He's History's Greatest Monster!

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Last week John McCain compared Barack Obama to William Jennings Bryan. This week:

"You know one of his favorite phrases is that I would be a Bush third term. Well I think maybe his proposals could be Carter second term," McCain told Fox.

If we assume that McCain is being clever, it's a nice stilleto stab at Obama's relative weakness with Jewish voters. Jimmy Carter's been working these last 4 years (and arguably longer) to become a Goldstein figure to AIPAC-style Jewish voters, with the publication of Peace Not Apartheid, with his meetings with Hamas, and with slashing rhetoric about the Zionist state.

But if we don't assume that, what is McCain trying to do? The Obama-Carter comparison has been bubbling up on the right, sometimes to talk about Obama's personality, sometimes to talk about the political coalition he could build (for the right) if he failed like Carter, sometimes to talk about energy. But the salience to voters… well, is there any? Reagan defeated Carter when Barack Obama was 19 years old. The Carter presidency predates MS-DOS, VHS tapes, and Cabbage Patch kids. When the Simpsons joked that Carter was "history's greatest monster" back in 1993, and the people of Springfield tore down his statue, it was already ironic.

On second thought, this is an even worse argument for McCain than I thought: He's not rebutting the idea that he's going to continue unpopular Bush policies. It's almost as if the McCain campaign is an echo chamber of well-heeled Republican consultants with very few new ideas. I know, it sounds ridiculous.

UPDATE: To respond to the comments… of course McCain is trying to link Obama to bad memories of the Carter years. The problem is that Carter, like every ex-president, has improved his image over time, and the historical revisionism about his term has been going on for about a decade now. Yes, there are voters who remember every painful second of the Carter years and became staunch Alex Keaton-ish Republicans because of it. But stack them next to the 100 percent of the electorate that's living through the Bush II years. One argument connects with political junkies and voters who remember their history, and one argument connects with everybody. (The Carter revisionism has certainly been sped along by Bush's failures. It's harder to keep raging about the gas shortage when, in the here and now, you're paying $4 a gallon for gas.)

NEXT: The Age of Nixon

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  1. Another great Weigel post and vid link.

    Quibble dep’t: Last paragraph should have been left on cutting room floor. No need to state the obvious.

  2. Its the economy, stupid.

    Thats what the comparison to Carter means – “If Obama is elected we will have double digit inflation and unemployment”.

    It has nothing to do with personality, political coalitions or energy. Dave, did you live thru the Carter years?

  3. “Malaise Forever”

  4. It’s such an obvious reference to the perceived(*) failure of Carter’s policies to address the economic issues of the late 70’s that I’m frankly flabbergasted that Weigel doesn’t mention this.

    (*) Perceived because many historical observers blame late 70’s malaise on monetary policy far more than Carter’s policies.

    EDIT: robc beat me to it.

  5. Dave should do like I did, and ask his parents about the Carter years.

  6. I was wondering when McCain folk were going to get around to the “Carter Second Term” in referencing Obama. It seemed like the very obvious retort. Too bad the McCain camp’s idea of a timeframe for a comeback to anything Obama says, is two months after the initial retort.

    McCain is still going to lose the election (even as we still lose as libertarians with either a McCain OR an Obama-nable presidency).

  7. I think the Carter reference was also meant to remind people of our relation with Iran at the time.

  8. Sigh

    You know Carter gets a lot of crap for the economic fallout of the JFK, LBJ, RMN trifecta of inflation and in the case of Nixon price controls.

    Carter wasn’t a great president. He is a liar and a hypocrite. However, McCain would do well not to remind people of the 70’s – McCain shares Nixon’s contempt for matters economic and is likely do make the same boneheaded mistakes that produced double digit inflation and shortages in the mid to late 70’s.

    Speaking for myself, I am not looking forward to the coming months: my extended family will probably spend hours debating McCain vs. Obama as if it really matters. To me, the whole exercise is a waste of time; no matter who wins the election we’re still really fucked.

  9. I also don’t think there’s a lot of lingering animosity from the Clinton years. So you have to go back to Carter to invoke a strong negative image of a Democratic President.

    And as Dave makes apparent, there’s a good portion of the electorate which doesn’t have a strong recollection of the Carter years. Thus, again, McCain shows his advanced age.

  10. THE MAJIC NEGRO WILL FORGIVE YOUR MANY,MANY,MANY SINS, YOU DIRTY, DIRTY, DIRTY BOY

  11. Can’t you just be happy there’s a guy running who wants to get out of Iraq, restore habeas corpus, and could actually balance the budget? Someone who is smart enough to know a gas tax holiday is a dumb idea and has enough spine to say so?

  12. If we assume that McCain is being clever

    John McCain is a man of many virtues. Were I to begin listing them in order, it might take me some time to get to “clever.”

    I don’t think digging around for subtle meanings in John McCain’s statetments is terribly worthwhile. He’s a pretty straightforward guy.

  13. Is there any truth to the percepion that Carter was such a decent and good man that he was powerless. That he couldn’t/wouldn’t play “the game” in Washington and therefore was completely innefective?
    Yes, I am serious in my ignorance.

    Snappy vid btw. The autoharp thru a tubescreamer into a Dumble would have been keen

  14. I don’t think digging around for subtle meanings in John McCain’s statetments is terribly worthwhile. He’s a pretty straightforward guy.

    So basically he’s trying to find the last Democrat president who has a low popularity rating and has to go back a quarter century to do it. Seems reasonable.

    God, we are so fucked.

  15. I am in my 40’s and while I certainly “get” the message I can’t imagine that it will have all that much impact on anyone under 50 and for the under 40-crowd it will only resonate with those raised in Carter-loathing-Republican households in which the kids took what their parents told them to heart. And these people were already going to vote for McCain.

  16. And these people were already going to vote for McCain.

    Some of us are voting for Barr. Of course, my mom was a Carter-loathing-Democrat so I was raised in a mixed Carter-loathing household. I also was 7 when Carter came into office, so I was old enough to loath him on my own.

  17. Is there any truth to the percepion that Carter was such a decent and good man that he was powerless. That he couldn’t/wouldn’t play “the game” in Washington and therefore was completely innefective?
    Yes, I am serious in my ignorance.

    I second Brotherben’s question (although this board probably isn’t the best place to get a fair answer).

    And these people were already going to vote for McCain.

    I think the idea is that they need these people amped up enough to get to the polls.

  18. Who’s this Alex Keaton person?

    I kid, I kid.

  19. Yes, there are voters who remember every painful second of the Carter years and became staunch Alex Keaton-ish Republicans because of it. But stack them next to the 100 percent of the electorate that’s living through the Bush II years.

    Let’s not forget that John McCain is really, really, really effing old.

    robc, a “Carter-hating Democrat?” You mean, a Teddy voter?

  20. OMG, Reason knows that AIPAC exists! I thought otherwise, given the stunning silence on last week’s confab. Couldn’t you guys get AIPAC to sponsor Moynihan to go cover it?

  21. Like crazy old.

  22. Jimmy Carter appointed both Paul Volker and Alfred Kahn.

    McCain’s gas tax gimmick makes me think he would be willing to bring back price controls; tell me how Carter 2 would be worse than Nixon 1.7.

  23. Who’s this Alex Keaton person?

    He was a banker who was friends with McCain and then invested millions in junk bonds. Also, he hated Woody Harrelson.

  24. Carter has improved his image? In what universe?

  25. joe,

    I guarantee she didnt vote for Kennedy. Probably voted for Carter in the primary, anyway. I know she voted for Reagan once and regrets it.

    She voted for Clinton a few weeks back and is now shopping 3rd party candidates. She will probably vote Barr, but isnt a fan of his.

    If the GOP had been smart and chosen Paul, she would be voting GOP for prez for the first time since that Reagan vote.

  26. Bush and Carter?

    I have always found Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson to be closer comparisons for McDole and Obama.

    McCain is like Teddy Roosevelt with nukes, a larger army, and advisers who embrace empire very much.

    Obama, at least it is my suspicion will be like Woodrow Wilson, raping us domestically with laws and regulations and raping us again with numerous foreign interventions though not as suicidal as McCain would be with choosing interventions.

  27. Alex P. Keaton would have never been in favor of stem-cell research.

  28. Its the economy, stupid.

    I swear to Christ, we need to find whoever coined this and tattoo “I am a consescending fuck” across his forehead.

  29. Quick plug 4 my band:

    No, I don’t recollect no JFK
    But I remember Jimmy Carter and he was okay
    He had the Gary Sandy hair
    He had a disarming way
    Like Japan’s Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi

    [long passage on Japanese politics circa 2002)

    Cuz its hard to week tears for JFK
    Only meeting the cat yesterday
    Shaky in the grains of the siver halide display
    Set into the gelatin by Zapruder’s Super 8

    That song is on the If Not Why Not? album and can be downloaded (fee) via my sig link).

  30. Shem,

    I agree. I felt dirty using it.

  31. If Obama wants the troops out of Iraq, it’s only because he wants to send them to Africa.

  32. McCain is like Teddy Roosevelt with nukes, a larger army, and advisers who embrace empire very much.

    So, not really Teddy Roosevelt at all, then? Add all that stuff and all you have left is Teddy’s badassery. Hanoi Hilton notwithstanding, McCain is nowhere near badass enough to take a bullet from a would-be assassin and keep speaking for 15 minutes.

  33. I swear to Christ, we need to find whoever coined this and tattoo “I am a consescending fuck” across his forehead.

    Is it some sort of mystery that it

  34. brotherben,

    Carter’s problem, is seems, was that he did have an internal moral code which he wanted to impose, but knowing that there would be internal resistance to his ideas he tried to play his cards close to his chest. He didn’t trust the people below him and he tried to manipulate them in order to get his way. This became obvious quickly and resulted in many of the civil “servants” particularly in the security forces passively opposing him and trying to undermine him.

    The cashiering of Gen Singlaub was a classic case of this: he was the commander of U.S. forces in Korea but was kept ignorant of Carter’s decision to pull a significant number of troops out of the country. He was cashiered for stating in an interview that he thought such a plan would be a bad idea and that it was not the policy of the U.S. Of course, the people whom carter had told then went and asked him if he had been yanking their chains when he had told them he had made the decision, so Carter threw Singlaub under the bus. This of course earend Carter the ire of all the “anti-communists” in the govt. Singlaub had a lot of cred with them.

    Singlaub incidentally went on to be involved in supplying the Contras with weapons and apparently was shunted aside by Ollie North since Singlaub considered North’s preferred arms dealer to be a charlatan who provided crappy unserviceable weapons. He alleged in his autobiography that North was getting kickbacks from the crappy arms dealer to the tune of $200,000 1985-dollars. a lot of people made fun of Singlaub because in his testimony in Congress he referred to the citizens of the U.S. as United Statesians.

    Singlaub is also the guy who parachuted into a Japanese POW camp (guarded by a battallion of troops) with a squad of men and intimidated the camp commandant into surrendering to him (there was evidence that the commandant was planning to massacre the POW’s to prevent testimony about war crimes). Massively outnumbered, he and his men then held the camp for several days until reinforcements could arrive. He’s a very colorful character.

  35. Carter also deregulated the airline industry. Carter gets a lot of bad rap for economic affairs that were plainly either a) someone else’s fault b) an accident of timing. He f’ed up the Iran thing, but on the economy he was taken for a ride.

    Presidents get too much credit and blame for the economy. Clinton is a prime example who got a ton of credit for something he just happened to be president at the same time as (and to his credit, didn’t smother it in the cradle). Carter got too much blame and actually made some good choices that Reagan benefitted from (picking Volcker was a great choice).

  36. “I also was 7 when Carter came into office, so I was old enough to loath him on my own.”

    I hope you were being ironic because if you were not …. HAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHAHA!

  37. MP-Cut me some slack. I was 8 years old when it was coined.

  38. I have one overriding impression of the Carter years. I was a junior enlisted during the man’s administration, due ti rampant inflation and parsimonious cost of living raises for the military, I had to get promoted just to stay even.

    Of course that is not all Jimmy’s fault, there was a Democratic controlled congress, and the mess from previous administrations already touched on upthread, that deserves much of the blame as well.

    One other Carter observation –
    The Iranians released the embassy hostages when they did not to spite Carter, but for fear of what the US military would do under Reagan.

    One more humble observation (my last this comment, I promise) –

    The historical revevaluation of the Carter years doesn’t get him out of the lower tier of presidents. Reevaluation of the Ford presidency has been much kinder.

  39. P Brooks,

    There are 160,000 American troops in Iraq. 4100 have died there in about 1900 days. We have spent have a trillion dollars to date.

    It is estimated that an American-only mission to end the genoice in Darfur would require 3000 troops, which is roughly the size of the force in Kosovo. Zero American troops have been killed in combat in the peacekeeping/enforcement missions in the Balkans.

    Whether you like peacekeeping and humanitarian missions or not, it is beyond absurd to claim that a the difference between Bush’s use of the military and Obama’s is merely a change in geography.

    There are good arguments against such missions, but “not a dime’s worth of difference” is not among them.

  40. Mo,

    The Carter administration if my recollection is correct made a significant effort to curb the size of the government.

  41. I guess the real question is this: if McCain’s comparison of Obama to Carter gets major airplay, will it provide a net gain or net loss to his campaign.
    example: my folks love Carter to this day. If Bush the 3rd says Obama is like Carter, then Obama gets their vote. They, like many others are tired of the war, the economy, the percieved arrogance or the repubs. They are looking for a breath of fresh air, like Carter was in 76′. Like Obama appears in 08′

  42. I wasnt being ironic in the sense than a 7-11 year old generally doesnt realize how little power the prez really has over things like the economy (see Mo’s post above yours).

  43. robc,

    Your statement that your parents hated Carter when you were 7-11 years old and hated him “on your own” is ironic. Without your parents hating him, it is inconceivable that at 7 you would have as well. Had your parents loved the guy so too would you have. Had you been raised by bears you would not have had a clue about Carter.

  44. Carter gets a lot of bad rap for economic affairs that were plainly either a) someone else’s fault b) an accident of timing.

    Ditto George H. W. Bush.

    They have both seen their reputations improve, as people have been able to look back at economic history with cooler heads.

  45. MP-Cut me some slack. I was 8 years old when it was coined.

    Then that means you’re young enough to Google first and ask questions second. 😛

  46. FLP,

    hated? I never used the word hated. I think joe converted my loathed to hated.

    Personally, loathed was too strong, but it was used by someone else and I took it.

    My parents rarely agree on anything politically (except that neither want to vote for Obama or McCain – its the unity election 🙂 ) so any dislike of Carter I picked up on my own well before my mom got around to it.

    Heck, the lady across the street who gave me the Ford/Dole bumper sticker for my bedroom door (I had lots of stickers on it) probably had more to do with it than my parents.

  47. Dave you’re off the mark here. Carter is viewed as a naive, weak, and economically ignorant president by today’s standards. All the historical revisionism/ hard work Carter has been doing is a result of the disaster of his presidency. He’s working overtime to try and convince the American public that he’s worthy of being liked, despite being an awful president.

    McCain is trying to call Obama naive and weak for one, and a economic liberal with policies remaniscent of Carter. Its not just about Jewish voters. It could stick, becuase Obama has said/done some things that make him seem all three, and its certainly a less flattering comparison than JFK.

  48. Malaise Forever!

    Yeah, I think stephen above nails it. Obama is bringing back all the Carter economics and foreign policy: government intervention at home, weakness abroad.

    But stack them next to the 100 percent of the electorate that’s living through the Bush II years.

    During Carter’s admin unemployment and inflation were twice what they were over Bush’s term. We lost Iran to a bunch of religious nuts, then watched the Soviets invade Afghanistan in response to our unilaterally cutting arms programs.

    Lest people forget, that was the period when a lot of people thought we were going to lose the Cold War.

  49. I guess I am far more worried that Obama will be more like LBJ than Carter. Just like LBJ he could very well pass legislation that will stay with us and burden and bankrupt our children. LBJ passed medicare/medicaid, which is trillons of dollars in the red. Obama, with a willing democratic congress, could pass Universal Health care and a global warming tax in the form of a tax or a cap/trade program, which is just a inefficient tax at best. These may make Medicare/medicaid look tame.

  50. you’re paying $4 a gallon for gas

    The whole point is that you can buy all the gas you want for that $4/gal. There are no rations or shortages.

    But Weigel is spot on that the electorate’s memory is the equivalent of a 5 minute tape. Everyone has paid $4 a gallon, and remembers that it was $1.50 not that long ago. And they have no idea what Obama’s policies would actually do to the price of gas.

  51. and its certainly a less flattering comparison than JFK.

    “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — JFK

    “The best way to press Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future is to make it clear that we are leaving.” — BHO

  52. I’m an ‘Aipac-style’ Jew and Obama doesn’t bother me at all. Carter is a different story. My first political act, undertaken during the hostage crisis, was to scratch Iran off my mother’s antique globe with a penny. Carter didn’t even have the guts to do that much.

  53. http://www.pollingreport.com/wh-hstry.htm

    Scroll down, and you find the June 1-4 approval poll of ex-presidents.

    Jimmy Carter nets out at +27, meaning his approval rating is 27 points higher than his disapproval.

    George W. Bush has been getting about 29% approve, 60% disapprove, for about a -31.

  54. TallDave,

    We lost Iran to a bunch of religious nuts,

    That would have happened no matter who was in office. Unless you are suggesting that we should intervened militarily in the Iranian Revolution. Anyway, it seems to me that it was the conditions on the ground which “lost Iran.” I don’t think those conditions were the fault of the Carter administration.

    …then watched the Soviets invade Afghanistan in response to our unilaterally cutting arms programs.

    If I am not mistaken, the Carter administration started sending arms to various anti-Soviet elements in Afghanistan in 1979.

  55. Tell my grandparents that Medicare is hurting the country that they shouldn’t have it anymore.

    Tell my step-dad that he should have his Medicaid benefits cut, because it’s bleeding the country dry.

    Medicaid and Medicare are strawmen arguements propped up by Republicans that would much rather see their friends make money instead up helping those that need help… and Libertarians that really have no clue as to the ramifications that cutting such programs will harm far more Americans.

  56. Tell my grandparents that Medicare is hurting the country that they shouldn’t have it anymore.

    Tell my step-dad that he should have his Medicaid benefits cut, because it’s bleeding the country dry.

    Medicaid and Medicare are strawmen arguements propped up by Republicans that would much rather see their friends make money instead up helping those that need help… and Libertarians that really have no clue as to the ramifications that cutting such programs will harm far more Americans.

    ???

  57. TallDave,
    If the Wiki article is accurate, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was spurred on by Carter administration moves to suck the soviets into a Vietnam style debacle.
    Some have suggested that the 10 years there are what bankrupted the Soviets and ended the cold war.
    The conclusion being that it was Carter, not Reagan, that triggered the victory for the U.S. in the cold war. Reagan just enjoyed the trickle down.

  58. Old people suck, thanks for ruining the country you assholes!

  59. The Carter Years: Misery index approaching 20% (10% inflation plus 10% unemployment).

    Time magazine ran article about one of Jimmie’s economic press releases with the lede “More Mush From The Wimp” over Jimmies photo.

    One of Ronnie’s most powerful comments about Jimmie’s term was “You need to ask yourself: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” You young whipper-snappers probably don’t understand how devastating that question was.

  60. ThunderMonkey,

    Get them to read this:

    TM’s grandparents and stepdad: buy your own damn healthcare. Thanks much. If you cant afford it, give a call to your local church and see if they can help you out.

  61. “We” lost Iran because it, like the rest of the globe, is, of course, ours.

    Barack Obama’s foreign policy will be much more like Jimmy Carter’s than like TallDave’s. Let the record show that there is no disagreement about this whatever.

  62. One of Ronnie’s most powerful comments about Jimmie’s term was “You need to ask yourself: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” You young whipper-snappers probably don’t understand how devastating that question was.

    Oh, I think we do. I think that question is going to get a great deal of play in this election.

  63. Tell my grandparents that Medicare is hurting the country that they shouldn’t have it anymore.

    Post their phone number. I’ll call them myself.

  64. Oh, I think we do.

    I’m not sure you qualify as “young”.

  65. I’m too young to remember Jimmy Carter’s presidency, so I squeak by, kinnath.

    I’m hip. I know about you kids, with your e-pods and your tea shades.

    Chucka-chucka-chucka-chucka…

  66. kinnath,

    If the rather ugly 1983 recession had stretched into 1984 then we’d remember Reagan a whole lot differently. In other words, I think we can all agree that Presidents (and the Congress) have very little short-term effect on the state of the economy. Indeed, isn’t this why many economists are wary of the use of fiscal policy as a means to guide the economy?

  67. [“You need to ask yourself: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”]

    Yeah, I remember that. The answer then, as now, was: no.

    But given that Jimmy was 30 years ago, and Bush is still ongoing, I’m willing to give Obama a shot.

    The sad thing is that he might just very well preside over double-digit inflation and energy problems because it’s debateable whether or not we’ve truly reaped the results of the Fed and the government’s economic policies the last seven years.

  68. In other words, I think we can all agree that Presidents (and the Congress) have very little short-term effect on the state of the economy.

    Perhaps a few percent of the general population acutally understand that the president has almost no direct influence on the economy.

  69. I remember thinking that Reagan sounded really good on economics but was a total lunatic on foreign policy.

    Eight years later the Soviet Union was dead or dieing and Reagan had increase the budget deficit by more than all previous administrations prior.

  70. then watched the Soviets invade Afghanistan in response to our unilaterally cutting arms programs.

    This actually isn’t true. Carter was not in any particular hurry to actually use the military, but he loved weapons systems and defense appropriations increased during his term. Most of the weapons systems that came to fruition during the Reagan years were planted as seeds by Carter. A good part of Reagan’s defense appropriations increases were moving Carter-era weapons from the developmental to the acquisition stage.

  71. Mo and robc are dead on.

    My personal reason to dislike Carter was, as a 6 year old standing outside in the cold waiting to see the Nat’l xmas tree lighting, he then wound up not lighting it, due to the hostages. This would have been nice to know earlier in the day.

    His fundamental weakness was he was a inveterate micromanager. His closest historical analog in many respects was Hoover, who, in what I believe is no coincidence was also an engineer by training.

    He gets full blame for the way the Iran hostage situation played out, and enabled the Russians to be at their peak post ww2 power.

    But on the economy, he gets unfairly blamed. And in many ways gets insufficient credit. Taking the hard medicine of Volker’s policies fatallly doomed his election prospects for a second term, but enabled a more or less continuous 20 plus year boom. And the stuff like deregulation of transportation sectors was invaluable toward creating modern prosperity.

  72. My first political act, undertaken during the hostage crisis, was to scratch Iran off my mother’s antique globe with a penny.

    So, you wiped Iran off the map?! 🙂

  73. I’m too young to remember Jimmy Carter’s presidency, . . . .

    So Bill Clinton is the only democratic president you’ve experienced. No wonder your world view is so skewed 😉

  74. Kolohe,

    …and enabled the Russians to be at their peak post ww2 power.

    I’m not quite sure how that is possible though. By the late 1970s the USSR was in economic decline. Now perhaps they were perceived as powerful when they in fact weren’t, but that perception was going to fade sooner or later.

  75. If you’re looking for a President to blame for “losing” Iran, you gotta go after Eisenhower.

    The U.S. lost the Iranian people as allies in 1953 – it took another 25 years for the process to play itself out to its inevitable conclusion.

  76. One of Ronnie’s most powerful comments about Jimmie’s term was “You need to ask yourself: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” You young whipper-snappers probably don’t understand how devastating that question was.

    McCain had better hope Obama doesn’t ask that. More people think they are worse off now compared to the prior year than any time since the question was asked, including the Carter years.

  77. Carter also tried to kill the B1 bomber program, as I recall, in order to spend the money on more advanced technologies. What comes next in this series: B1…?
    Do you suppose stealth technology had any effect on the Cold War?

    Carter was fucked up- the stories about him scheduling the White House tennis courts are a prime example of his “hands on” management style, but I’m not ready to class him with the current occupant of the Nation’s NutHouse.

  78. So, you wiped Iran off the map?!

    Obliterated ’em!

  79. If the Wiki article is accurate, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was spurred on by Carter administration moves to suck the soviets into a Vietnam style debacle.

    Since this is also what gave rise to the Taliban and was a major spur to global Islamist militancy, does this mean that 9/11 and the WOT were also Carter’s fault?

    Dang, I knew I didn’t like the guy, but . . .

  80. R C Dean, since we were allies or at least business partners with several nations in the area, I would think that something after Carter must have happened to change their opinion of the U.S.

  81. “Taking the hard medicine of Volker’s policies fatallly doomed his election prospects for a second term, but enabled a more or less continuous 20 plus year boom. And the stuff like deregulation of transportation sectors was invaluable toward creating modern prosperity.

    Carter was even talking about decriminalizing cannabis. Then “Saint Reagan” came along and took that away from us.

    Am I better off under the present regime than I was 8 years ago? No! At least when Clinton was in office I was employed full time, now I’m working 2 part time jobs with no benefits. Bush screwed the pooch and with his hand picked cronies were instrumental in driving our economy into the dirt.

  82. …or maybe it was the opium they was all smokin, cause it coulnd’t a been Carters fault.

    teehee

  83. Scroll down, and you find the June 1-4 approval poll of ex-presidents.

    Jimmy Carter nets out at +27, meaning his approval rating is 27 points higher than his disapproval.

    Yes people approve of the job he’s done as an ex-president, they think he’s done a dignified job in the position but that doesn’t mean they approve of the job he did as president. Any comparison to Carter as president is a negative one, and not something Obama wants to be associated with.

  84. It’s a reasonable comparison if it causes people to ask whether the windfall profits tax on oil in Carter’s term worked. (And how the Synfuels Corp did, for that matter.)

  85. I was 10 when Carter was wrapping up his term. It is my vivid recollection Jimmy Carter was a farter. Oh, and he gave away the Panama Canal, whatever that is.

  86. I was born just a couple of months before Reagan took office. This message is completely lost on me and everyone in my peer group and younger. I barely remember Reagan…

    McCain can compare Obama to Carter until he’s blue in the face, and I predict it will have no effect at all on the droves of under-30’s clamoring to vote for Obama. To most of them (the ones that will bother to vote, anyway) the very idea of voting for a black president is different, while the idea of electing a rather old white guy cut from the same cloth as the previous old white guy is, well, not.

  87. So, you wiped Iran off the map?!

    That is a blatant mistranslation of what he said.

  88. stephen the goldberger,

    Here is the question that was asked in the June 1-4 2006 poll:

    “From what you have heard, read, or remember about some of our past presidents, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following handled their job as president.”

  89. “Taking the hard medicine of Volker’s policies fatallly doomed his election prospects for a second term

    Volcker was a good choice, probably the best thing Carter did as President, but he was appointed in late 1979 and the painful recession actually began in July 1981 and hurt Reagan badly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_1980s_recession

    The “Reagan recession,” coupled with budget cuts (which were enacted in 1981 but began to take effect in 1982), led many voters to believe that Reagan was insensitive to the needs of average citizens. Reagan’s approval ratings sank. In January 1983, Reagan’s popularity rating fell to 35%-approaching levels experienced by Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter at their most unpopular moments. Although his approval rating did not fall as low as Nixon’s during Watergate, Reagan’s reelection seemed unlikely

  90. “From what you have heard, read, or remember about some of our past presidents, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following handled their job as president.”

    I heard he built some houses for the homeless last week, so I conclude he probably did a good job as President.

  91. This actually isn’t true. Carter was not in any particular hurry to actually use the military, but he loved weapons systems

    “Democrat Jimmy Carter, reflecting his own party’s post-Vietnam skepticism of military power, called the B-1 a wasteful and unnecessary program and pledged to oppose it, if elected.

    When Carter prevailed in the November election, the B-1 program entered a new and highly uncertain phase. Ford, departing the White House in January 1977, left behind a long-range budget that funded 244 B-1s, but Ford’s over-the-shoulder bomber plan was of little consequence. Everyone knew the actual decision would be made by the new Administration.

    The more-dovish Carter took office holding strong views about national defense generally and manned penetrating bombers in particular. The new President believed the Soviet Union would react favorably if Washington unilaterally constrained its strategic nuclear programs.

    Carter, through Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, instructed the Pentagon to study the feasibility of reducing the US strategic arsenal. The Democrat believed he should slow down or stop programs that could derail superpower arms control.

    Most observers expected Carter to cancel the B-1, and, on June 30, 1977, he did just that. In explanation, he called it “a very expensive weapon” that was “not now necessary” because of the “recent evolution of the cruise missile.” Despite the efforts of Air Force and some Congressional leaders, Carter could not be made to see the value of a penetrating bomber.”

    http://www.afa.org/magazine/July2006/0706bombers.asp

  92. There’s a story that after he cancelled it, he asked a Soviet leader if they would reduce their own arsenal in reciprocation, who laughed and said “Sir, I am neither an altruist nor a pacifist.”

  93. It’s harder to keep raging about the gas shortage when, in the here and now, you’re paying $4 a gallon for gas.
    I’d rather pay $44 a gallon for gas than sit in line all day for a tankful, as I did when that tool Carter was president.

  94. That is a blatant mistranslation of what he said.

    First, it was my attempt at humor. Second, I don’t think I mis-translated (blatant or otherwise) his statement one bit.

    Here is what he said:

    My first political act, undertaken during the hostage crisis, was to scratch Iran off my mother’s antique globe with a penny.

    scratch off = wipe off
    globe = map

    Now, go genius tell me where did I mis-translate him?

  95. me thinks anon missed the joke there…

  96. anon,

    Ahmedinejad said “Israel will be erased from the pages of history.” It has often been translated as “wiped off the map,” and some people have complained about that.

  97. Ahmedinejad said “Israel will be erased from the pages of history.” It has often been translated as “wiped off the map,” and some people have complained about that.

    I think the idea is that erasing from the pages of history sounds a bit less immediate and violent than wiping off the map. Neither way seems that nice, but I think he sees the nation as some sort of misplaced Holocaust reparation and that is why he is so angry at Israel.

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