March 18, 2008
The New Jimmy Carter
Thirty two years ago a Democrat politician with very little experience "transcended" politics as usual and was lifted on waves of good will to the White House. It seems to be happening again. Jimmy Carter is unknown to most young Americans. Most Americans do not remember how Carter magically seemed to appear on the American political scene. Perhaps a history lesson is in order.
"I'll never lie to you," Carter famously told American voters in 1976. His smile was all embracing. Carter seldom got angry. He talked about his evangelical Christian faith often. Carter promised change and hope. He told us that the mean and cynical government that we had come to expect from Washington was a thing of the past.
Millions of Americans, many of them who had remained uninvolved in American politics, listened. They trusted Carter to be "different." His carefully crafted words led people to believe that Jimmy Carter was something very different from the typical sort of Democrat. Carter would try something new. He was an idealist who was not wedded to failed ideals of the past.
Then Carter won. It became painfully apparent that four years as Governor of Georgia was poor experience for the leader of the Free World. Carter supported on "human rights" grounds the overthrow of the Shah of Iran (our friend) and its replacement by the Islamic theocracy which still rules Iran to this day (our enemy.) He pursed domestic policies which called for privation instead of growth. Carter lied about the firing of U.S. Attorney David Marston, who had been investigating corrupt Pennsylvania Democrat congressmen.
When America faced a genuine crisis, the illegal capture of our embassy staff by the Iranian Islamic militants, Carter was utterly at a loss. He tried to talk to negotiate their release, but the regime with whom Carter tried to work with had no interest beyond utterly humiliating America.
Carter, after the Soviets assassinated our ambassador in Afghanistan and then invaded that nation, was "surprised" that Communism was aggressive and malignant. His response was to try to exert diplomatic pressure on the Soviets as well as trade sanctions. Jimmy Carter, well into the middle of his presidency, seriously seems to have considered that Marxist-Leninist regimes were somehow like another form of socialist democracy, that Moscow was no threat to America, and that the proliferation of virulently anti-American dictators around the globe was in our long term best interest.
All of this sounds very much like Barack Obama. Carter was "magic" because he was the first nominee from the Deep South, the first nominee who talked a great deal about his religion. Obama is "magic" because he is the first black candidate and because he speaks very well. Carter was all smiles and civility, just like Obama is all niceness and calm. Pointedly, neither man speaks about political philosophy much at all.
Yet Carter was obviously a stark Leftist. What was not shown in his brief presidency has been shown in his long ex-presidency. When has Carter ever had anything to say good about America? More pointedly, what American ex-president has been so viciously partisan in his comments? His contempt for every Republican president since him certainly belies the toothy smile and meek words of 1976. Jimmy Carter is a bitter, angry man - a man who hates his country and blames America for the problems of mankind.
Barack Obama seems cut of identical cloth. Carefully scripted, Obama quickly corrects statements which show how he truly feels. He rejects anti-Semitic, anti-American supporters only when nudged to do so. His wife "misstates" when she says that she has never been proud of America until now, but Michelle corrects the error only belatedly and without apparent concern for misinterpretation.
It certainly seems as if Obama feels that the problems of America have been her moral shortcomings, which is very much what Jimmy Carter thought. It seems as if Obama feels himself morally superior to those in politics today, much like Carter did thirty years ago. Obama, like Carter, invites Americans to trust him with the most beguiling claims of spiritual elevation. Obama, like Carter was an utter and complete Democrat partisan, although he promised to be just the opposite.
Jimmy Carter never tried to "govern from the center" or "seek bipartisanship." He could easily have passed tax cuts or defense spending increases. He did not want to. Barack Obama has never sought bipartisanship. He embraces Leftism completely. They are the same: Barack Obama is our next Jimmy Carter.