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OK, this is my point of view.  I'm not a historian but I do have a memory of what I've lived through. My "Presidential Memory" begins with the assassination of JFK (I'm 11 years old; wasn't paying attention to world affairs, etc. at that time; just knew the guy was dead, so JFK doesn't count ... you always get brownie points for dying on the job) and then follows:

  1. LBJ ... war-profiteering scumbag

  2. Nixon ... don't get me started

  3. Ford ... son of don't get me started

  4. Carter ... the only bright light in my memory

  5. Reagan ... the true beginning of the end

  6. Bush I ... senior sack of shit

  7. Clinton ... the sociopathic set-up man for

  8. Bush Jr. ... and here we are.

These are the Presidents that I compare Carter to.  Go ahead ... you rank them.  Let me know how that works out.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 05:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Carter gets a bad press because the dominant narrative of the time (and since) was that he was ineffective and weak - an impression generated largely by the Iranian Hostage drama.  But when you have US intelligence conspiring to keep the hostages locked up until after the election, that's puts a different light on the narrative.  He was also primaried by the poster boy of the left (Teddy Kennedy) which probably did for his re-election chances in 1980.

If only Ted could have been more patient and run instead against Reagan in 1984, the history of the US and the world might have been very different.

Also, sometimes an ineffective President can be a lot better than an ineffective one.  Carter didn't start any wars, didn't escalate the arms race, and didn't ruin the economy with deregulation mania. But you don't get brownie points for effectiveness for shit you didn't do.

The problem with Carter is that he didn't have an over-sized ego, didn't project an alpha male image for the USA, and is thus not a suitable candidate for Emperor of the the Reich.

He was/is a decent human being - not that that counts for much...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 09:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Carter was anti-labor ((just like Clinton and Obama) doing nothing to reverse the Taft-Hartley Act), and created (through Paul Volcker) a massive recession. His unpopularity and the efforts of organized labor got Kennedy to run against him. Kennedy was the last major effort of the New Deal Democrats and the New Deal coalition.

Economic policy-wise, Carter began the Reagan administration. More or less, Carter was Clinton is Obama.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 01:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a nutshell, 'real' Democrats were damned angry at Volcker/Carter 'using unemployment to fight inflation'. Kennedy's 1980 Democratic Party convention speech:

Let us pledge that we will never misuse unemployment, high interest rates, and human misery as false weapons against inflation.

Let us pledge that employment will be the first priority of our economic policy.

Let us pledge that there will be security for all those who are now at work, and let us pledge that there will be jobs for all who are out of work; and we will not compromise on the issues of jobs.

These are not simplistic pledges. Simply put, they are the heart of our tradition, and they have been the soul of our party across the generations.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonce-gaiter/ted-kennedys-best-highlig_b_103054.html

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 01:24:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't implying he was a progressive,  Arguably no President has been a progressive since FDR.  However he was an awful lot less bad than the Nixon/Ford/Reagan Presidencies he interrupted. Within the framework of his times and power structures he operated within, he may have been almost as progressive as it was possible for a President to be - and even then he was beaten by a far out conservative - despite the advantages of incumbency.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 01:43:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nixon was more liberal on economic policy than Carter. But, Nixon and Carter were both creatures of their times, carried along by what powerful elites thought was expedient at the time. So Nixon introduced wage and price controls to battle inflation, while Carter used unemployment to battle the same.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Aug 19th, 2010 at 10:48:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... on Carter's rating in more broadly based surveys. The conventional wisdom is not that he was a mediocre President, but that he was one of the very worst. I am of course biased regarding the re-evaluation of his administration as mediocre, since that's where I had already arrived.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 06:33:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LBJ was a scumbag war profiteer who got the civil rights act passed and got Medicare established, and the minimum wage under LBJ reached $10/hr in 2008 dollars.

And what was there that Carter attempted to do that Eisenhower wouldn't have attempted in the same circumstances? Except of course for more competent execution?

His economic policy was successful in going the wrong direction except for energy, failing to go in the right direction.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Aug 19th, 2010 at 11:28:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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