This Is a Blog: The Donkey Party is Over

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Donkey Party is Over

Part 11 of 12: Carter to H.W. Bush

The Republican Party dominated presidential politics from Lincoln right up to FDR, losing only 4 of 18 elections. The Democrats won 7 of the next 9 elections. The 10th and 11th elections were won by Nixon, who fucked up the entire executive branch of government by casting a shadow of corruption over the presidency. Seriously, all Carter had to do was not fuck things up, and Democrats could have run the country until the end of time...

James Earl Carter, Jr. (Governor, Democrat) 1977-1981 (1 full term) VP: Walter Mondale; FL: wife Rosalynn

... But Carter fucked up big time. It took him 3 years to figure out how presidenting worked. No one in Washington liked, or really respected him, even prominent members of his own party. He is the embodiment of good intentions backed up by less than zero political ability. By the time he got his footing, he had already pissed off everyone, started a gas shortage, and got a bunch of people kidnapped. At least he won a Nobel Prize, eventually.

Ronald Wilson Reagan (Governor, Republican) 1981-1989 (2 full terms) VP: George Bush; FL: wife Nancy

Had Reagan not spent the 20’s dreaming about becoming a movie star, he might have noticed that President Coolidge spent his time in office spending and deregulating the country into the Great Depression. Reagan, like Coolidge, was wildly popular, but he was all talk. Anyone can look at a calendar and claim Reagan freed the hostages in Iran and ended the Cold War, but look closer, and you’ll see that it's probable Reagan was barely aware of what was going on around him. All that tough talk people attribute to Reagan was just Hollywood grand standing, and if the Russians weren’t so weak to begin with, the Soviet Union would never have fallen. Despite rumors to the contrary, Reagan was not a great president. He was a great Republican, and his party has every right to credit him with pulling them out of the gutter.

George Herbert Walker Bush (VP, Republican) 1989-1993 (1 full term) VP: Dan Quayle; FL: wife Barbara

For all the flack he gets for flip-flopping on “read my lips,” Bush was an amazing half a president. His tax policy was just one example of his inability to lead at home. His foreign policy, however, was unmatched. His strong, wise leadership helped transition the world out of the Cold War. The man marched an international coalition into a a foreign nation that hadn’t declared war on any of them, and left without destabilizing the entire region. That takes cojones. That’s the double-edged sword of modern presidential politics. You can be a brilliant leader of the free world, but if you can’t match that by being the loving father of the US, you won’t get re-elected.

Next Up – Clinton to Obama: The Shit You Actually Remember

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