50+ Reasons Why Jimmy Carter Was a Better President Than Bill Clinton

by P.J. O'Rourke

The American Spectator, September 1993

  1. Jimmy Carter had a nicer wife,
  2. A smarter baby brother,
  3. A less frightening mom,
  4. And a...No, we can't bring ourselves to make fun of the first daughter, especially since some of us have been going through an awkward adolescent stage for nearly four decades. But we can say: "Darn it, Hillary, quit fussing with your hair and do something about Chelsea's."
  5. And, speaking of coiffures, Jimmy Carter never in his life got a haircut that cost more than $2.50, if appearances are anything to go by.
  6. Carter had governed a more important state.
  7. Carter had once held a job.
  8. He came from a more cosmopolitan hometown,
  9. And had a more charismatic vice president.
  10. It took Carter months to wreck the economy.
  11. It took Carter weeks to become a national laughingstock.
  12. Carter committed adultery only in his heart.
  13. And, if we know anything about female tastes, Carter was telling the truth about that.
  14. As for military record, Carter was, comparatively speaking, a regular Audie Murphy.
  15. They were on drugs during the Carter administration--they had an excuse.
  16. We were on drugs during the Carter administration--we had an excuse.
  17. Carter looked--think back carefully, we promise we're telling the truth about this--less foolish in his jogging outfit.
  18. Jogging actually worked for Carter. Say what you want against the man, he's no double-butt.
  19. Carter passed out while jogging and the nation was safe for a moment.
  20. Carter was a good man to have on board when your canoe was attacked by a swimming rabbit.
  21. Carter hardly ever hugged or kissed anyone in public except Leonid Brezhnev.
  22. The FBI didn't kill anybody at Jonestown.
  23. Bert Lance could make a bigger splash doing a cannonball into the Camp David pool than Webb Hubbell.
  24. Hamilton Jordan could beat Mack McLarty at arm wrestling.
  25. Plus Jordan could get into Studio 54.
  26. Joseph Califano was prettier than Donna Shalala.
  27. And he opposed abortion (though maybe he hadn't met Donna yet).
  28. Warren Christopher was young and full of pep during the Carter administration.
  29. And Warren Christopher's initials look funnier on a brief case than Cyrus Vance's did.
  30. Zbigniew Brzezinski is worth more points in a Scrabble game than Anthony Lake.
  31. Jimmy Carter didn't play any Fleetwood Mac songs on the campaign trail,
  32. Or any Judy Collins records at home,
  33. Or any saxophones anywhere.
  34. The Undead:
  35. No one can say a word against a Carter Supreme Court appointee.
  36. Carter did not use Bloomsbury, Mayfair, Pall Mall, Hackney, Notting Hill, Shoreditch, or any other London neighborhood as the name of his child.
  37. One thing about Carter-era inflation, the money may have been worthless but at least we had some.
  38. Endangered Species
  39. Jimmy Carter's nervous smirk was less demanding of a punch in the snoot, even if it did present a larger target.
  40. Navy football team can whip Oxford's.
  41. Carter did not, as part of focusing on his agenda, address himself as "Stupid." He let us do that for him.
  42. Carter wore real blue jeans and not the Levi's 550 roomy-in-the-buns kind.
  43. Carter's poll ratings were higher (in Iraq).
  44. Carter walked the whole inaugural parade route.
  45. Carter saved America from a plague of Misha the Bear Olympic mascot toys.
  46. Has Bill Clinton helped the Shah of Iran get medical treatment?
  47. Carter spent his time doing things like figuring out the White House tennis court playing schedule -- the man knew his intellectual limitations.
  48. Carter had enough clout to get Lani Guinier appointed to the Justice Department (and anyone who gets shot down for holding Menckenish views about the excesses of democracy had to be some kind of friend of ours even if she doesn't know it).
  49. Carter let the Soviets have Angola, Ethiopia, and South Yemen. And, in retrospect, the Soviets deserved no better.
  50. Carter wasn't a throwback to the Carter Era.
  51. And let us not forget that Jimmy Carter gave us one thing Bill Clinton can never possibly give us -- Ronald Reagan.

Reprinted without permission. Converted to HTML by Douglas Adams. Any typos are mine.

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