Does anyone know in what ways Jimmy Carter failed as president?I'm writing a paper on how he failed.

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

President Carter meddled in Iranian affairs in such a way that he helped to create the Islamic revolution that still affects the world today.

"Facing an Islamic revolution, the Shah appealed to Carter for help. On November 4, 1978 U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski called the Shah and said the United States would "back him to the hilt." This would never be the case. Brzezinski insisted to Carter that the U.S. must encourage the Shah to "brutally suppress the revolution".

"State Department officials believed Carter should reach out to the Revolutionaries in order to smooth the transition to a new government. This was a deciding moment in world history. Carter decided not to take either recommendation and to this very day, the world is suffering the consequences of his indecisiveness."

These actions led to the taking of American hostages from the embassy in Tehran. During his presidency, 70 Americans were taken hostage in Iran, and they were held prisoner for 444 days, paraded before the press blindfolded in order to mock them and America in general. Because of his inability to free the hostages, who were released as soon as Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.  Carter was at the inauguration when he was told that the hostages were freed.

Unfortunately for Carter, he became obessed with the hostage crisis, and during the last 18 months of his presidency, he could think of nothing else.

In addition to the debacle in Iran, which dominated Carter's final months as president, immediately after inauguration, he slashed defense spending, doing away with vital programs, believing that diplomacy would work exclusively, the Soviet Union looked upon Carter's actions as showing weakness on the part of the United States.

"President Carter’s economic genius created the situation that, by 1980, interest rates stood at 21 percent, inflation at 13.5 percent, unemployment at 7 percent, and the “misery index” he coined during the 1976 campaign reached 20.5 percent."

President Carter's presidency was a domestic disaster as well, with unemployment rates skyrocketing, a growing oil crisis caused gas prices to soar, long lines at the gas pumps was a common sight, people were allowed to purchase gas on specific days according to license plate numbers.  There was gas rationing which caused long lines to assemble as customers waited to purchase gas on their designated day.

" Average gas prices more than doubled during Carter’s presidency, reaching $1.25 a gallon by election day 1980, or roughly $3.00 a gallon today. Carter’s price controls gave us gas lines, shortages, and rationing."

I was a young twenty-something when Jimmy Carter was president, and I can tell you that the feeling was that everything was wrong with America, there were no job opportunities, gas was rationed, the overall feeling was that things were bad and getting worse everyday.  It was a time when there was no hope of getting ahead economically, it seemed that every day of his presidency people feared what would happen next.  The hostage crisis was a dominant force that was closely followed by the  news media, it felt like we were all being held hostage.

I can tell you, that when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, it felt like the whole country was being freed from prison.  It was such a breath of fresh air, a joy a sense of exhilaration when Carter was defeated.  Reagan brought life back to the gray, dark desperate America Carter created.


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Carter's shortcomings as a president largely resided in his inability to counter the perception that America was becoming a weaker nation.  There are just as many facts to bolster such a proposition as there are to counter it.  Yet, the reality underlying both sides is that Carter was unable to counter this perception or mindset in the American public.  On the domestic front, a sense of confusion and chaos seemed to affect America's psyche.  At the time of his election, America had endured the haunting legacy of Vietnam, the disgrace of Watergate, and the befuddlement of Gerald Ford.  Double digit inflation as well as a gasoline crisis plagued he and his administration.  Combined with massive interest rates, the perception was that Carter was unable or ill equipped to navigate America with bold leadership through this challenging period.   Internationally, America's prestige and credibility was challenged all over the world.  The failures of foreign policy in Vietnam had been carried over into the international domain, where America's presence lacked the weight it once possessed. His challenges with Russian forces in Afghanistan combined with the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran created the perception that Carter was unable or ill equipped to navigate America with bold leadership through this challenging period.

Carter's successes were significant.  He did develop an energy policy that sought new and innovative means of decreasing America's dependence on foreign oil, and millions of new jobs were created under his administration.  Internationally, he fought for human rights and brought about a type of armistice in the war between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  However, the perception of failure and its corresponding reality was much, much stronger than Carter could ever hope to offset.  He was seen as ineffective, and unable or ill- equipped to navigate America through challenging times.

onlytoofar | Student

Based on information in the well edited "trilateralism",by Holly Sklar,President Carter made some decisiones contrary to the wishes of those who had the connections,know how and resources to get the unknown governor elected.The economy stank with very High interest rates and we had some wacky oil crises.Add to that the Iranian Revolution and the u.s hostages and the failed rescue attempt and its easy to see the good things he did and said were not highlighted.The nation needed old platitudes to fall back on and the perfect man to demonize President Carter was then Former Governor Reagan.There are more complex reasons why someone would ask the question you do and having lived through that time I for one have never felt That the Carter Administration was a failure,but I speak in a non judgemental or opinionated way regarding the Bad events and bad things that went on during that time to many people as a result of U.S polocy at the the time around the world.Oh, he also delivered a bad speech in a silly sweter by the fireside on live prime time which was a bad image it seems to me.Mchistory answer