79 percent of Democrats see Trump as less intelligent than his predecessors. And 72 percent of Democrats feel Trump doesn’t work as hard as previous presidents.
It’s obviously shocking that Democrats view Bush in such high regard, but why now?
Just a week ago, Bush broke a long-standing presidential tradition of not criticizing the job of the current president. Both he and former President Barack Obama offered strong rebukes of Trumpism. At a George W. Bush Institute event in New York on Thursday Bush said:
Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. ... We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism. … Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children.
Without even mentioning Trump by name, Bush made it pretty clear what he thought of the 45th president. And, for Democrats, that was good enough.
It was such a strong rebuke of Trump that Democrats forgot all of his previous sins. They forgot about the expansion of powers of the government that allowed our privacy to be compromised for the sake of safety after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that gave us the Patriot Act. They forgot about the human, economic, and environmental costs that Bush thrust onto the country when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. And they most certainly forgot about how inefficient his administration handled the catastrophe that Hurricane Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast.
It’s the type of cognitive dissonance that only can be viewed when people talk about their favorite athletes (or actor or musician).
People will forget your previous sins if what you’re doing in the current outweighs it. Take Kobe Bryant, for example. Back in 2003 when Bryant was accused of sexual assault and rape by a 19-year-old hotel employee, his career in basketball with the Los Angeles Lakers was in jeopardy. After an initial denial of any sexual contact, Bryant later confessed that he did have sexual intercourse with the employee and that it was consensual. They settled in civil court.
Bryant’s reputation was in tatters from that case and, at the time, it was highly unlikely it would recover. However, he went on to lead the Lakers to back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010, and all was forgotten.
If you talk about Kobe now, in retirement, the rape case is hardly mentioned, and instead, the conversation is focused on if he was better than Michael Jordan or LeBron James.
Bryant isn’t the only one either. Look at Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
He was accused of rape twice in the year after he led his team to a Super Bowl victory and was never prosecuted. Even though he was suspended by the NFL for six games in 2010 (which was later reduced to four) for his sexual misconduct, he managed to retain his endorsement deal with Nike and re-signed with the Steelers for a then-record-breaking contract of a four-year, $87.4 million deal. He’s currently regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
As someone who gives others the benefit of the doubt far too often, everyone deserves a second chance. However, Democrats are embracing the same type of evil that they’re accusing Trump of — evil that they accused Bush of a decade ago. It shows that Democrats actually aren’t principled and will do anything to win and regain power. And in politics, like sports, nothing matters except winning.