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Scandals and More Scandals

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I feel it may be time to compare some recent Administrations to see if we can draw any conclusions. For the sake of argument, we will be dealing with the last seven Presidencies: Nixon/Ford (since Ford was never elected), Carter, Reagan, Bush the elder, Clinton, Bush the younger, and Obama.

There are several areas I'd like to base these comparisons on, and therefore it will take more than one article to cover them all. The first areas I'd like to compare are the areas of corruption and competency. First, a brief synopsis of the Presidencies in these areas.

Nixon/Ford- Corruption: can you say Watergate? The scandal that all other Presidential scandals are measured against. An attempt to corrupt the political process which failed miserably due to the incompetence of the participants. Other areas for comparison in areas of competency: economic stagnation and removal from Gold Standard, Viet Nam War, and tensions with USSR. Nixon did open relations with China but overall I think we can say this was an Administration marked by incompetence and corruption.

Carter- very little corruption here, although Billy Carter provided some small corruption to go with his entertainment value. When it comes to competence however, the Carter Administration set a standard that stood for decades. Inflation and unemployment soared at the same time, allowing then candidate Ronald Reagan to use the term "Misery Index" for the economy under Carter. Foreign policy failures including the Iranian Embassy takeover by Islamic militants which led to a disastrous failed rescue attempt leave this administration as one of the most incompetent in history.

Reagan- the Iran/Contra scandal mars the most competent Administration in recent history. (I would say trading arms for hostages pales in comparison to the Bergdahl situation but we'll see.) Reagan put in place the greatest economic recovery in recent history, brought the Soviet Union to it's knees, and restored both our standing in the world and our self-image.

Bush the elder- little scandal during his term in fact a search reveals almost nothing tied to his Presidency. Competence though is another thing. While successfully putting a coalition together that drove Iraq out of Kuwait there was little else accomplished during his administration. Sure the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended, however these were due more to Reagan's policies than Bush's. When the recession hit and Bush violated his campaign promise not to raise taxes, his Presidency was doomed.

Clinton- Whitewater, Lewinski, bimbo eruptions, etc. Clinton rivaled Nixon but couldn't quite equal him in the corruption department. He was extremely competent after the first two years and the quick recovery from the beat down Democrats suffered in 1994 and his ability to work with Republicans in Congress showed both political skill and competency.

George W Bush- little executive scandals, though the Plame affair where VP Cheney's Chief of Staff was convicted of a felony was a big story. Competence will be a point of contention for years as the economy tanked toward the end of his second term and still hasn't recovered. The Iraq War was also controversial and may be debated for years to come.

Barak Obama- I'm tempted to paraphrase the old Budweiser ad and note that when it comes to corruption and incompetency, "When you say Obama, you've said it all." The economy is still in the tank, our standing in the world is rapidly approaching insignificance, Obamacare is a disaster and yet the scandals are what overwhelms this Presidency. Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, Solyndra and others make our heads spin. The Bergdahl swap where a deserter is traded for five of the world's most dangerous terrorist just adds fuel to this Administration's inferno. Since the President always seems surprised by revelations of wrongdoing, one has to conclude that either this is the most corrupt or most incompetent Administration in the history of the United States.

When it comes to corruption and incompetence, there can be little doubt that Obama is number one.

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