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Can you navigate the slumpy 70’s and restore the faith of the American people in their government? Or do “nice guys” really “finish last”? It’s up to you!

Jimmy’s Malaise

Unemployment: 8.5% Inflation rate: 9.1% Misery Index: 17.6%

President Nixon lied to the people and then got caught. Ford was more trustworthy but he lost credibility when he pardoned Nixon. AND THE ECONOMY IS AWFUL! Unemployment rate the highest since the Depression. An oil crisis emerged in ‘73 when we angered Arab allies by supporting Israel in the Middle East. This led to gas shortages, skyrocketing prices, and an overall rise of inflation (prices). High unemployment AND high prices?! That isn’t supposed to happen! It's a “double whammy” economic nightmare called stagflation. An economist came up with a new index to measure how the average American is doing in the economy, it's called the “Misery Index.” (M.I. = inflation + unemployment %) ) Divestment from cities have led to rising poverty and crime.

Context 1970s

Approval Rating: 67%

Unemployment: 5.8% Inflation rate: 7.7% Misery Index: 13.5%

America is feeling more optimistic. You (Jimmy Carter) seem the opposite of the shrewd and corrupt Nixon. They trust you! You are a small town peanut farmer. You served in World War II, and you even teach Sunday School. No one thought you had a chance in the primary, but here you are, the next President! All you had to do was give them your big small town smile and promise you’d never lie to the people. Americans loved it! Mentioning the Misery Index as much as possible also helped. People are sick of Ford, sick of Republicans, and sick of stagflation. We can’t wait to see how you turn this around!

Congrats Mr. President! You win in 1976!


Keep track of your approval rating along the way. If you keep making the same decisions as Carter, your approval rating will be the same as Jimmy’s actually was. You’ll see that down here.

  • Keep that approval rating up!*
In order to be re-elected in 1980, your approval rating needs to be at least 45% to have a chance. If you get to 50%, you are almost guaranteed re-election!
  • Fix the economy and stop stagflation!
If inflation keeps rising along with unemployment, you can kiss re-election goodbye.
  • Keep us safe.
Not only do you have to navigate the Cold War, but now, more and more, the Middle East is becoming a tricky region for U.S. foreign policy.
  • Moral Leadership
It's been a rough decade. Americans believe in you to make the right changes for America and the world. Voters liked that you were open about your faith. They claim to want a moral leader. Listen to your heart!


Please note…

  • Keep that approval rating up!*
*approval ratings are how you stay in power. They judge what the people think of your decisions at the time. This does not mean that a high approval rating means you are actually doing a good job. It just means the people think you are. Obviously, that is very important in a democracy, but, historians are going to judge you on the results of your decisions. Think long and hard about each situation, and don’t get too down if approval goes down. Maybe you are right and maybe historians will celebrate it later.

January, 1977

The Vietnam fiasco is over but the scars are still fresh. You want to help the nation heal. Currently, there are about 100,000 Americans in foreign countries, mostly in Canada who fled to avoid being drafted during the war. On the campaign trail, you reached out to younger anti-war voters by promising to pardon all draft dodgers. But what about the 2.7 million veterans who did not evade the draft? How would they feel? Should you keep this campaign promise? Record your decision: #1 Yes: Give a pardon to all “draft dodgers” #2 No: You can’t be expected to live up to every campaign promise. The economy is focus, don’t risk making people mad over this issue.

Decision #1 : Forgiveness to Vietnam Draft Dodgers?

Record this on your score sheet!

Public Reaction: Maybe you made the right moral decision? Either way, it was wrong politically. The White House was overwhelmed by angry phone calls about the pardon. Many people were furious. Senator Barry Goldwater: “the most disgraceful thing a president has ever done” Director of Veterans of Foreign Wars: the decision was “sadder than Watergate or Vietnam itself.” However, this decision is not going to make or break your presidency. There are bigger issues to focus on. The public still likes you overall and you have a nice little boost since the inauguration. We call this the “honeymoon period.” Experts think your honeymoon with voters would have been a little sweeter without the pardon, but let’s move on.

Approval Rating: +4% +6%

#1 Yes: Give a pardon to all “draft dodgers” #2 No: No Pardon

Decision #1 : Results

Stagflation: High unemployment and high inflation. Problem: the way to fight unemployment is to spend more and create new jobs… but the way to fight inflation is to spend less… this is done by raising interest rates so people can’t borrow money to spend on things like cars and new houses. Democrats hold both houses of Congress. Democrats represent the working class and people are desperate for jobs. Congressional Democrats want a New Deal/Great Society type spending plan to create jobs. BUT: economists tell you that more spending will push already high inflation into out-of-control inflation. They tell you to think about the elderly, their social security payment amount is set, if prices keep rising, they will become poorer and poorer. Record your decision: #1 Focus on unemployment: Pass a large spending bill to create jobs, FDR style #2 Focus on inflation: Support raising interest rates. There will be less money to spend, this will bring down inflation.

Decision #2 : The Economy: Stagflation NIGHTMARE


Jimmy’s approval:

Regardless of your decision, the rates will be the same. No Presidency policy will have an immediate impact on these stats.

Public Reaction: Either way, the economy is bad and you can’t fix it all by yourself and you can’t fix it immediately. Economists are very happy with you for taking a market based approach to get spending under control. However, Congressional Democrats and your base of the working class is quite upset. They are already suffering and this will raise the cost of a home and car and lead to more layoffs. The Middle East oil crisis is not solved so, gas is still high, meaning, even though this is the right move to fight inflation. It's still high! OH NO!

Your Approval - 3% - 6%

Unemployment: 6.7% Inflation rate: 6.8% Misery Index: 13.6%

#1 Focus on unemployment: Pass a large spending bill to create jobs, FDR style #2 Focus on inflation: Support raising interest rates. There will be less money to spend, this will bring down inflation.

Decision #2 : Results, April 1977

The hard facts: The Oil Crisis in 1973 was a disaster. U.S. support for Israel infuriated Arab allies who cut off the oil supply. Nixon was able to ease the crisis by getting Israel to agree to give back some of land but the situation is shaky and the root of our inflation problems. SINCE then, Americans have gone back to gobbling up oil like nothing is wrong, increasing demand by 2.1 million barrels a day. We are headed right back into another oil crisis! You need to address the nation. But what will you say? Record your decision: #1 Tell Americans to change their habits, drive slower, turn down the heat and wear a sweater. Commit to alternative energy by putting solar panels on the White House and invest in clean nuclear energy as an alternative for heating homes. #2 Show strength. Tell Americans not to be afraid and that they don’t need to change any of their habits. Tell the world that we will not be bullied. Take away unpopular lower speed limits introduced by Nixon.

Decision #3 : Energy Crisis

Your Approval - 3% + 2%


Jimmy’s approval:

Public Reaction: The people don’t love this. You seem weak. People want you to lead them to a better situation, not to be told that they need to change their ways. The wisdom of this advice will not be embraced by the mainstream public for many more years.

Unemployment: 6.6% Inflation rate: 7.1% Misery Index: 13.7%

#1 Tell Americans to change their habits #2 No fear. Tell Americans they don’t have to change

Decision #3 : Results, July 1977

Augusto Pinochet of Chile killed 40,000 citizens

Jorge Rafael Videla of Argentia killed 20,000 to 30,000 citizens

During the Campaign, you promised that “human rights” and not the Cold War, would be the “soul of our foreign policy.” What is that going to look like in reality? Since the 1950s, the U.S. has used the C.I.A. to prop up horrific authoritarian regimes that crushed communism in their country. This is messy business, but is preferred by the American people who want you to be tough on Communism, but also avoid sending Americans into foreign wars. U.S. backed right wing dictatorships are murdering civilians in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Chile. The worst abuses are in the last two. To complicate matters, overthrowing the Chilean dictator would mean exposing facts that during the Nixon era, the CIA was involved in helping the dictator kill civilians. Can we risk that exposure?! Record your decision: #1 End support to all human rights abusers, even if the CIA says that will lead to spread of socialist governments in Latin America. #2 End support of brutal dictators in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Argentina, but don’t touch Chile in an effort to keep the story of CIA killings out of the international press. #3 The world is a tough place, hard decisions have to be made. Stopping Communism is the most important goal, therefore, keep supporting these dictators.

Decision #4 : Cold War or Human Rights in Latin America?

The American public does not give you a lot of credit, but grieving people of Argentina will be better off.

#1 End support to all brutal dictators #2 End support of all dictators except Chile #3 Keep supporting these dictators.

Your Approval - 3% - 2% + 0 %


Jimmy’s approval:

Public Reaction: The American public is focused on the bad economy and not South American politics. However, overall they believe that Communism is bad and generally support tough measures against Communism as long as U.S. troops don’t get involved. To the average voter, you look a little soft on Communism. This move is popular with your supporters from the old anti-Vietnam voters. But leaving some dictators in power seems confusing and hurts your moral authority. However, you have helped to end Argentina’s “Dirty War” that has led to the disappearance and murder of tens of thousands of people and U.S. strength in the world was impacted at all.

Unemployment: 6.4% Inflation rate: 7.3% Misery Index: 13.7%

Decision #4 : Results, August 1977

Panamanians protest U.S. ownership of the canal.

In the late 19th century, the U.S. supported Civil War in Colombia after Colombia refused permission to allow the U.S. to build a canal through their country. By 1903, the U.S. was granted permission by the new nation of Panama to build a canal. The canal has been vital to U.S. naval power and the global economy. The people of Panama now see the canal as an example of U.S. imperialism in their country. During recent protests have led to deadly clashes with U.S. security forces. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (military advisors) are telling you that you will need a permanent presence of 100,000 U.S. troops to keep the canal secure. Record your decision: #1 Give the Canal Zone back to Panama as long as they promise our continued use of the canal. #2 Send 100,000 troops to secure U.S. property in Panama

Decision #5 : The Panama Canal

#1 Give up the Panama Canal #2 Keep the canal, send 100,000 troops

Your Approval - 7% - 2 %


Jimmy’s approval:

Public Reaction: Conservatives are bashing this decision every chance they get. “We built it, we paid for it, we intend to keep it.” Is a phrase used both by Senator Strom Thurmond and future political rival California Governor Ronald Reagan. 2/3 of the American public disapprove of this decision. Too many voters, this is another sign of your weakness in foreign policy. Then again, sending 100,000 troops would not be very popular either and could turn into a disaster if a war broke out.

Unemployment: 6.3% Inflation rate: 7.4% Misery Index: 13.7%

Decision #5 : Results, September 1977

Rev. Jerry Falwell, as rising leader of Evangelicals (part of the base that supported you) He is rallying support against IRS intervention in Christian schools.

The Brown v. Board decision in 1954 declared school segregation illegal. That did not mean immediate integration. Schools in Southern states like Mississippi and Florida were not integrated until 1970. Since the Brown decisions, over 3,500 private schools have been created in order to keep segregation. The Supreme Court ruled that the IRS has power to review practice of “segregation academies” and take away their tax exempt status (Like other religious institutions, Christian Schools do not have to pay taxes). Now the Court was saying that private schools would have to pay taxes if they refused to integrate. You have appointed a tough Civil Rights advocate as leader of the IRS. He wants to go after segregated Christian schools in the South. White Evangelicals in the South are claiming you are a “traitor to Christianity” and that you are taking away their religious freedom. Record your decision: #1 Have the IRS crackdown on segregated private Schools #2 Condemn segregation as un-Christian, but do not take action, fearing breach of your Constitutional powers (and approval rating)

Decision #6 : IRS, School Segregation, & Religious Freedom

Your Approval - 5% - 3%

Influential Evangelical leader Pat Robertson

#1 IRS crackdown on segregated private Schools #2 Condemn but take no action


Jimmy’s approval:

Public Reaction: If the economy was better, maybe you’d have more benefit of the doubt… but its not and people are (rightfully or not) blaming you. Evangelicals claimed that this was against their religious freedom and also “reverse discrimination” against White Christians. Carter hoped that northern evangelicals would respect the tough anti-segregation stance, polls showed that they were actually more concerned by what they believed to be IRS overreach. No one really likes the IRS.

  • Southern Evangelical leader Pat Robertson said President Carter had “betrayed Christian voters.”
  • Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. said “in some states it’s easier to open a massage parlor than a Christian school.”
  • Governor Reagan, who just bashed you about the Panama Canal won more support by claiming the IRS action had “no basis in law.”

Unemployment: 6.0% Inflation rate: 8.1% Misery Index: 14.1%

Decision #6 : Results, Spring 1978

Your approval rating wouldn’t vary either way. Both situations are bad. The working class might be able to live with a higher misery rate if they feel your programs are trying to help, even if the economy was actually worse.

If you choose option #2 : High interest rates to cut inflation

If you chose option #1 : large spending bills.

***Alternate Reality*** Unemployment: 5.1% Inflation rate: 11.8% Misery Index: 16.9%

Look back at Decision #2


Jimmy’s approval:

The fight against inflation isn’t working because of high oil prices. We are dependent on foreign oil so we can’t totally control that. Update approval rating: Subtract 8%

***Actual 1978 history*** Unemployment: 6.0% Inflation rate: 9.8% Misery Index: 15.8%

Update: Summer of 1978

Take one more look at Decision #2 : Stagflation. Your early economic choices are starting to take to make an impact.

  • Spending to create jobs is good for politics.
  • BUT, inflation is a larger problem. High inflation will cause more unemployment.
FROM NOW ON: If you picked option #1, things are going to be worse for you than Carter’s reality. Add a +2% inflation increase to every total you see. Subtract 2% from every approval rating from now on. If you picked option #2, do nothing, that is what Jimmy Carter did.

Stagflation: High unemployment + high inflation. #1 Focus on unemployment: Pass a large spending bill to create jobs #2 Focus on inflation: Support raising interest rates. There will be less money to spend, this will bring down inflation.

Decision #2 : Stagflation

Back in 1947, the U.S. State Department begged President Truman to not recognize the new U.N. created country of Israel, as it had no strategic importance. Israel’s oil rich Arab neighbors, key U.S. allies, however had much importance and they did not agree to the creation of Israel. Truman ignored his State Department. For him, it was a cultural and moral issue because of the Bible description of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East and the horrors suffered by European Jews in the holocaust. Arab nations have attacked Israel multiple times but cannot beat the weapons supplied by the U.S. and NATO allies. Arab nations responded in 1973 by cutting off oil supply and throwing us into an oil crisis and an inflation nightmare. That has been eased, slightly, but the oil crisis and tension in the Middle East is a constant threat. What can be done? Record your decision: #1 Attack Saudi Arabia and secure oil fields by force. Nixon seriously considered this. #2 Stop U.S. support of Israel #3 Attempt to broker a peace deal between arch enemy leaders of Egypt and Israel.

Decision #7 : The Arab-Israeli Conflict

#1 Attack and secure oil fields #2 Stop U.S. support of Israel #3 Attempt Peace Deal (IT WORKED!!)

Your Approval - 10 % - 10 % + 10%


Jimmy’s approval:

Public Reaction: IT WORKED! HUGE WIN! Not many people gave you a chance. You invited the leaders to the U.S. for a few intense days of negotiations, just when it appeared to fail, you appealed to each leaders love of their own grandchildren, their hearts softened and real peace was made! This ended the Arab-Israeli crisis, sadly there is still a violent Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the scope is more limited. US relations with other Arabs improved and gas prices would come down eventually… until another problem occurred. In the coming decades, American Presidents would go to multiple wars in the Middle East. These proved to be some of the least popular wars in U.S. history. Israel has important cultural ties to many American voters. Not only six million Jewish voters, who were mostly pro-Israel, but also Evangelical Christians who were increasing emphasising the the connection between Judea-Christian values. Cutting off support of Israel would not have played well.

Unemployment: 5.9% Inflation rate: 9.8% Misery Index: 15.7%

Decision #7 : Results, September 1978

Right: a student topples a statue of the Shah Below: a student holds sign of the new leader

A New “Oil Shock” The cheap oil no longer flows. The world just lost 4.8 million barrels of oil a day. It might be a bad summer. It feels like 1973 all over again. Oil prices might triple.

January: Your “human rights foreign policy” initiative had its limits. American supported a brutal and unpopular dictator in Iran, known as “The Shah” who cracked down on all dissent and was hated by the people. But, he kept cheap oil flowing to the West. Since the oil crisis was at the root of many of your problems, you kept your mouth shut about the Shah’s human rights abuses. Iran has now risen up in Revolution. They have replaced the secular Shah with an ultra conservative religious government, one that is very hostile to the U.S.

Update: Revolution in Iran 1979

Can you continue Nixon’s momentum?

Détente is weakening! Can you save it?! Nixon started a process known as Détente, an easing of Cold War tensions. Nixon’s shocking visited China to set up the first talks with the country since their Communist Revolution decades earlier. This led to surprising talks with the Soviets who did not want to get left out. In the end, Soviets and the US agreed to limit nuclear supply. Can you build on Nixon’s impressive legacy? Problem: After years of Soviet declaration since the death of Stalin, in response to pro-Democracy uprisings in Eastern Europe, the Soviets have decided to crackdown harder on the region. When you attack their record on human rights in Eastern Europe, they threaten to end Détente talks. Record your decision: #1 Continue to condemn human rights abuses in both Russia and China #2 Try a Nixon-like approach, forget human rights, and ‘divide and conquer.’

  • Go on a massive weapons spending spree
  • Invite China’s leader to the U.S. official normalize relations with the country, despite human rights abuses.

Decision #8 : China and Russia and failing Détente

The agreement between these two men would lead to the most remarkable economic turnaround in human history

Your Approval - 8% - 12%

#1 Continue to condemn human rights abuses in China and Russia #2 Stop talking, show force, woo China to isolate Russia


Jimmy’s approval:

Public Reaction: This decision helped end the cold war, wiped out extreme poverty for a billion, and helped to ease inflation in the U.S!! But for now…the economy is getting worse. This explanation is not going to seem very fair. This was a BIG DEAL, but at the time, people are only thinking about Iran and oil prices. You don’t get credit (yet). Later, many historians are going to look back and give you praise by pushing the Soviets into their final desperate acts which will end their empire. This decision changes China. When the Chinese leader returns to China, he will famously end Communist economic practices in major cities. You just brought capitalism to China. This is going to mean the cost of American consumer goods is going to drop. This will help end inflation! (Later) The Soviets will become desperate and launch a moronic invasion of Afghanistan to show strength. This will turn into a “Vietnam-like” experience for them. This expensive embarrassing Soviet failure will (eventually) tople Soviet Communism. Voters’ Perspective in 1979: You make friends with commies and Russia is getting stronger and you aren't doing enough while the world falls apart.

Unemployment: 5.8% Inflation rate: 11.3% Misery Index: 17.1%

Decision #8 : Results, February 1979

March 28: A ‘level 5’ disaster A new energy crisis is brewing but all hopes that nuclear power could be a solution…just ended. Across the country, people protest use of nuclear energy. Check Decision #3, if you choose option #2, give yourself a +2% ratings boost. Carter choose #1 and advocated nuclear energy. The Press is pointing that out and it's hurting Jimmy. At least EPA testing believes that the problem was contained before a major public health risk…not everyone is so sure. After Vietnam and Watergate, not a whole lot of people trust the government.

Update: Nuclear Meltdown at Three Mile Island, Penn.

Subtract 9% from your approval rating

Unemployment: 5.9% Inflation rate: 10.3% Misery Index: 16.2%

Oil prices are soaring. (from $13 to $34 a barrel over the next year). And a nuclear alternative is no longer an option.

Iran’s Revolution has caused a second “oil shock” (lack of supply crisis) in 5 years.

Update: The return of “Gas Lines,” July, 1979

Can you set the right tone?

Gas lines are back. Inflation is pushing 14%, an all time high. It's time for another “energy speech.” (like Decision #2 in 1977) We face the same problems but they are only increasing. You have retreated back to the Camp David, the cabin in the woods.You have assembled a team of experts, philosophers, and religious leaders. How can we turn thing around for America? You talk and plan. It’s clear, we are too dependent on foreign oil. The best way to cut inflation is very painful, raise interest rates even higher, which will make it even harder to get a car or buy a home and it will cut wages. Record your decision: #1 Tell a hard truth about America’s uncontrollably consumption. Tell them that no law can fix these problems. America has to come together and change its ways and commit to material sacrifice for the public good.

  • Also hire a “inflation” hawk at the fed to raise interest rates
#2 Play it safe, eschew confidence and don’t put the blame on America’s consumption habits. Once again suggest that people turn down the heat.
  • Do not raise interest rates any higher. That is bad politics.

Decision #9 : The Speech that will define your Presidency

Today, you can still buy t-shirts that mock the speech…

Your Approval + 4% - 4%

#1 Hard truth. Stop consuming so much! Raise interest rates. #2 Play it safe, repeat speech from ‘77. Don’t hike interest rates.


Jimmy’s approval:

Public Reaction: Today, this speech is known as the “Malaise Speech” (discomfort/unease) and for the next 40 years, it will be an example of how NOT to talk to the American people. No President since Jimmy Carter has told Americans they were wrong to consume. The next President is going to imply that American freedom means burning as much fuel as you please. The next generation will see energy consumption and fuel efficiently as a sign of weakness. The next President will rip your solar panels off the White House. BUT, the initial feedback was very positive! Americans said they loved hearing a President tell them the truth, not just what they wanted to hear. Letters steamed into the White House: “I agree! The American people are so spoiled, so wasteful.” - Woman from Oregon “You are the first politician that has said the words that I have been thinking for years. Last month I purchased a moped to drive to work which will cut my gas consumption by 75 percent.” - Man from Massachusetts “It is unconscionable that we Americans let our love of luxurie consume us as we consume oil.” - Woman from New York

Unemployment: 6.2% Inflation rate: 14.0 % Misery Index: 20.2%

Decision #9 : Results, July 1979

Record your decision: #1 There is nothing you can do. You have to wait out the Iranians. #2 Attack Iran #3 Send a secret rescue mission to attempt to rescue the hostages without risking lives of Iranian civilians.

The terrifying drama sent a patriotic surge through the county, boostings your approval. This moment holds potential. Now is the time you could show force and prove your leadership. Some experts tell you that if you bomb Iran, you will win the upcoming re-election campaign. But if you did that, what would happen to the hostages?

Iranian student protesters breach the U.S. embassy walls, Nov 4, 1979

Iran’s revolution just got a whole lot worse for the U.S. The old Shah was in exile and found out he had cancer. You allowed him into the U.S. for a short stay for treatment. Iranians mistook this for an attempt to reinstate him back into power. Students stormed the embassy in Tehran and now hold 52 Americans hostage.

One of the 52 American hostages.

Decision #10 : Hostage Crisis in Iran

Your Approval + 0% - 4% - 1%

#1 There is nothing you can do. You have to wait out the Iranians. #2 Attack Iran #3 Send a secret rescue mission


Jimmy’s approval:

Public Reaction: Through the winter, your approval jumped 20% as Americans came together in their outrage over the hostage crisis. However, with each passing day, the impatience grew. In April, you sent a daring rescue mission, but the plane crashed. 8 American servicemen died. It was a tragic failure. It is impossible to predict what might have happened if Carter decided to chose war with Iran. However, we can make a few guesses. In the future, the U.S. will get involved in multiple wars in the Middle East that each end up being more complicated than we had imagined. If your failed rescue mission is any indication, that war probably would have not gone as smoothly as planned. Plus, a new war just a few years after the Vietnam disaster?? Probably would not have been the right call.

Unemployment: 7.5% Inflation rate: 14.4 % Misery Index: 21.9%

Decision #10: Results, May 1980

Unemployment: 7.5% Inflation rate: 14.4 % Misery Index: 21.9%

To make it all worse, its official, we are now in an economic RECESSION

Your opponent is the Governor of California who bashed you over the Panama Canal decision and the IRS and private schools. Now he is having a field day with the Iran situation, and of course, the nightmarish stagflation.

The 1980 Election

Jimmy is somehow less popular than Nixon at this point.

“Reagan by a landslide.”

Unemployment: 7.5% Inflation rate: 14.4 % Misery Index: 21.9%

If your approval rating is below 45%, its over, you got creamed. IF your approval rating is above 45%, that means you showed what American voters considered to be a little more “toughness.” You didn’t pardon Draft Dodgers, you didn’t pull support from Dictators, you kept up the tough talk on Russia, you kept the canal zone, then you might actually have a shot going down the stretch. Set a random number generator to 100, anything 1-45 gets you re-elected.

The 1980 Election

“Jimmy Carter…was a substantive visionary success as a President”

  • Historian and Biographer Jonathan Alter
“Carter was the most moral man to sit in the Oval Office in the 20th century…and also one of the most unlucky Presidents of all time…“With the passage of time, history is going to look more kindly on Carter.”
  • Kai Bird Pulitzer Prize Winning Historian and Biographer
“Carter-bashers seem obsessed with style over substance…People only want the illusion of control…at its best, the Carter legacy was one of practical reforms that made significant improvements in American life: cheaper travel and cheaper goods for the middle class.”
  • Gene Healy, senior Vice President for policy, Cato institute.
“Carter was one of the most effective Presidents in the 20th century”
  • Stuart Eizenstat, former Chief Domestic Policy Officer

Quotes about Jimmy Carter’s Presidency

Carter was the one who beat inflation…Carter is the one who did the heavy lifting here, taking the risk of a recession in an election year (by raising interest rates) …Carter gets a very bad rap, particularly from libertarians and conservatives, but it's not entirely clear why…

  • Noah Smith, liberal economist, professor, author
Carter was the Great Deregulator, not Reagan…when it comes to actual deregulatory policies implemented, Carter did substantially more than Reagan. He deregulated airlines, energy, trucking, railways, telecommunications, finance, and more...Jimmy Carter was a better President than you think…
  • Paul Bier, conservative economist Foundation for Economic Education

Quotes from a liberal and conservative Economists

“I would never have become a Supreme Court justice had Carter not opened the judiciary to so many women.”

  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Carter nominated Ginsburg as a federal judge. Carter gave more federal appointments to women and Black Americans than all the previous 38 Presidents combined.

Quotes about Jimmy Carter’s Presidency

Please return to edio to answer the reflection questions! 1. For the past 40 years, it has been a major insult to compare the current President to Jimmy Carter who has been viewed as a major failure. Do you think this is a fair assessment? 2. Do you think opinions of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency will improve or decline over time? Why? 3. Give a grade and an explanation for Jimmy Carter’s Foreign Policy: _________ Domestic Policy: ________ 4. Pulitzer Prize winning historian Kai Bird describes Carter as “the most unlucky President.” Why do you think that is? 5. When we judge a President, which is more important to consider: how people viewed his decisions at the time, or the long lasting impact of those decisions?

Reflection: The Jimmy Carter Game