Not Jimmy Carter Bad

London Times U.S. editor Gerard Baker assesses Jimmy Carter’s claim that George W. Bush’s presidency is the “the worst in history” and judges that, while it is bad, “it’s not Jimmy Carter bad.”

For the younger reader, perhaps already infused with a nostalgia that recalls the 1970s as a time of peace and prosperity, a brief reminder of the golden era of Carter is in order. It wasn’t all disco and flared trousers and sex without condoms. Also fashionable in those days were unemployment, inflation and communism.

The US jobless rate was more than 10 per cent. Inflation touched 15 per cent. Soviet troops marched unmolested into Afghanistan. America watched helpless as its diplomats were held hostage by Iranian revolutionaries for 444 days. In the rest of the world, from Latin America to Asia, American power yielded to the communist advance; economically, America was being bested by Japan and Germany.

And then there was the moment when the US President was almost felled by a killer rabbit.

Of course, if all one can say about as presidency is that it’s not quite as bad as Carter’s, that’s not saying much.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Of course, if all one can say about as presidency is that it’s not quite as bad as Carter’s, that’s not saying much.


  2. TheHat says:

    Not to mention his stupidity and blindness in his dealing with with North Korea.

  3. To be fair, a lot of the problems during the Carter years were fall out from Nixon’s stint in office. The economic problems were largely the result of Nixon’s socialist economic policies (e.g. wage & price controls). Our foreign affairs problems resulted largely from the end game of the Viet Nam war (both in terms of what the country would support and in the way other countries viewed us). Admittedly, Carter didn’t do anything to hasten the end of these problems, but I don’t think it’s accurate to blame him for causing them either.

  4. Steve Verdon says:

    While agree with the final conclusion, I have to say, “It isn’t Jimmy Carter bad” is pretty damn funny given Carter’s recent statements.