Eugene J. McCarthy was asked by Outlook to take the evaluation form distributed last week by White House Chief of Staff Hamiltion Jordan and apply it to President Carter. Following is a report card on the president by the former college professor.
1) On the average when does this person:
arrive at work: Reportedly arrive.
leave work: Reportedly late.
There is a plus and a minus in these work habits. The first is, as an aide I once had said, "Never trust an aide who gets to the office before you do and leaves after you do." 'The fact that the president evidently gets to his office before, say, Hamilton Jordan, and leaves only after Jordan has gone, is a plus. The fact that he works more than eight hours suggests that he is giving attention to matters which a president should not spend and time on, such as issuing passes to the tennis court, or that he dwells too long on issues of such magnitude that they are beyond his comprehension or control. Too much reflection on such problems can lead either to despair or to the development of a Messianic complex.
2) Pace of Work: 1 2 3 4 5 (6)
The ideal pace is, I believe, somewhere between 3 and 4. The fact that the president has taken up speed reading is a negative indicator. Anything that can safely be speed read should not be read by a president; and things that a president should read should not be speed read. A 6 rating is therefore very bad, possibly worse, than if the president rated a 1.
3) Level of Effort: 1 2 3 4 5 (6)
It might be better for the country if the president worked at something less than full capacity. I recall a congressional protest when Erza Taft Benson, as secretary of agriculture, announced that he was going to work night and day on farm problems. The protesters requested that he refrain from night work, since he was doing enough damage to farmers in a normal day's effort.
4) Quality of Work: 1 (2) 3 4 5 6
Measured against the president's own standard of nothing but the best.
5) What is he best at? (rank 1-5)
1.Attending to detail. One has to be attentive to small matters to be a successful peanut processor. The only agricultural process requiring more attention to small matters is raising chickens.
2. Planning. His original enemy plan would have done credit to Rube Goldberg.
3) Implementing. He does this even before the concept is clear.
4. Controlling quality. As in his appointment none but the "best."
5. Conceptualizing. With emphasis on adverbs to clarify the thought - as when he speaks of "consummating foreign policy openly and frankly" or urges that love be "aggressively translated into justice."
6) Does this person have the skills to do the job he was hired for?
No. Possibly the worst preparation for the presidency is being governor of a medium-sized state. That experience is likely to give the office's occupant an exaggerated sense of competence. It may qualify him to be secretary of health, education and welfare. But directing a state National Guard is bad preparation for dealing with the Pentagon.
7) Would the slot filled by this person be better filled by someone else?
I thought so in 1976 and have not changed my mind.
8) How confident is this person?
"Confident," by his own judgment. But . . .
9) How confident are you of this person's judgment?
Basing my evaluation on the president's request that all of his top appointees submit their resignations less than three years after they were appointedd by him - eitafter he had exercised his confident and sure judgment on their character and qualifications and found them not only acceptable but, in most cases, the best available - I suspect that even he must not be fully confident of his own judgment.
10) How mature is he? 1 (2) 3 4 5 6
His 1976 statement about the submerine service, "What I liked about being in the submarine is that it was embryonic," suggests some resistance to maturation. The 2 rating is based on that statement and on a comparison with other recent presidents.
11) How flexible is he? 1 2 3 4 5 (6)
His great flexibility was indicated early in his presidential campaign in Iowa when, after he had taken three different positions within 24 hours on the issue of importing agricultural products, he was asked to explain. He responded, according to the Des Moines Register, by saying that it was not possible to get all of one's "equivocations" into one speech.
12) How stable is this person? 1 2 3 4 (5) 6
According to his own account, once when he was standing watch on a submarine he was washed off the conning tower by a great wave, and then returned to the submarine some 30 feet from the spot at which he had been picked up by the wave. That experience probably merits at least the 5 on the steadiness scale.
13) How frequently does this person come up with new ideas? 1 (2) 3 4 5 6
Mr. Carter's claim to fame has never been that he had new ideas or good ideas, but that he could recognize a good idea, old or new, when it came to his attention.
14) How open is this person to new ideas? 1 2 3 4 5 (6)
15) How bright is this person? 1 2 (3) 4 5 6
He once reported a UFO.He is, some say, a "quick learner." He has read and approved what Ursula Niebuhr, surviving wife of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, calls "my husband's stuff" and also the poetry of Dylan Thomas. He has read Joseph Pechman's book on taxes twice.
16) What are this person's special talents? (list 3)
1. Prayer in public.
2. Moralizing. "These is only one person in this nation," he says, "who can speak with a clear voice, who can set a standard for morality and decency and openness" for the country. President Nixon also said that the president was the moral leader of the country.
3. Looking enthusiastic as he takes telephone calls screened by Walter Cronkite, even after Walter has said for the day, "That's the way it is."
17) What is this person's range of information? 1 2 3 4 5 6
This question does not set up proper standards. The range should be from "narrow and deep" to "broad and shallow." On that scale, I would rate the president a 6-plus.
18) How would you characterize this person's impact on three person? (for example, hostile, smooth, agressive, charming, etc)
I have met Mr. Carter only three times. The first time he was not a candidate. I thought him charming, like a child in the airport wearing a name tag. The second time he was a candidate. I though him smooth. The third time he was president. I though him hostile, but not aggressively so.
19) How well does he get along with
Superiors 1 2 3 4 5 (6)
He says he has a good relationship with God.
Peers 1 2 3 4 5 (6)
He seems to be on friendly terms with the two surviving former presidents.
Subordinates 1 2 3 4 5 (6)
Evidently very well if they present their resignations when asked to do so.
Outsiders 1 2 3 4 5 (6)
Begin, Sadat, Teng, etc.
20) In a public setting, how comfortable would you be having this person represent a) you and b) the president?
1 2 3 4 5 6
I would rate hims a 1 in representing me and, since he is president, necessarily a 6 in representing himself. But this may have to be qualified if, as has been said, Hamilton Jordan's decisions are now to be accepted as "though they were the president's own." Possibly Jordan should be rated a 6 in representing the president, and the president dropped down to a 4.
21) Rate this person's political skills. 1 2 (3) 4 5 6
Getting elected, a 4 (he nearly lost to Gerald Ford). In conducting the politics of the presidency, with the aid of such stalwart Democrats as House Speaker Tip O'Neill and Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, no more than a 2.
22) To what extent is this person focused on accomplishing the
administration's goals: 50 percent.
personal goals: 100 percent.
23) How capable is he at implementing a decision with which he may not agree? 1 (2) 3 4 5 6
He has said he will not carry out thing that Congress approves if he does not approve of them hinself. Richard Nixon made the same assertion, only to have the courts order him to administer the law as passed.
24) How well does he take direction? 1 2 (3) 4 5 6
From his wife, by report, readily a 6. From the vice president, by some reports, a 3. From special interests, by his own assertion, never, a 1.
25) How much supervision does this person need? 1 2 3 4 5 6
Somewhere between a 3 and a 4 - or the invocation of the 25th Amendment.
26) How readily does this person offer to help out by doing that which is not a part of his job? 1 2 3 4 5 6
The scale offered his inadequate. He deserves at least a 6-plus or a 7 for offering to help others - doctors, lawyers, businessmen, foreign heads of state - do their jobs.
27) Can this person assume more responsibility. No.
28) List his three major strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths: His wife, his mother, his smile.
Weaknesses: His brother, his chief of staff, his vocabulary.
29) List three major accomplishments.
His nomination, his election, and the fact that he carried on, or allowed to proceed, foreign policy initiatives such as recognition of China, the Panama Canal treaty and the Salt talks.
30) List three things about him that have disappointed you.
None. I found little in his record as governor, or in what he offered in the campaign, to establish a basis for subsequent disappointment. CAPTION: Pictures 1 and 2, no caption