By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – No one knows for sure where the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” comes from.

But we know it’s been around for at least 400 years, and with good reason.

The proverb means a little distance in a relationship now and then can make that relationship stronger. And modern-day politicians would do well to heed that advice.

Back in 2009, when then-Gov. Deval Patrick was suffering through a rough patch, he had to have hip surgery, and the recovery took him completely out of the news for several weeks. And I noticed his approval rating actually rose during that hiatus, quite sharply.

patrick obama Keller @ Large: How President Trump Can Improve His Approval Ratings

Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama in 2014. (Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

During the same period, newly-elected President Barack Obama was on TV or your favorite magazine’s cover every time you looked up, doling out interviews like candy. And none other than our old friend Jack Williams, hardly a harsh Obama critic, turned to me one day and said “this guy is getting over-exposed, and it’s going to come back to bite him.”

Sure enough, Obama’s disapproval ratings quickly began to climb, until, by August of 2011, he was polling 55-percent disapproval.

Which brings us to President Trump, who’s been stuck at a similar terrible disapproval number since shortly after Inauguration Day.

As we near the end of an August recess when presidential news-making usually slows down, it seems to me Trump has done himself no favors by constantly making headlines.

trump7 Keller @ Large: How President Trump Can Improve His Approval Ratings

President Donald Trump. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

He seems to require them.

And that evokes another old saying – how can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Comments (2)
  1. When are you going on vacation again, Jon?

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