Most Liberals along with many Conservatives were likely surprised by reputable opinion survey rankings where Barack Obama beat out Jimmy Carter as the worst president since World War II.
Out of 1,446 registered voters surveyed in the June Quinnipiac University poll, Carter’s approval ranking was four times higher.
Of the 12 presidencies since 1945, one-third of the respondents ranked Obama’s in last place, while 28 percent picked his predecessor. Even Richard Nixon who resigned under the cloud of Watergate scandal did better than both of them with 13 percent of those polled rating him lowest.
Obama’s rapid fall from messianic rock star adulation is truly epic. Having vanquished the powerful Clinton political machine in the primaries, he carried forward in the currents of a fawning mainstream media with initial rubber stamp control of both houses of Congress.
On the other hand, former Gov. Jimmy Carter and the Georgia Mafia he brought to the White House had adversarial relations with the media and Congress from the beginning.
It didn’t help that, unlike Obama’s glib Mr. Cool persona, Carter was a terrible speaker.
His nervous smile and habit of licking his lips when caught off guard by a reporter’s unexpected question didn’t portray a world leader image.
Carter and Obama exhibited some similar and diametrically contrasting leadership styles. While both can be characterized as delegators, at least with regard to policy implementation details, Carter was a micromanager who fixated upon rearranging boxes on organizational charts.
Failures to define grand visions or coherent plans produced competing and conflicting programs.
Obama’s ideologically-driven leadership style is quite the opposite. Lack of attention to his signature Obamacare legislation and its disastrous roll-out presents a dramatic example.
Just as with Obama, the Carter administration had inherited a recession and did little to improve a weak economy. After taking office unemployment continued to rise, inflation reached 13 percent, and interest rates approached 20 percent.
Yet in 1980, the year before Carter left office, it required average workers to reach 26 years of age before earning the equivalent of $42,000 per year compared with age 30 now. Worse, only about half now in their late 20s have full-time jobs; median household inflation-adjusted income is presently the lowest since 1995; 1 in 7 people currently receive food stamps; more live in poverty than in the past 53 years; and the national debt has reached $18 trillion.
Also like Obama, Carter had big Iranian problems.
A famous hostage crisis followed the capture of 20 U.S. diplomats who were held captive in America’s Tehran Embassy for more than a year. Carter's military rescue attempt failed miserably when our helicopters crashed into the desert killing about 30 soldiers. Iran immediately released the hostages after witnessing a no-nonsense Reagan sworn into office.
Carter, like Obama, overly trusted the Soviet Union. About a month after he negotiated an arms control treaty with Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet troops marched into Afghanistan.
His defense policy was erratic, and NATO allies had little respect for him.
Obama’s dithering defense policies are at least equally confused. He snatched defeat from jaws of victory in Iraq, betrayed Polish and Czech allies by pulling the plug on missile defense systems we promised them to appease Russian objections, and is currently reducing Army strength to pre-World War II levels and the Navy to World War I levels as Russia and China expand theirs.
As evidenced by the faded red line in Syria, failures to deter Iranian nuclear agendas, tepid responses to Putin’s Crimea invasion and involvement in the Malaysia Airline Flight 17 shoot-down , and passivity to Palestinian rocket assaults on Israel, there is little reason for enemies or allies to take Obama’s lead from behind effectiveness seriously.
This is equally true here on the home front as drug smugglers and illegal immigrants, including gang members and unattended children, are allowed to infiltrate our southern borders with impunity.
So which of the two presidents is better than the other?
If both have lacked management skills, sound economic policies and coherent international strategies, there is one area of failure that tips the scales against Obama.
Our nation’s founding document sets the primary responsibility of a president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Yet Unlike Obama, the Carter administration didn’t repeatedly ignore separation of powers limitations, didn’t allow (or encourage) the IRS to attack political opponents, or place actions of the Justice Department above the laws it is duty-bound to uphold.
Whereas other comparisons may be debatable, a failure of constitutional accountability upon which our nation’s highest office is founded trumps everything else.
Larry Bell is a professor and endowed professor at the University of Houston, where he directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and heads the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax,” and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada. Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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