It has occurred to me that there are four types of government administrations:
1. Moral and Competent
2. Corrupt and Competent
3. Moral and Incompetent
4. Corrupt and Incompetent
I would place the Reagan Administration in category 1: moral because it opposed communism and believed in increasing Americans’ personal and financial freedoms; and competent because it actually accomplished its goals of rolling back communismworldwide and vastly expanding economic activity through tax cuts.
I would place the Nixon Administration in category 2: corrupt because of Watergate and Nixon’s paranoia/enemies list; and competent because it actually brought an end to the the Vietnam War by forcing North Vietnam to the negotiating table on the strength of massive military strikes.
I would place the Carter Administration in category 3: moral (in a certain sense) because Carter – although preachy and self-righteous – seemed to genuinely desire the expansion of peace in the world, and was not overtly mired in any major scandals; and incompetent because, well, where do you start? Iran hostages/growth of Muslim terrorism, Soviet expansionism, “stagflation,” sky-high interest rates, gas lines …
As for category 4, as the line goes from “Highlander”: “There can be only one.”