A Striking Comparison of Presidential Candidates for the last Several Generations

I’ve written a lot about past and present Presidents and presidential candidates. If you look at the past several generations several things leap out at you, the most prominent of which is that the Democrats have consistently nominated really bad people, and prospered as a result.(1)

The only even debatably bad person the Republicans have nominated in the past 60 years has been Richard Nixon. And his problem was that he was loyal to his friends, in possible violation of the laws of the land. Loyalty to his friends… hmmm, generally that’s not all that bad a thing!

Anyway, here’s the timeline:

down arrow
Election Year Dem Candidate GOP Candidate
1960 John Kennedy Richard Nixon
1964 Lyndon Johnson Barry Goldwater
1968 Hubert Humphrey Richard Nixon
1972 George McGovern Richard Nixon
1976 Jimmy Carter Gerald Ford
1980 Jimmy Carter Ronald Reagan
1984 Walter Mondale Ronald Reagan
1988 Michael Dukakis George H.W. Bush
1992 Bill Clinton George H.W. Bush
1996 Bill Clinton Bob Dole
2000 Al Gore George W. Bush
2004 John Kerry George W. Bush
2008 Barack Obama John McCain
2012 Barack Obama Mitt Romney
2016 Hillary Clinton Donald Trump

The election winner is shown in orange highlight.

Now a little comparison. In this analysis, we’ll score only one thing: those times in which the worse person or the better person wins the election.


Victor: John F. Kennedy — wonderful, charismatic, young, handsome leader. Bad person. Everyone admits, now, that he was a serial adulterer, a lousy father and husband, and a machiavellian power seeker. He beat Richard Nixon, who was, at that point… squeaky clean. Besides, everyone knows that the human cost of the Kennedy family is through the roof. If you add in Bobby, Teddy and the rest, you observe a swath of human destruction as far as the eye can see.

Score: Bad 1, Good 0


Victor: Lyndon Johnson. Johnson was a really bad, a horrible, person. There’s an expression that sums up Johnson: He never won an election he didn’t buy. He abused people, slandered a profoundly good person, his 1964 opponent Barry Goldwater, and far worse.

Score: Bad 2, Good 0


Victor: Richard Nixon. Nixon was an interesting person. I’m not convinced that he was all that bad, but I’ll use the “conventional wisdom” (that has Nixon as a machiavellian power-hungry corruptocrat) for the purposes of this essay. Therefore, we’ll declare Nixon a “bad guy.” Hubert Humphrey was an idiot, but all indications are that he was a good person. So, we’ll award one more to the bad guys here.

Score: Bad 3, Good 0


Victor: Richard Nixon. Again, Nixon was an interesting person, but we’re using the “conventional wisdom” for the purposes of this essay. Therefore, again, we’ll declare Nixon a “bad guy.”

George McGovern was another leftist idiot — a Socialist in everything but name — but all indications are that he was a good — just idealistic, ignorant, uninformed and stupid — person. So, we’ll award one more to the bad guys here.

Score: Bad 5, Good 0


Victor: Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter is widely viewed as an almost saintly personage. Really, he’s an appalling, morally bankrupt cretin. You’d know that, though, only if you’ve been paying attention to this ghastly person after he left the Presidency.

Still, again, we’re using the “conventional wisdom,” and more specifically, the “conventional wisdom” at the time of the election, for the purposes of this exploration.

Carter won, but he beat Gerald Ford, who was widely seen also as a really good person.

One-half point to the good side, and one-half to the bad.

Score: Bad 5.5, Good 0.5


Victor: Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a deeply good person. Even the left agrees with this assessment!

Reagan won, beating Jimmy Carter handily, and that’s clearly a win for the good guys!

However… again, I’m using the “conventional wisdom” of the time for the purposes of this analysis. Therefore, I have to award half a point to the Good side, and half a point to the Bad.

Note: In those cases where I know there’d be a debate, I’m simply punting, and delivering half a point to each side. 

Score: Bad 6, Good 1


Victor: Ronald Reagan. Yes, Reagan was a deeply good person.He absolutely clobbered (49 states to one) Walter Mondale, a man all consider a very good person as well. They were wrong. After the death of the awful Paul Wellstone, Mondale proved later to be nothing more than a partisan hack. However, again, according to the rules, I don’t get to use the things I know now, only the conventional wisdom of the time.

Reagan won, but as above, I have to award a half-point to each side. That’s really frustrating, because Reagan will go down in history as the greatest President of the Twentieth Century.

Score: Bad 6.5, Good 1.5


Victor: George H.W. Bush. All acknowledge, no exceptions, the sheer goodness of George Bush the senior. I have a much more nuanced view of him and of his Presidency, but that doesn’t count here.

Bush won, and beat Michael Dukakis, a man widely perceived as a great guy. He was, and is, not. Dukakis rode a lie(2) to the Democrat Party’s nomination for the Presidency in 1988.

Again, that doesn’t count. Not known at the time. Half point to the good guys, half point to the bad.

Score: Bad 7.0, Good 2.0


Victor: Bill Clinton. Let’s face it: love him, hate him, or indifferent about him, Bill Clinton is a thoroughly bad person. He’s obviously a pervert, and obviously corrupt. And so much more. He’s a deeply, deeply bad person. This was well-known at the time of his first Presidential election in 1992.

Bill Clinton defeated someone whom history has later shown to be a deeply good person. If I could, I’d give two points to the bad side for this one, but the rules is the rules is the rules, and they don’t allow for that.

One more point for the bad guys.

Score: Bad 8.0, Good 2.0


Victor: Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was and is a really Bad Person. As mentioned above.

It doesn’t help that he defeated a profoundly good person in Bob Dole. A massively heroic figure from World War II, who suffered devastating wounds in defending Bill Clinton’s right to be the dirtbag he is.

Another point for the bad guys.

Score: Bad 9.0, Good 2.0


Victor: George W. Bush. Bush has always been seen as a really good person. Any points against that assessment tended to center on the idea that he was always particularly loyal to his friends, wonderfully supportive of his family and all the things that the American people recognize as “good things,” while the American political left view them as bad things.

Plainly, a point for the good guys. However, never forget that the media did their level best to portray Bush’s opponent, Al Gore as a great, intelligent, wise man, while they painted George W. Bush as a bumbling, inarticulate boob(3).

Even though it hurts my premise a tiny bit, I’m forced by the rules to award a point to the good guys.

Score: Bad 9.0, Good 3.0


Victor: George W. Bush. Bush is a good person. He defeated John Kerry, whom time has shown to be a really bad person.

A point for the good guys. However, as above, never forget that the media did their level best to portray Kerry as a great, intelligent, wise man (remember “nuance?”), while they painted George W. Bush as a bumbling, inarticulate idiot.

Another point to the good guys

Score: Bad 9.0, Good 4.0


Victor: Barack Obama. Obama is a hard-core, hard-core leftist. That automatically makes him a bad person. However, we can’t use that here. Obama was a completely unknown quantity in 2008, and was elected because of the color of his skin.

John McCain, however, was, and is, a profoundly good person. McCain was a man who underwent six years of torture at the hands of bloodthirsty savages, and even turned down an offer of freedom , because his men didn’t receive the same offer.

It bears repeating: McCain was, and is, a profoundly good person.

History has shown Obama to be a poorly-informed, ignorant, thin-skinned, power-mad, Nixonian figure.

The bad guys took a big point here.

Score: Bad 10.0, Good 4.0


Victor: Barack Obama. Obama, now known to be a bad person, defeated Mitt Romney in 2012.

As in 2000 and 2004, the media tried desperately do portray the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, as a rich, uncaring, bad person. He’s none of those things, but rather a really, really good person. There are dozens, hundreds, of stories of Romney’s rather massive personal generosity and simple goodness as a person.

To repeat: History has shown Obama to be a poorly-informed, ignorant, thin-skinned, power-mad, Nixonian figure.

The bad guys took still another big point here.

Score: Bad 11.0, Good 4.0


At the end of all this churn, where are we?

Well, that’s 60 years of American history, and in the vast majority — fully 73% — of cases, the American electorate has chosen someone who seems plainly — either at the time, or in retrospect —  to have been the worse person to lead the country.

Well, while the Republican Party seems to be in a position of power throughout the land — most states and state legislatures are in the hands of the GOP — the Democrats are the only party that appears to be at all defined, and structurally coherent.

It sure seems that, going forward, and as far as the eye can see, you as a voter will (1) know exactly what you’re doing when you vote “Democrat” in a given election — you’re voting for a really bad person — and (2) you will have no idea whatsoever what you’re doing if you pull the “Republican” lever.

Are you voting for a good person or a bad person?

Bottom line: since 1960, the Democrats have nominated people who were either known to be really bad people at the time, or who turned out to be really bad people. Here’s a summary:

  • John Kennedy — known by insiders to be a really bad person. Later events and scholarship show him to have been a really lousy person. History has not been kind to this mediocrity.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson — known at the time to be thoroughly corrupt, and history has only done further damage to his already bad reputation.
  • Hubert Humphrey — possibly the least bad person in the entire mix. An idealistic naïf, the best that can be said of Humphrey is that he was a idiot. A stooge for the American left.
  • George McGovern — He had to know that the policies he espoused would consign millions to a grisly death in Southeast Asia. If he didn’t, then he was an idiot and an ignoramus. Needless to say, it wouldn’t be the first time that an idiot and an ignoramus was selected to head the Democrat Party. See, eg: Obama, Barack. So, the best that can be said of McGovern is that he was an idiot. The worst: that he was a really bad person with the blood of millions of Southeast Asians on his hands. It’s important to note that these two clodpoles, Humphrey and McGovern, are quite possibly the very best the Democrat Party has had to offer in the the past 60 years.
  • Jimmy Carter — After his departure from the Oval Office, he has spent his career in the pursuit of two goals (1) getting a Nobel Prize, and undermining the state of Israel. Think how you will of the Israelis, there’s no doubt that Carter is a virulent anti-semite.
  • Walter Mondale — Another long-time Washington corruptocrat. Mondale was Carter’s Vice-President, and a hapless, brainless, undistinguished, vastly Peter principled nobody who found himself at the pinnacle of power, and subsequently the nominee of the Democrat Party for the Presidency in 1984. A towering mediocrity, Mondale was a puppet of the American left,and therefore, a very bad person.
  • Michael Dukakis — Dukakis rode a lie — an accounting error in his state’s favor, for which he took credit —  to the 1988 nomination for the Democrat Party to run against George H.W. Bush. He was, and is, a deeply cynical, corrupt leftist. A bad person.
  • Bill Clinton — do I really have to detail the stench of just people-crushing badness oozing from every pore of this man’s body? If the abuse of people were money, Bill Clinton would make Bill Gates look like a beggar. Oh, that’s right, the abuse of people is money for Bill Clinton.
  • Al Gore — This is the man who owns the Environmentalist Big Lie, and who’s made a fortune flogging it. A hack pop-scientist, hack politician, this man is a totalitarian wannabe-tyrant, concerned only with wealth and power, and willing to flack for the most disreputable bunch of junk scientists the world has ever seen: the environmental movement. A really bad person.
  • John Kerry — His is the same description as that of George McGovern, above, except that Kerry knew full well that his efforts during the Vietnam era, if successful, would  consign millions to a grisly death, but he continued all the same. Kerry was, and is, a real dirtbag.
  • Barack Obama — what to say about this doofus. Either he’s the stupidest moron ever to occupy the Oval Office, or he a really bad person. Either way, he defeated two men who were profoundly decent, good people, in John McCain and Mitt Romney. Note: as a real Conservative, I’m not a big fan of either McCain or Romney, but there’s no doubt they were deeply good men.

And that brings us to today.

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump.

Well, that one seems easy: The country seems to have awarded one point each to two really rotten people.

How did we get here?

— xPraetorius


(1) I’m a partisan Conservative. That’s my bias. You know that up front. I’ll use what I understand as the “conventional wisdom” at the time of the election as my “yardstick” for how I evaluate the score between the “good guy” and the “bad guy.”

(2) An accountant in the Dukakis administration, when he was governor of Massachusetts, found an error that resulted in something like $200 million added directly to the Massachusetts treasury. That massive, accidental windfall resulted in a surplus in the Massachusetts budget, and was the reason people spoke of a “Massachusetts miracle.”

Needless to say, Dukakis claimed full credit for “balancing the Massachusetts budget,” and everything else associated with the non-existent “Massachusetts miracle.” Dukakis rode the”Massachusetts Miracle” to the nomination to run against George H.W. Bush in 1988.

It goes without saying that the national media never investigated the so-called “Massachusetts Miracle” to discover what anyone who checked it out could have seen: that there was no such thing. There were local media outlets raising the alarm, though, and eventually it all came out. But, not before the election.

Of course.

(3) Another of those rare occasions in which I used the term “boob.” You’ll note that I used it correctly, and not in the slang sense.



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