I’ve been quite critical of President Obama over the course of his presidency. Earlier this week, for example, I wrote a piece in which I accused Mr. Obama of mendacity. So I take a back seat to no one when it comes to leveling harsh judgments against the president. But even I, an Obama critic, believe there are some lines one should not cross, some things that should never be said, some blows that are too brutal even for American politics.
I had in mind what Jimmy Carter, who ranks with James Buchanan and a few others as among America’s worst and most inept presidents, said about Obama. When asked by Parade magazine how he would evaluate the Obama presidency so far, Carter said this:
He’s done the best he could under the circumstances. His major accomplishment was Obamacare, and the implementation of it now is questionable at best.
This is, as Guy Benson points out, a withering indictment from Mr. Malaise. And on first blush, I thought, an unfair one, at least given the source. Who is Jimmy Carter to indict anyone on grounds of incompetence. And yet the more I reflect on it, the more I think Mr. Carter may be on to something.
What exactly are the impressive achievements of President Obama? The revival of the American economy? Surging job growth? The success of the stimulus package and the number of “shovel ready jobs”? Moving us toward energy independence? Reducing the debt? Reducing poverty and the number of Americans on food stamps? His oversight of agencies like the IRS? The Fast and Furious program? Ending America’s political divisions and unifying his countrymen? Perhaps his skillful handling before, during, and after the terrorist assault on the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi? His successes in Syria? Egypt? Iraq? Iran? Peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis? And don’t forget his signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, which may rank among the worst major government programs in modern American history, a failure in both conception and implementation.
So it may be that Jimmy Carter has a right to sit in judgment of Barack Obama. Which is among the worst things that could be said about America’s 44th president.