Vietnam had effectively destroyed Lyndon Johnson by 1967. Watergate unraveled the Richard Nixon administration, as the disgraced president resigned in the face of certain impeachment.Gerald Ford could not whip inflation and was not reelected. One-termer Jimmy Carter was undone by the Iranian hostage crisis and skyrocketing oil prices.
For a time, it seemed that Ronald Reagan’s second term might not survive the Iran-Contra scandal. George H. W. Bush could not be reelected after he broke his promise not to raise taxes and Ross Perot entered the 1992 race. The popular Bill Clinton was impeached over the Monica Lewinsky affair and limped out of office tainted. The insurgency in Iraq and the fallout from Hurricane Katrina crashed for good the once-high poll ratings of George W. Bush.
The Obama administration over the last month has seemed on the verge of one of these presidential meltdowns.