Somebody cruel asked former President Carter what his biggest failure was. His answer? “I guess my biggest failure was not getting re-elected.”
Which sort of misses the point, doesn’t it? Because from what I dimly remember of the time period – and have read since – Carter didn’t lose because of the hostages, or because of the malaise, or because of the stagflation, or even because of the killer rabbit. He lost because he was… well, Jimmy Carter. It was a package deal, in other words.
PS: Also from that interview: “I did the best I could, but I failed.”
“You did the best that you could” is what we tell our children in order to keep them from despairing at ever learning how to master the skill of winning, Mr. President. In an adult such excuse-making is highly unseemly.