Deregulation

Get Carter

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You could tell by the way he used his walk

"Comparisons between the Obama White House and the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter are increasingly being made," writes John Fund in today's Wall Street Journal, "and by Democrats." A list of interesting examples ensues.

Meanwhile, Cato's Gene Healy, writing in the D.C. Examiner, wishes that Obama could be as good as the undead peanut farmer:

Too often […] Carter critics descend into hyperbole. Last month, a Rightwingnews.com poll of conservative bloggers ranked Carter as "the worst American of all time"—beating Benedict Arnold and the Rosenbergs, spies who gave Stalin the A-bomb. In a recent column, Karl Rove bashed President Obama with a Carter comparison: "weak and radical at the same time."

That's half right—and half ridiculous. Carter was a weak president, but he was anything but radical. In fact, in "Recarving Rushmore," his 2009 book re-ranking the presidents based on small-government criteria, Ivan Eland calls him "surprisingly the first conservative chief executive since Calvin Coolidge."

An impishly provocative assessment—but there's a lot to be said for it.

Whole thing here. Reason on Carter's deregulatory record here. Nick Gillespie and I made the Carter comparison–and some inaccurate legislative predictions–back in July 2009.

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  1. The list of his accomplishments as president is surprisingly impressive. His leadership as the face of the nation was not. As a “mixed bag”, that puts him well into the top third of presidents, as most of them were total catastrophes.

    1. Carter; deregulation; homebrew; this seems like an appropriate place to jack a thread . . . .

      For robc and the other homebrewers watch the chick at Slate make beer, then place you face firmly in your plam.

      http://www.slate.com/id/2268214/

  2. Major Carter accomplishments include:
    1. De-criminalized home brewing.
    2. Fired A Burns and appointed P. Volcker to the Fed.
    3. Trucking deregulation.
    4. Air transportation deregulation.
    5. Natural gas deregulation.

    These were all successful because they were all moves in the libertarian direction.

    Pretty much everything else was in the opposite direction and failed miserably.

    1. Interesting that he deregulated natural gas and yet left price controls on oil in place? I’m too young to remember that – is there something I’m missing?

    2. Banning reprocessing of nuclear fuel. A big failure in the “move in the opposite direction”.

      1. One his most disastrous failures, at that.

    3. 1. De-criminalized home brewing.
      2. Fired A Burns and appointed P. Volcker to the Fed.
      3. Trucking deregulation.
      4. Air transportation deregulation.
      5. Natural gas deregulation.

      Do not forget supporting the mujahadeen in Afghanistan.

    4. And don’t forget, he killed disco.

  3. Get Carter

    You should get the banhammer for disrespecting this blog by referencing that movie. I can think of maybe three movies in my life that I’ve walked out on in the theater, and that’s one of them.

    1. The original with Michael Caine wasn’t too bad. But yeah, the remake was an abomination.

      1. The original is one of the best gangster movies ever made.

        1. The original is definitely worth watching. As far as remakes go, I recommend the blaxploitation version.

          1. the original is best, but the stallone remake was surprisingly artful.

            1. surprisingly artful

              I’m thinking this is a typo.

  4. ‘Rightwingnews.com poll of conservative bloggers ranked Carter as “the worst American of all time”‘

    This is a sad commentary on the utter absence of historical perspective among conservative bloggers.

  5. Interesting article. The beer thing was news to me. I’ll have to hoist one for the old fool.

    1. ??????

      Carter is the patron saint of the homebrewer. I always figured he did it as a favor to Billy.

      1. Here’s to BILLY!

        1. “People who have never bought guns before are buying them now.”

    2. Like Homer said, “We elected the wrong Carter”

  6. Ironically enough, the president you’d never want to have a beer with brought you better beer

    Of the living presidents, he is probably the one I would most want to have a beer with. What has Healy been smoking?

    1. At the end of the beer I would punch him in the face for ending nuke fuel reprocessing, but still, I would have the beer with him.

    2. Of the living presidents,

      Well, almost living.

    3. If we’re talking about sitting down in a bar and throwing back some brews, I would think you could do worse than Bill Clinton. Who I think is an odious human being, but in my experience “odious human being” and “drinking buddy” are not exactly polar opposites.

      1. See, that is exactly my last choice. I remember in 1992 people talking about him being a guy you could drink a beer with, even people who werent going to vote for him, and I was thinking “Are you fucking nutz?”

        Of the living presidents:

        Carter, Bush 1, Obama, Bush 2, Clinton would be my order. Ugh, thats a crappy list of living presidents. Zombie Ford goes between Bush 1 and Obama.

        1. Another early 1992 story (or maybe it was late 1991) – I was watching the 7 dwarves democratic debate (back when there was no chance for Bush to lose reelection) and my response as end of it was “I dont know who is going to win the primary, but it wont be that Clinton guy, he is so scummy no one will vote for him”.

          Jerry Brown, Paul Tsongas, Douglas Wilder…really you picked Clinton?

        2. Did you actually see Obama’s “beer summit” photos?

          You’d have more fun in a North Korean prison.

  7. I haven’t read the article, but I guess this means that Obama is going the way of, “He’s a nice guy and a bumbler… who means well.”

  8. Benedict Arnold conspired with the Rosenbergs to hand over information on our nuclear program to Stalin?

    1. That bastard never stops screwing America over.

  9. Carter was a member of the Bee Gees? During the earlier, more rock-like iteration or during the disco mess?

    1. He had lust in his heart.

      1. So he was in it for the groupies. Must’ve been the disco era, then.

  10. I’d say Obama is closer to FDR (bad on the economy, war, and civil liberties) but without the popularity.

    1. Wait till i start a war with Iran.

  11. What is this John Fund? Can I buy in?

    1. Seriously, wh-

      Oh, I see what you did there.

  12. …surprisingly the first conservative chief executive since Calvin Coolidge.

    And Nixon is the most liberal for imposing wage and price controls.

  13. The Bee Gees. How the fuck did they get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I say, “two down, two to go.”

    1. Because they are totally awesome, duh.

      1. Before Fever, not bad. After Fever, sucky.

      2. Matt, you had a chance to put up a pic of Mr. Peanut and you blew it.

  14. Carter was a feckless leader, and he came across that way. That’s why people are/were so dismissive.

    Making fun of him for asking his daughter questions about foreign policy came from that–his solution to the USSR invading Afghanistan? Well, we’re not going to participate in the Olympics then!

    That’s where the comparison to Obama falls apart. Obama’s about taking big, bold actions–whether he knows what he’s doing or not. Carter’s response was typically a symbolic non-response. That’s a big difference.

    If it had been Carter, he wouldn’t have been so bold as to reinvent the American healthcare system or remake Wall Street in his image…

    He was too smart for that. Smart enough to know that he wasn’t the solution. Even Carter’s infamous speech about how our economic problems weren’t his to solve–it had to do with a crisis of confidence in the American people, a confidence in their own power to create their own future?

    He was right about that. …and that’s sure as hell a lot better response than Obama’s, which is that every crisis is a problem for him, as the President, to solve for everyone personally…

    I’d take another Carter over Obama any day. Yes, they were both incompetent, well meaning fools, but Obama’s got that special kind of stupid that makes idiots think they’re smart.

    …and the people who supported Carter saw him for what he was and criticized him for his mistakes–Obama on the other hand is only supported by America’s dumbest people.

    1. He was too smart for that. Smart enough to know that he wasn’t the solution. Even Carter’s infamous speech about how our economic problems weren’t his to solve–

      Except he could urge congress to lower marginal tax rates… just as an example.

      1. I’m not saying he didn’t suck.

        I’m saying he may have completely sucked, but he wasn’t as bad as Obama.

        I prefer my leftist Presidents feckless.

        1. I prefer my entire government to be feckless.

          1. I think you mean ‘reckless’.

          2. works for me…

      2. The conventional wisdom was that lowering tax rates without reducing spending would result in increased deficits. Even Barry Goldwater showed he went along with this when in an earlier Congress he opposed the Kennedy/Johnson tax cuts. Barry only went along with Reagan’s tax cuts because he believed they would eventually be accompanied by spending cuts.

        Jimmy Carter might have wanted an expansive welfare state eventually (something that I think was rooted in sincere notions about social justice and Christian compassion) but he wasn’t going to finance it with deficit spending.

        Tip O’Neil and Ted Kennedy, of course, had other ideas.

    2. Making fun of him for asking his daughter questions about foreign policy came from that–his solution to the USSR invading Afghanistan? Well, we’re not going to participate in the Olympics then!

      He could not exactly say that the CIA was funneling weapons and equipment to the resistance

  15. I think domestically Carter was a wash because for every positive he implemented in areas such as deregulation and removal of price controls, let’s not forget he created both the Department of Energy AND the Department of Education.

    If you add in foreign policy, things start to look at lot worse and quickly.

    1. If you add in foreign policy, things start to look at lot worse and quickly.

      Not really.

      All the things he was bad at in foreign policy turned out not to matter.

      “He gave away the Panama Canal!” Big whoop.

      “He was too friendly to Brezhnev!” The USSR had only a decade to live anyway.

      “He let the Russians stay in Afghanistan!” Look how that turned out for them.

      “He didn’t invade Iran!” Like THAT wouldn’t have been a complete clusterfuck.

      Someone up above said:

      His leadership as the face of the nation was not..[impressive].

      And you know what? When I was a teenager who thought with his dick, that would have mattered to me. It doesn’t any more. I want the most feckless President imaginable. I want the entire office to be a fucking joke. Along with the offices of Congressman and Senator. We’ll know we live in a free country again when all our federal officeholders can’t get a decent table at a popular restaurant.

      1. We’ll be there, when congresscritters are waiting tables for tips to get by between really short legislative sessions.

      2. +1 for The Fluffster.

      3. All the things he was bad at in foreign policy turned out not to matter.

        Yes, because the nation realized that a president that let a country hold dozens of our own citizens as hostages for over a year is not one we want running our foreign policy. They elected someone who reversed all the bad policies Carter implemented and THEN things changed. You think Carter would’ve said “tear down this wall”?

        1. And what would Reagan have done about the hostages, again? He didn’t invade Iran for supporting Hezbollah after the Beirut barracks bombing. Reagan lucked out that Iran wanted to get rid of them, but was just waiting until Carter was gone to save face.

          1. Reagan traded Iran spare parts for their Air Force for the hostages. He was a much cannier businessman than Carter.

        2. Actually, saying “Tear down this wall!” was a great video clip, but it was defense spending increases – and the pressure on the Soviets to keep up with our spending – that did the USSR in. And for that, Reagan deserves immense credit.

          But you know who started a lot of those new defense programs? Like the MX Missile, for example? The peanut farmer.

          Name a bad Carter policy Reagan reversed, in the area of defense or superpower relations. There aren’t many that I am aware of. Reagan just looked different while doing a lot of the same things – and after Clinton and Bush and Obama I now utterly reject the emotional-and-image-based elements of the Presidency, and see them as net negatives.

          1. Name a bad Carter policy Reagan reversed, in the area of defense or superpower relations.

            Well, for starters he didn’t ask the Shah to step down and acquiesce to the Ayatollahs demands, which ended up fueling the Islamist movement, which is the source of much of our current foreign policy troubles. Carter’s support (and then the cutting off of support) of the Shah is arguably one of the worst US foreign policy mistakes made in the last 60 years. Iran itself is worse off thanks to what happened during the late 70’s.

            1. Come on, there wasn’t a godamn thing that the US could have done to keep the Shah in power that would not have come back to bite us even worse than installing the despotic cocksucker did in the first place.

            2. Carter’s support (and then the cutting off of support) of the Shah is arguably one of the worst US foreign policy mistakes made in the last 60 years.

              No, installing the Shah in 1953 is arguably one of the worst US foreign policy mistakes made in the last 60 years. And that would be Ike, who is probably the best of the postwar presidents but he sure fucked up on that one.

              Blaming Jimmy Carter for mishandling the explosion of the time bomb that was set twenty-five years before is way off the mark.

              1. there wasn’t a godamn thing that the US could have done to keep the Shah in power that would not have come back to bite us even worse than installing the despotic cocksucker did in the first place.

                Maybe, we’ll never know if responding with serious military force to deal with the hostages would’ve made anything worse than it turned out. But Carter had the uncanny ability of taking a really bad situation and reacting in such a way that made everything worse.

      4. Actually, I’d rather have a president who was a strong enforcer of the enumerated powers, wasn’t trying to be all things to all people and didn’t have a nasty streak of commie Santy Clause in him.

        But yeah, considering how far fetched that dream is, I’ll go with feckless.

      5. “He was too friendly to Brezhnev!” The USSR had only a decade to live anyway.

        And Carter was much more willing to criticize the USSR publicly on human rights grounds than Nixon/Ford/Kissinger had been. Reagan pushed further in that direction obviously, but Carter deserves some credit.

      6. We’ll know we live in a free country again when all our federal officeholders can’t get a decent table at a popular restaurant.

        And a highly paid, dedicated public official makes $250 a week.

  16. Also in the negative column, Carter was the first to bring an ostentatious religiosity to his presidential campaign – although it may have been a more or less inevitable development.

  17. Yeah, he has unfairly taken a lot of blame for the disastourous economic policies of Nixon, but in fact he started the cleanup of some of those policies. No matter, he will always be remembered first and foremost for his lack of leadership during the Iranian hostage crisis. American spirits were very low for a very long period of time. Not the instantanous outrage of a 9/11, but a slow angry simmer for the whole 444 days.

    1. Don’t forget the rabbit attack…

      1. And the UFO sighting.

      2. Yeah, the rabbit attack was pretty good:) I think that’s what I’ll choose to remember him by. Live action Monty Python.

    2. he did green light a rescue mission. It wasn’t his fault the operators screwed it up.

      1. Too little, too late was the problem with that.

  18. Well, Scooby Doo can doo-doo, but Jimmy Carter is smarter!

  19. According to Fund, Walter Russell Mead ‘warns that presidents like Mr. Obama who emphasize “human rights” can fall prey to the temptation of picking on weak countries while ignoring more dire human rights issues in powerful countries (Russia, China, Iran).’

    Somehow, I think the chances that Obama will overemphasize what Wally disdainfully calls “human rights” are pretty damn slim. But I guess Wally defines overemphasizing human rights as “not being as Likudist as George Bush II.”

  20. Carter has done more positive work with Habitat than he did while in the WH. Maybe someone should ask him pointedly if private charity does more good than government intervention. I’d like to see that answered.

    And for the record, Get Carter (2000) may have been bad, but what did you expect from the guy who brought you F.I.S.T. and Rhinestone?

    1. You are obviously forgetting Tango & Cash, just like everyone else.

  21. I have compared Obama to both Nixon and Carter. I think his presidency will result in lower standard of living than either Tricky Dick or Jimmy managed to pull off.

    However, I have come to believe that Obama is a truly new and evil kind of bad. He is the first “ratings-based” president as was predicted by the Max Headroom show.

    1. If you think that, you slept through the Clinton years.

      1. I hate Bill Clinton with a passion, but the Clinton years were a period of a relatively peaceful world with relatively modest public spending in the US(compared to the Bush-Obama period).

      2. Of course, if you were refering to the “ratings-based” president part, well bad-boy billy certainly spent 8 years following the wind and manipulating the media for his on purposes.

        But he was elected in 92 and 96 while campaigning on a real political agenda. Barak ran an 8 month commerical hyping hope and change. There is no comparison at all between the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

    2. s-s-s-s-s-wagger.

  22. LBJ was worse.

  23. Worse than Carter.

    Obama has them both beat by a wide margin.

  24. Carter has done more positive work with Habitat than he did while in the WH.

    My father was considering donating some money to HfH; after researching them, he concluded they weren’t far from being a criminal enterprise. The money went elsewhere.

    1. I play tennis with the admin for HfH in my town. I’ve volunteered to help on a few jobsites. The vast majority of materials and labor are donated, so I asked my friend where the money that got donated went to. She said the biggest part of it went to admin costs and government regulation/fees. Being in the building business her whole life, she said building inspectors tended to come back much more frequently to HfH sites than others and rarely conducted multiple inspections at the same time to save them money.

      Basically, she said government used HfH as a money-generating opportunity and their regulation was considerably stricter (therefore more expensive) than for-profit builders.

      That being said, she drives a 7-series BMW and her husband drives a Yukon (and he is a middling accountant), so I’d be willing to bet her “admin costs” include an exorbitant salary. I was a little surprised at her willingness to bash big brother, though.

      1. Special Olympics…I’m tellin ya that is an awesome charity. No tax money, no government medling (on either side of the equation) and control is local. So when I give money to them it is used in my state and controlled by my state’s Special Olympics administration. The whole enterprise does not take tax money…that is enough for me.

        Rupert, put the cork back on the fork!

      2. their regulation was considerably stricter (therefore more expensive) than for-profit builders.

        After the hurricane that leveled Homestead, FL (forget which one that was), I saw numbers that showed Habitat had a very high still standings rate. Primarily due to higher standards for roofing than Florida required.

  25. Jim Henley did a week of pro-Carter blogging, back when Jim still identified as a libertarian.

    Carter was President when I was a very small child. Carter told us to wear sweaters. Mr. Rogers wore sweaters. I liked Mr. Rogers. Therefore, Carter was a great President.

  26. Carter was a greatly underrated president and a greatly overrated ex-president.

  27. Just the other day Carter claimed we would have had socialized medicine instituted during his term in office if Ted Kennedy had not torpedoed it.

    So Carter really was doing his best to be worst – it’s just that sometimes extraneous factors got in his way.

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