Being President of the United States means glory and fame and being never forgotten in history, but it also includes bitter attacks, criticism, and a negative reputation in the minds of many critics, scholars and public opinion!
There is something about the passage of time that often soothes bad feelings and helps to restore a positive image of a President who has been under constant scrutiny! While a President may often leave office with a low public opinion rating and be seen as a disappointment or failure by many, over time he may be perceived in a very different light!
Such is the case with former President Bill Clinton and members of the Republican party who were his harshest critics, went after him in a vicious way for eight years, moved to impeach him for his private indiscretions, and used him until recently as a political issue against Democrats!
Now, many Republicans are praising Clinton, calling him a better President than Barack Obama, a moderate who benefited the nation, a compassionate conservative who was willing to negotiate with and work with the opposition party, once his own party lost control of Congress in 1994!
Another example of selective memory and how time heals wounds is that a CNN poll shows George W. Bush only two points behind Barack Obama on a question as to who is the better President! Obama leads 47-45, while last year he led by 23 points!
There is obviously a tendency for the negative emotional feelings that develop during the term of office of a President to dissipate over time, indeed sometimes within just a short span of time!
But it also shows that a thorough, balanced analysis of any Presidential administration takes inordinate amounts of time to accomplish–decades, generations, maybe even centuries!
After all, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and other Presidents before the 20th century are still being researched and evaluated, with no final judgment that cannot be challenged by new evidence!