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No, Jimmy Carter Is Not The Worst President Ever

I have heard and read a lot of people who think James Earl "The Rabbit" Carter is the worst President in U.S. History. The charge seems to be in riposte to his claim that George W. Bush is the worst President in history, supported by, well, Jimmah's opinion and nothing else.

Earlier this year, I began a comparison of U.S. Presidents, this time assigning upper and lower limits to each President's possible strengths and capabilities, then assigning quantified values to each of those traits, then measuring each term according to the most- and lesser-needed of those traits, and thus a matrix for hypothetical competition has been drawn up.

The matrix, which I whimsically call the Major League Presidents (MLP), is a "regular season" of 146 match-ups for each President, followed by a "playoff" of the top 12 Presidents, ranked according to "division" and overall finishes. Through 32 such match-ups, a general trend has begun to show, and I thought it worth mentioning here, however briefly. At this time, President Carter is in 33rd place, with a 9-23 record. Not impressive, to be sure, but then again far from the worst.


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Comments (21)

Clinton is Nero.====... (Below threshold)

Clinton is Nero.

Who's Napoleon?... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Who's Napoleon?

No, Carter was not the wors... (Below threshold)

No, Carter was not the worst President in US history (although he most certainly is the worst ex-President). What Carter was, was the first President to be really smacked by the newsmedia's post-Watergate mentality of filtering the news to match their agenda.

As just one example: Carter is generally considered an anti-military president. How many of the weapons programs that annihilated the Soviet-equipped Iraqi Army in 1991 were developed or first produced (or both) under Carter?

Clinton as Nero?No... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Clinton as Nero?

Not quite. Clinton is more analogous to Pompey Magnus. Both came from remote rural regions that were often the butt of humor for their nations. Both are willing to discard Constitutional limits if it means their self-aggrandizement. Both were relentless self-promoters (Magnus was a name Pompey gave himself.) Neither were particularly successful militarily, and both were willing to claim the credit garnered by others on the battlefield for themselves.

Ooh, a gentleman and a scho... (Below threshold)

Ooh, a gentleman and a scholar. Hiya soldier. I was thinking of Bill fiddling with airs as bin Laden lit the fires that burned New York.

Good point, wolfwalker. He... (Below threshold)

Good point, wolfwalker. He also pronounced nuclear as nukyular, an accepted regional variation. He was, after all, in Rickover's Navee.

wolfwalker:Yeah, C... (Below threshold)


Yeah, Carter should certainly get the credit for signing off on a lot of the high-tech hardware we ended up using in later years. Start with the stealth programs, and work your way down from there.

It's a shame he screwed up so much of the rest of his job.

Best thing to happen for U... (Below threshold)

Best thing to happen for US under peanut head was hockey gold in Lake Placid. Wonder if he was 'channeling' Herb Brooks?

He also STOLE the dreams of hundreds of Summer Olympic athletes with his STOOPID boyott of the 80 Summer Olympics.

"Yeah, Carter should cer... (Below threshold)

"Yeah, Carter should certainly get the credit for signing off on a lot of the high-tech hardware we ended up using in later years. Start with the stealth programs, and work your way down from there."

That is not true. Stealth technology research began long before Jimmy Carter became President. The first stealth aircraft the F-117 was first designed in 1973 4 years before Jimmy Carter became President.

DJ, your whole experiment f... (Below threshold)

DJ, your whole experiment from the beginning seemed like an elaborate scheme rigged to prove empirically that GW and Reagan are the greatest ever. Any credibility you strive for as an impartial seeker of the truth is forfeited daily by your worshipful rantings.

This is a nice match up and... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

This is a nice match up and all DJ, but what are your methods for determining outcomes?

Your results mean very little to me without an understanding of how and why you came to them.

If this shows that Reagan b... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

If this shows that Reagan beats Washington, it's ridiculous.

"2. GW Bush (31-1) beats... (Below threshold)

"2. GW Bush (31-1) beats Nixon, LBJ, Jefferson, Monroe" DJ from 32 matchups so far

Frank, this whole effort by DJ was an attempt to produce the results he had in mind. I doubt that Babs & HW would even find this credible.

If this shows that Reaga... (Below threshold)

If this shows that Reagan beats Washington, it's ridiculous.

Not to mention Ford beating Reagan.

Frank, ryan, et al, some mo... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Frank, ryan, et al, some months ago I excplained exactly how I developed ths system, and in fact I posted articles here as well on the primary qualities needed for a President. If you do not believe that I established the qualities based on the available empirical data and actual historic results, that's your right, but I dare to say that claiming anything after admitting you don't understand the mechanics of the system, shows your oiwn bias, not any which you would like to assign to me.

The MLP system is not intended to "prove" anything, but rather to explore the possible interplay of various skills and personalities in different conditions. The presumptions I began with, and said long before I ever set up comparison matches, were these:

[] Every President, whether popular or not, came to the office with certain abilities and skills which deemed him qualified for the job;

[] The needs of the nation fall into similar overall categories, but to differeing levels of priority; and

[] A President who does an excellent. mediocre, or poor job in one set of conditions may have seen different results under other conditions.

To the best of my knowledge, my system is the only one to even attempt comparison with these elements in mind.

Paul, Brian and Weider. Wh... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Paul, Brian and Weider. Why don't you three wander on over to wizbang Blue? Over there, you can lie and someone will swear to it.

Looks like a huge waste of ... (Below threshold)

Looks like a huge waste of time to me, but I guess it's as good as any other.

Carter reduced military spe... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Carter reduced military spending to such an extent that readiness suffered and a significant percentage of equipment was in dry dock, grounded or limited by lack of spare parts, ammo, and specialists to run and maintain them.

Retention rates for key positions were very low which is why Reagan raised pay several times while rebuilding our military.

If you want to know about the success in the first Gulf war, try the all volunteer force and the retention and training levels that went with it, and the increase in spending all through the Reagan years.

It is almost never possible for any administration to take sole credit for a weapons system because they take so long to develop. Stealth, for example, must be credited to a series of administrations and committee chairs. The best that could be said for the Carter years is that they didn't kill everything.

Any positive military impact during the Carter years (and there were few) could be more directly attributed to the conservative Southern Senators and House members of whom there were then several left. (Stennis, Nunn, et al).

Although Carter was a nuclear engineer and served in a nuclear Navy, he was very anti-nuke placing many restrictions on industry development that we still suffer from today:

1978, Carter signs new regulations:


2007, First new site approval since then:


Carter killed nuclear power for thirty years. France meanwhile now gets 50% of their electricity from nuclear.

Ragshaft, if you honestly b... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Ragshaft, if you honestly believe that Reagan was a better president than Washington, then attempts at rational discussion with you would be pointless.

Ditto with the idea that B43 is better than Jefferson, who is my personal pick for best president ever.

Paul let us compare accompl... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Paul let us compare accomplishments. Washington, father of our country, refused to take the pay a President is supposed to get asking instead that his expenses be paid. He fucked the country out of several time what he would have been paid as President. As a General of American revolutionary forces, he was great. As President, he did not accomplish much except be first. Ronald Reagan was instramental in the liberation of eastern Europe from the boot of Communist and helped end the Soviet Union and their foolish experiment with communism. He returned to its rightful place as the beacon of freedom for the world to see, and in some cases hate. It is very difficult to compare Presidents who lived at such different times, but Washington never had the responsibility of the nuclear football.

Actually, I think that D... (Below threshold)
Sabba Hillel:

Actually, I think that Dhimmi Carter was just being "modest" in not putting himself at the bottom.






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