Fred Barnes asks the question at the Wall Street Journal:
Can President Bush recover? It matters enormously in the 2008 election -- particularly in the presidential race -- whether he does or not. Either way, recovery or no recovery, the president will have a powerful impact on the outcome. If he fails to lift himself out of the political doldrums, his successor in the White House is likely to be a Democrat. But should he pull off a strong finishing kick, as President Reagan did in 1988, the prospects of another Republican president will improve significantly.
President Bush of course won't be on the ballot. But the status of his presidency -- whether he's seen as successful or not -- will frame the election year debate, just as it did when Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan left office after two presidential terms.
Conservative commenters at Wizbang! have been admonishing me for the last year with the statement that "Bush isn't running for President in 2008," but I have never doubted for a second that the public's perception of this man and his record would be the most important determining factor in the upcoming Presidential election.
And the answer to Barnes' question "Can Bush recover?" ... is No. George Bush did this country a tremendous disservice, in a tremendously disrespectful way, and the only thing that will please the majority of us is the moment when President Bush gives us a big smile and wave, and walks out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the last time.
He will not be missed.
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