Obama's 'Malaise' Moment

On July 15, 1979, during an energy crisis and at a time when Americans had stopped listening to him, President Jimmy Carter used national television prime time to make a speech to the American people. Though the speech was originally meant to address energy policy, it evolved, through "the most remarkable exercise in presidential navel-gazing in American history," into a dissertation on what the administration perceived as a "crisis of confidence." The national address became popularly known as Carter's "malaise" speech. Carter made no reference to policy blunders and issued no apologies nor did he acknowledge his personal management deficiencies. The president emphasized confidence and Americans' lack of it. Carter's speech was one of the most extraordinary examples of subject-changing in recent history. After having had very little good to say about Americans, Carter ended his speech by imploring his listeners to "say something good about our country." President...(Read Full Post)

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