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A George W. Bush comeback?

Americans are a forgiving and forgetting people. That’s all that can explain the rise in George W. Bush’s approval ratings since he left office in 2009. Back then, he had the lowest approval rating of any departing president since Richard Nixon (who departed in a helicopter after resigning in disgrace) with a 33 percent overall approval rating. Only 24 percent of Americans approved of his handling of the recession-bound economy. As recently as last November’s election, more voters blamed Bush than President Obama for the country’s ongoing economic woes.

Now, on the eve of the opening of his presidential library and an apparent Bush-rehabilitation tour, starting with a Diane Sawyer interview Wednesday night, Bush faces a kinder, gentler American public. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, Americans are now split on the former president, with 47 percent approving of his performance and 50 percent disapproving. He’s still underwater, as the pollsters say, but that’s not a bad jump in four years. He’s even climbed on the economy, with 43 percent now approving of the job he did, while 57 percent stayed tethered to the reality-based community, and still disapprove.

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