The Corner

James Earl Carter, Jr. Is Not Alone

Responding to a challenge from Derb–in effect, Derb asked, Yes, but what if an Obama presidency fails?  Remember Jimmy Carter?–John O’Sullivan writes that

Very few presidents fail as visibly and comprehensively as Jimmy Carter. Even if one takes a kind view of his administration, as such distinguished Carter appointees as Zbig Brzezinski do, there is no quarrelling with the fact that most Americans and many Democrats thought he had been a failure in 1980 and for many years afterwards. This was exceptional. 

Ah, but it wasn’t.  The formulation “most Americans, including many of his own party, thought he had been a failure in the year he left office and for many years afterwards” must be applied, in simple historical justice, not only to Jimmy Carter but to Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon–and, surely, ten months from now, to George W. Bush.  Employing the criteria John himself offers, in other words, one must count no fewer than five failures among the eleven chief executives since FDR. 

Yes, but what if an Obama presidency fails? remains, in my judgment, a valid and altogether sobering question. 

Peter Robinson — Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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