Daily Archives: January 3rd, 2010

The Bush Effect

This will not be a meaty post. It will be short and sweet. I personally don’t think it requires a lot of explanation because it should be self-evident.

At the end of a year media bombards us with “let’s look back” type of stuff. You know, the “year in review” and all that jazz. At the end of a decade we get that times ten.

Out of all that blitz something caught my eye. I’m going to call it The Bush Effect.

As we all know, George. W. Bush was President of the United States for eight whopping years out of the last decade that some are calling The Oughts. Fitting. So I submit that when Americans are asked their opinions regarding The Oughts what they are mostly doing is passing judgment on the Bush years.

We’ve all heard the news stories about “historians” (whoever the hell they are) arguing over how history will view the Bush years. They usually make the point that although it seems grim now, history make be more kind, and that we’ll just have to wait and see. I submit that we’ve already got our answer.

So what does the data show? A new poll from the Pew Research Center, under the headline “Current Decade Rates as Worst in 50 Years,” provides some answers. When asked about The Oughts, 50 percent of Americans responded that they had a “negative” impression. 27 percent were “positive” and 21 percent said “neither” and two percent said they “didn’t know.”

Wow. That seems to be quite damning. Let’s try to put that in historical perspective by comparing the “positive” results from the last five decades:

“Positive” responses by decade:
1960s: 34%
1970s: 40%
1980s: 56%
1990s: 57%
2000s: 27%

Wow. Was Bush a wrecking ball or what? That is quite the reversal of a trend.

Meanwhile, after one year with Barack Obama at the helm, the results regarding the future are markedly different. 59 percent said the next decade will be better. 32 percent said the 2010s would be “worse,” with 4 percent responding about the “same” and two percent saying they “don’t know.”

That’s my take on providing some context to one slice of how American’s feel as we leave one decade behind and embark on another.