Although he is now backtracking, Jimmy Carter apparently thought it commensurate with his stature as an ex-President to call George W. Bush the worst President ever.
If that's true, it must be some relief to Carter. His feckless response to the Iran hostage crisis has the first mistake in our response to Islamic fascism. That's misery that must love company.
But here's how I see Carter.
A number of years ago, David Frum wrote an excellent book about the 70s. Even for those of us who were there, it was a great reminder of how truly atrocious that whole time was.
I am reminded of a scene from a late 70s movie called The Warriors, now a cult classic. The Warriors are a street gang from Brooklyn wrongly accused of killing Cyrus - the "one and only" and leader of the largest gang in the city . They are being sought by the police and every other gang in New York and are trying to fight their way back to Coney Island. Stay with me.
Mercy, a young women of dubious occupation, who has become a sort of camp follower (she says she's looking for some "real action"), wants to "get with" the Swan, the gang's leader, in a subway tunnel in Manhattan. (Can the comments on film school symbolism.) He refuses, saying that he doesn't like the way she lives. She pleads. "C'mon, Warrior." He cuts her off. "You're just part of everything that's happened tonight and it's all bad."
That sums up the 70s and the Carter administration better than I ever could.
(Although I once tried.)
(NB: Yeah, I know that Mercy and Swan sort of get together in the end, but, as I see it, that's the Clinton administration.)