Is Joe Biden Reimagining The Jimmy Carter Presidency?

Left: (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images) Right: (Photo by Eddie Mullholland-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Since before the 2020 election, President Joe Biden and others have attempted to draw comparisons between his administration and that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt — but the reality is shaping up to look a lot more like former President Jimmy Carter’s tenure in office.

Biden fostered that comparison as he made one of his last campaign stops in Warm Springs, Georgia, where FDR chose to convalesce after contracting polio. “This place, Warm Springs, is a reminder that though broken, each of us can be healed. That as a people and a country, we can overcome a devastating virus. That we can heal a suffering world. That yes, we can restore our soul and save our country,” he said at the time. (RELATED: HART: Biden And Carter — Two Peanuts In The Same Shell Game)

CNN senior political analyst David Gergen argued at the end of Biden’s first 100 days that the president was not the next FDR — but that he shared important similarities such as avoiding the “tendency to make big policy mistakes at the very moment when their team is least prepared” and the “inner strength” stemming from personal loss.

However, Biden’s policy decisions, and their effects on the American people, have likened him more to Carter than Roosevelt.

When it comes to energy, a chief issue of Carter’s presidency, Biden has already overseen a sea change that harmed the industry. The president’s day one hatchet job on the planned Keystone XL Pipeline left thousands reeling as their jobs evaporated at the stroke of a pen. When the Biden administration also put forth a plan to freeze drilling permits on federal land for at least the first year of his term, American energy independence seemed to slip away.

The Biden administration then insisted on keeping extra unemployment benefits in his American Rescue Plan, even as the economy struggled to rebound. Many believed the move contributed to disappointing unemployment numbers, as people who could have returned to work stayed home in order to keep receiving payments.

The result has been an economy that is more sluggish than expected — while prices at the pump and in the grocery stores continue to rise — all of which have raised the specter of stagflation not seen since Carter’s presidency.

Fox News hosts Pete Hegseth and Will Cain drew several comparisons to Carter in late May, just three months into Biden’s presidency.


“The New York Post is saying this is Joe Biden proving to be a master of disaster. More so than even Jimmy Carter. That’s the headline,” Cain said as he read from the op-ed. “‘Joe Biden is even proving more of a master of disaster than Jimmy Carter, it’s stunning how much success Biden has managed to reverse in just four months. The long lines at the pump, slowing growth, and rising inflation, it’s looking like the Jimmy Carter era except it took Carter years to produce disasters that this president has fostered in scant months.'”

Hegseth agreed, adding, “And Will, to your point, these are not crises that have been thrust on the Biden administration. They were created by the Biden administration,” Hegseth added. “Stagflation — the idea that you’ve got a stagnant economy, unemployment that doesn’t — even though you’ve got tons of jobs available, people don’t want to take them. And then you’ve got inflation coming. It hits everybody. It’s actually regressive.”

Fellow Fox News host Greg Gutfeld also compared Biden to Carter, referring to the administration as “Joe and Kamala’s Awful Adventure” and saying, “The 1970s called, they want their unmitigated disasters back.”


“Move over, Jimmy Carter, President Biden is looking like the one-term Democrat every passing day, gas lines getting longer, prices rising, everywhere you look chaos is expanding like one of Jen Psaki’s binders all under Biden’s leadership,” Gutfeld said, mocking those who had been offended by former President Donald Trump’s tweets. “What happens when the evil tweeter leaves? You get inflation, Middle East unrest, joblessness, a relentless crime wave.”

Republican Texas Sen.Ted Cruz drew the same conclusion.

But the real indicator lies in the “Misery Index,” which measures the combined unemployment rate and inflation rate. It averaged 16.26 and topped out at over 20 during the Carter administration.

The Misery Index fluctuated during President Trump’s term, averaging at 6.9 and spiking to 15 during COVID-related lockdowns, before dropping back down to 7.7 by the time he left office.

But every month since Biden took office, the Index has consistently ticked upward, reaching 11.3 in June. As reported by Issues and Insights, “The misery index is now higher than it has been (pre-pandemic) since the Great Recession. It’s also higher than the post-World War II average of 9.2. Under Trump, it averaged 6.9, the third-lowest of any postwar president.”

Although his tenure in office has only just begun, Biden seems more and more like Carter every day. It’s a trend that neither bodes well for his legacy nor his voters. A trend that chips away at any comparison between the 46th president and FDR.