Presidential Pool Bracketology: Obama v. Carter

March 12, 2013

Barack Obama (6) v. Jimmy Carter (11)

Another matchup of deeply flawed presidents presents itself here between two Democrats, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. Carter is widely regarded as one of the very worst presidents of all time, but Barack Obama despite and perhaps because of the refraction caused by a lack of historical perspective, is regarded by at least 51% of the population as a pretty good president. The rest of America, not so much.

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Carter tried a little too hard. James David Barber of Duke’s book “Presidential Character” analyzed the modern presidents based on their character traits. Carter reportedly invited Barber to the White House and spent the day carefully scripting his actions so as to produce what he deemed a positive analysis in the next edition of Barber’s book. He was not fooled.

Jimmy Carter, a lowly 11 seed in our tournament, is most known for writing thousands of useless cookbooks and self-help guides once he left office in shame after one term in 1981. During his presidency, he is most known for his platform for human rights. Largely, this was an accident of circumstance stemming from his campaign which polled well when he was seeking the Democratic nomination and needed to woo disparate parts of the Democratic Party to unify behind him. Read the rest of this entry »


March Madness Bracketology: The Presidential Pool

March 10, 2013

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In the spirit of March Madness, I’ve begun to work on a series (that will take as long as it needs to) of blog posts for a presidential bracket. I think it is a fun way to look at some of the lesser known attributes of some of our Chief Executives, to think about what makes a good president, and to perhaps rethink some of our own prejudices and notions about America’s political history. 44 presidents (including two Grover Clevelands) will compete in four different regions for the title of best president of all time. The selection committee has set the field, divided into four regions (East Wing, West Wing, Oval Office and Rose Garden Regions) and the participants will compete based on several criteria:

  • Problems that the president faced internationally or domestically and how he dealt with them.
  • Problems that he caused internationally or domestically and how he dealt with them.
  • How the president affected the prestige of the office or conducted himself.
  • Short term positive or negative effects of the presidency.
  • Long term positive or negative effects of the presidency.
  • How did the president upheld the oath of office?
  • How did he use presidential power?
  • How the president changed or shaped the presidency–was he shaped by events or did he control the narrative?

Fill out your brackets, argue about it with your friends and family, and then strap yourself in for this series. We will start the tournament off with the Rose Garden Region’s play-in games. Read the rest of this entry »


The Un-American President

May 25, 2010

A movie derived from Barack Obama's presidency is not one I care to see. How about you?

Michael Douglas’ portrayal of president Andrew Shepherd in the 1995 romantic-comedy The American President fully encapsulated the distracted and whimsical state of presidential politics that real-life president Bill Clinton practiced at that time. This romanticized version of the American presidency was rooted in some order of truth—the presidency in the Nineties was all about a womanizing megalomaniac who was too preoccupied by his personal dalliances to meddle with policy. That is, policy beyond that which would effect his approval rating. Leo Solomon, played by John Mahoney, perfectly embodied the political meme of the day with his shallow line: “politics is perception.” Derivative? Yeah, it was. But that was what it took for president Bill Clinton to sustain his personal brothel at 1600 Pennsylvania—surviving only through his penchant for buoying his poll numbers with staged walks on the beach and puffing out his lower lip.

So what would a movie about the Obama Administration be like? Well… Read the rest of this entry »


Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark

December 18, 2009

The most courageous of the world’s elite from 193 countries hop private jets and catch limousines to gather this week in Copenhagen to brave the blustery cold and the driving snow which has blanketed northern Europe in recent days, in order to mount a last ditch effort to save the world from the perilous consequences of man-made global warming. Though it may be too late according to eminent scientists such as Al Gore, these environmental martyrs will have to pack an extra pair of long johns because temperatures in Copenhagen have dipped to four degrees below zero this week and Denmark is set to receive its first white Christmas in 14 years.  This, on the coat tails of the coldest year globally in a decade.

I do believe I have solved the problem of global warming. Al Gore and Kirby team up to take on CO2.

If something doesn’t seem right with the world’s nare do wells debating the merits of confiscatory global taxes and punitively siphoning the wealth of industrialized nations to give it to “developing” financial superpowers like India and China to combat climate change, that is because it isn’t. God has a sense of humor though, as it seems every time Al Gore heads to Washington D.C., Copenhagen or some other large climate summit, record low temperatures, blizzards and snow delays are sure to ensue. The Copenhagen Climate Council’s Manifesto (hmm) clearly states:

The story of the link between human
activities, observed global warming, likely future
warming, and the climate effects of this warming, is
becoming ever clearer: our Earth is now heating dangerously.
That the primary cause is human-generated
air pollution is beyond reasonable scientific doubt.

Read the rest of this entry »


On the Other Hand…

July 4, 2009

Thousands of pages have been dumped into Law and into the Federal Register, un-read, since Obama took office.

Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison this week after stealing $13 billion from investors in the second largest ponsi scheme in U.S. history (Social Security being the largest). But what of Barack Obama and the 219 U.S. Congressmen who voted this week to steal $1 trillion inter-generationally through cap and trade? Not even counting the ’stimulus’ debacle, this Administration and Congress should, in a just world, be removed from office and sentenced to a similar prison recess. If not for the pain that these half-baked plans will cause our own generation, but for the next three, which may or may not be able to lift this oppressive tax.

President Obama said on prime time television weeks ago that worrying about the U.S. government’s finances “keeps [him] awake at night” and that the country needed to start planning now to tackle soaring deficits. In a pair of interviews on CNBC and Bloomberg television, Obama claimed to lose sleep over the Nation’s debt. Of course, that has not stopped the president from indulging his veritably narcoleptic tendencies, ringing up more debt in a single year than all the presidents in the 220 years prior. This has burdened the Nation with the largest debt in the history of the world. Read the rest of this entry »


Better Off Today Than Tomorrow Under Barack Obama

June 22, 2009

In November of 2008, Americans in record numbers voted for dubious terms such as “hope” and “change.” In doing so, we’re told, those who elected Barack Obama as the 43rd president of the United States (Grover Cleveland served twice—should we really count that as two?) declared eight years under George W. Bush an utter failure. But was it? What if we were to ask ourselves that infamous question from the Ghost of Elections Past: “Am I better off today than I was eight years ago?”

When Bill Clinton took the walk of shame in 2001, most Americans didn’t have a cell phone. Today, not only does every family have one, but nearly every grade schooler has a cellular appendage, and our mobile phones are now used to browse the Internet, play movies, and for your teen to send risqué pictures of his girlfriend to the entire senior class. When the dust had finally settled from Al Gore’s post-recount Ben & Jerry’s binge, most Americans’ web access consisted of a shrieking dial tone connecting them to something called Geocities.com or Yahoo.com. Today, we connect wirelessly to Google, Facebook, Youtube, and we twit at an alarming rate. Read the rest of this entry »