Saturday, April 10, 2010

Obama versus Carter - very entertaining

Sometimes it's amazing what you can discover when you read old news. This is the reason why USSR made a concerted effort to destroy old newspapers. During Stalin's regime, it was dangerous to keep old newspapers - since an individual could easily see the changes in the government line by reading them. Soviet propaganda machine was famous for changing old photographs of the Soviet leaders - because year after year one "old Bolshevik" after another was declared enemy of the people. The funniest accident when in 1953 the Soviet government finished publishing the Soviet encyclopedia and sold it in the stores - and a few months later it had to send specific instructions to the readers on which pages were supposed to be torn out, and what "additional material" had be substituted. If I remember correctly, among the people who "disappeared" from encyclopedia were MGB (later renamed KGB)chief Abakumov and the top executioner Lavrentiy Beria (Khrushchev and his friends declared both of them "enemy of the people" and killed them same year).

Lets take a walk down the memory lane and look at Jimmy Carter - and compare him with Barack Obama. I guarantee you that some of the things you read here will be amazing.

Lets start with some obvious and well-known facts. When Carter was campaigning for presidency, his slogan was "the government as good as the people". He promoted a view of himself as a nice, clean, religious man, an outsider.

Pat Caddell, Pollster: Going from total anonymity, to being President of the United States in less than twelve months, is unprecedented in American history. If it weren't for the country looking for something in '76, Carter could never have gotten elected.

Jimmy Carter was such an unknown candidate in 1976 that when his own mother heard he was running for president, she asked, "President of what?"

Narrator: He had promised a new beginning. To heal the wounds of Watergate and Vietnam. A government "as good and decent and compassionate as the American people."

Need I say "Barack Obama"?

Doug Brinkley: This is one of the most highly ambitious people you will ever meet. I mean you don't make it from Plains Georgia to the White House just on charm. But what makes him complex is he's got that kind of hubris and arrogance. And also this Christian humbleness. That's the battle he's constantly finding himself in.

Barack Obama - from the plains of Chicago to the White House just on charm. Arrogance and hubris.

Dan Carter: He had a tendency to take his case to the people and then try to force the legislature to follow him. He never, as Governor, broke what I think was an unfortunate habit of seeing personal politics, as kind of, that is with other politicians, as a kind of nuisance, something that had to be done, because you had to talk to these people. He never developed the interest in or really particularly good skills at working with individuals who may have disagreed with him.

Barack Obama!

Doug Brinkley: Nobody knew him. It was like picking a name out of the phone book. I mean, it takes a bit of hubris to think you're the best person to be the President of the United States, because you were a one-term governor of Georgia.

Need I say more - wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Peter Bourne: He was a wonderful speaker before small groups. He would get up and talk without notes with extraordinary passion. Almost like a preacher really having the spirit with him.

Carter is a better speaker than Obama? Amazing... I bet you money Carter did not use the teleprompter.

BTW, did you know that Carter was a cool man?
"Pressure, such as it was, never made Carter nervous. Just the opposite. He had a phenomenal ability to grow calmer while others went bonkers. Rafshoon would pace and pull on his curly locks, Jordan would boil, Eizenstat would blurt out criticisms, and Powell would smoke cigarette after cigarette. Carter just flashed a steely grin. The political commentator and historian Garry Wills once described Carter’s “ferocious tenderness, the detached intimacy, the cooing which nonetheless suggests a proximity of lions.”

Barack Hussein Obama! Although I never saw anyone comparing Obama with a lion. I do think someone compared Obama with God.

Narrator: But as election day approached, he was pressured to take a stand on the issues.

Gerald Ford: Jimmy Carter will say anything, anywhere to be President of the United States.

Gerald Ford: He wanders, he wavers, he waffles, and he wiggles. He isn't the man you want for President of the United States.


Bert Lance: He was a moderate to the moderates, he was a conservative to the conservatives, he was a liberal to the liberals. And in fact, he was all of those things.

Barry! Barry! Barry!

Carter: We are going to have a fair government once again, we are going a government that's open and not secret once again.

Joshua Muravchik, Coalition for a Democratic Majority: His standard line, when asked about his foreign policy was, that he wanted to provide a foreign policy as good as the American people. Well, gee, that's great, but what in the world does it mean?

Carter: You can depend on me. You help me, I'll help you...

Need I say "Obama's stash"?

Betty Glad: The gist of what he presented was that he would be a centrist Democrat who had liberal values in his heart, as well as the desire for frugality and thrift and efficiency in government. And so he could appeal to people from all parts of the Democratic party. But as Julian Bond said at one point, "The problem with this is, his support was an inch deep and a mile wide."

Sounds familiar? It gets better....
After Carter was elected, things started getting dicey very quickly...

Dan Carter: Here was this tremendous breath of fresh air. He was going to bring something new to Washington. Bring new people and new ideas.

Obama is some kind of God - so says one liberal. Or, as Obama said - we are the ones we were waiting for.

Carter: Our commitment to human rights must be absolute. Our laws, fair. Our natural beauty, preserved...

That does not sound like Obama, though. He is not into America...

Jack Farrell: It was so different from what had come before. People were looking for something that was simple, something that was pure. And it just struck a cord in the American people.

Narrator: The Carter team arrived in Washington full of confidence, ready to take on the Washington insiders they had run against.

But things did not work out really well though...
James Laney: He [Carter] thought people would just follow, but that didn't happen.

Carter : and I want to arouse our nation to join me in this effort. . .

Narrator: There were growing doubts about Carter's leadership. The President, most Americans believed was too mired in details. Was ineffective with Congress. Had attempted too much, and delivered too little.

Stuart Eizenstat, Domestic Policy Advisor: This is a classic case where first impressions often sets in with people. And the first impressions of that first year were too many things, lack of priorities, a lack of accomplishment// The fact is we actually had a good legislative record. But, we had thrown so much up that, in comparison to that, the accomplishments seemed to pale.

Rosalynn Carter: I would sometimes say, "Why don't we do this in your second term?" And he would say, "What if I don't have a second term?" And I think he felt that way the whole time that if something needed to be done, it needed to be done.

If you watch Obama's actions - does sound like a question Obama would also ask himself - "What if I don't have a second term"?

Carter: All of us must learn to waste less energy. Simply by keeping our thermostats, for instance, at 65 degrees in the daytime and 55 degrees at night, we can save half the current shortage of natural gasЉ.. If we learn to live thriftily and remember the importance of helping our neighbors, then we can find ways to adjust.

Narrator: Carter lead by example. He curtailed the use of limousines, cancelled magazine subscriptions, unplugged television sets, and put the presidential yacht Sequoia on the auction block.

Walter Mondale: He turned off the air conditioners, and it was so hot in the White House, people would come in there -- [laughs] It was unbelievable. It would be a hundred above in there.

Narrator: There was nothing in the package to grease the wheels of government. When Carter struck from his budget nineteen multi-million dollar water projects that had been approved by President Ford, Congressmen were furious.

This does not sound like Obama at all, does it? Obama has Carter's arrogance - but if anything, he is all for turning up the thermostat for himself, travelling to NYC to have dinner in a nice restaurant - and surely Obama enjoys having receptions in the White House and $150 per pound beef during his dinners.

Elizabeth Drew: He was absolutely right to take it on, these sort of boondoggles and unnecessary, really pork-barrel things. But he didn't know how to take it on. You have to build political capital, you have to build alliances, you have to make deals.

Bert Lance: The quid-pro-quo was not in him. If you came to him and said, "Look, we can get so-and-so to vote for us," he would turn a deaf ear.

This is certainly not Obama. If anything, Obama has no issues with pork-barrel spending, corruption and malfeasance.

Doug Brinkley: Often he wouldn't return phone calls of leading Senators. There was a kind of an abrasive attitude he had towards them. He never showed them respect. So they all eventually got bitter and turned on him.

Does Obama respect anyone?

Dan Rostenkowski, U.S. Congressman: We were all invited down to the White House every other Tuesday. We walked into the private dining room on the first floor just off the East Room. We looked at the table and there were these little finger-tip cookies, and ... Tip O'Neill looked at me and he said, "What's this?" And I said, "Well I guess that's breakfast." So the President walked in and shook hands with everybody. And O'Neill looked at the President and he says, "Mr. President, you know, we won the election."

Peter Bourne: Carter thought that big social programs and large amounts of federal spending would bankrupt the country. He could see, I think, very clearly where the world was going and that that old era had to be phased out.

No, that's not the Obama we came to love. Deficits, spending never bothered him.

Narrator: Carter's commitment to fiscal restraint appealed to a growing number of Americans. "He brings to the (office) a refreshing habit of plain words and simple manners," wrote Newsweek. "A mind and discipline of tempered steel, and an insatiable appetite for work. Carter had entered the presidency with only 51% of the vote. By June, he enjoyed an approval rating of over 70 percent. Then, came an event that rocked the foundation of the Carter Presidency. It was called the Lance Affair. In July 1977 Carter's budget director, Bert Lance, was accused of financial improprieties at his bank in Calhoun, Georgia. A federal investigation cleared Lance of any illegal activity, but concluded he had engaged in "unsafe and unsound banking practices."

Well, Obama hired a dozen Lances - and it never bothered him a bit.

Narrator: Only nine months in office, Jimmy Carter was a wounded leader, struggling, to regain the confidence, of the American people.

But after his programs started failing, and his attempts to push hundreds of new legislations through Congress were stalled, poor Carter went berserk. He escaped into a seclusion, changed his hair style (which was interpreted as evidence that he had had a nervous breakdown by some analysts) and barely escaped a killer rabbit. After that, he met with dozens of people who were supposed to represent the American people (they ranged from left-wing to extreme left-wing), and came back to make a "malaise speech", which main point was that American people were just not good enough for him. After that, the nut farmer was done for - and this was even before the Iranian mullahs stormed the US embassy and took American hostages.

It's difficult not to see the obvious resemblance between two liberals. I am curious about one thing now - when will Obama change his hair-style?

"Jimmy Carter's right-side part may have reinforced perceptions of inadequacy; he didn't switch hair-part side to the left until halfway through his presidency -- too late. "

TIME's Hugh Sidey noted that White House barber Milton Pitts was "aghast" after Carter's shift in do, "confiding to friends, 'That guy is not going to last.' One Pitts theory was that untested leaders could, with seemingly innocent things, set off a slide into oblivion. In Pitts' view, Carter's hair change was too dramatic, suggesting self-adulation."

Carter's disappearance and the malaise speech

“What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?”: Jimmy Carter, America’s “Malaise,” and the Speech That Should Have Changed the Country

Carter leaves the White House secretly - and no one knows where he is. He stays in Maryland, invites scores of ultra-liberals and discusses politics with them.

He would remain at his Maryland retreat for an informal summit with the American people. Over several days, governors, spiritual leaders, lawmakers, business executives, labor bosses and journalists paraded through Camp David, meeting with Carter for wide-ranging conversations on the nation's problems. It was an extraordinary week and makes for one of the most compelling portions of Mattson's story.

Most "American people" were devoted liberals - very few people from the opposing political camp were invited.

Narrator: Carter retreated to Camp David. For the next ten days businessmen, labor leaders, governors, pop psychologists and clergy were called to the mountain top to participate in one of the most extraordinary episodes of presidential soul searching in American history
HENDRIK HERTZBERG: Basically this was a kind of a self-psychoanalysis by Carter and the Administration. He sat up there and listened to the most scalding critiques of his presidency.

The malaise speech, 1979
"Carter sat at his desk, leaned toward the cameras, pounded his fist, grinned his grin, and let big words and ideas fly. He condemned the American way of life. We as a people, Carter explained, “worship self-indulgence and consumption” and are mired in “fragmentation and self-interest.” “Our people are losing” faith in “the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy.” He didn’t have to say it but he did anyway: “This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning.” He spoke openly of the nation’s wounds—of King’s and Kennedy’s assassinations, “the agony of Vietnam,” and the “shock of Watergate.” He recognized his own weaknesses as a leader and the fact that “all the legislation in the world can’t fix what’s wrong with America.” “I realize that more than ever as president I need your help,” he intoned. It was a speech of humility and honesty and more."

Barack Obama is known to say the following: "We can't drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times, whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra, and then just expect every other country is going to say OK, you know, you guys go ahead keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy, even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not leadership."
And now, back to Jimmy Carter.

ROGER WILKINS: When your leadership is demonstrably weaker than it should be you don't then point at the people and say, "It's your problem." If you want the people to move, you move them the way Roosevelt moved them, or you exhort them the way Kennedy or Johnson exhorted them. You don't say, it's your fault.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: The op-ed pieces started spinning out saying there's nothing wrong with the American people. We're a great people. Maybe the problem's in the White House. Maybe we need new leadership to guide us. It boomeranged on him.

Jimmy's expertise in the foreign policy was equally strong.
Narrator: The dangers of the Cold War were driven home when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan Christmas Day, 1979. Three years earlier at Notre Dame Carter had declared the United States, "free of that inordinate fear of communism." But Soviet-American relations had soured, Afghanistan was the final blow.

Frank Reynolds: Have you changed your perception of the Russians in the time that you've been here? You started out, it seemed to a good many people, believing that if you expressed your good will and demonstrated it that they would reciprocate.

Carter: My opinion of the Russians has changed most drastically in the last week than even the previous two and a half years before that. It's only now dawning upon the world the magnitude of the action that the Soviets undertook in invading Afghanistan.

According to Muravchik:
George McGovern was quoted as saying that most of Carter’s State Department appointees were “quite close to those I would have made myself.” Meanwhile, Carter excluded the Scoop Jackson wing of the party almost entirely from his administration. His surprising tilt away from anti-Communism was made explicit in his first major foreign-policy address when he proclaimed: “we are now free of th[e] inordinate fear of Communism. . . . We’ve fought fire with fire, never thinking that fire is better quenched with water.”

Cyrus Vance, Carter's Secretary of State, claimed that Soviet and American leaders “have similar dreams and aspirations about the most fundamental issues.”

Just like Obama, Jimmy Carter always had an affinity for anti-American dictators:

According to Muravchik, Carter thus described the communist dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu: "Our goals are the same, to have a just system of economics and politics, to let the people of the world share in growth, in peace, in personal freedom, and in the benefits to be derived from the proper utilization of natural resources. We believe in enhancing human rights. We believe that we should enhance, as independent nations, the freedom of our own people.

Carter hailed Yugoslav dictator Josip Tito as “a man who believes in human rights” and as a “great and courageous leader” who “has led his people and protected their freedom almost for the last forty years.” Visiting Poland, then ruled by the Stalinist hack Edward Gierek, he offered a toast to its “enlightened leaders” and declared that “our concept of human rights is preserved in Poland . . . much better than other European nations with which I am familiar.”

And then, we got Obama crawling before world dictators, bowing before tyrants and hugging US enemies.

And I bet you did not know that Carter also loved and respected the Shah of Iran (before he was deposed):

Just months before the outbreak of the revolution that culminated in his toppling, Carter declared in a toast that Iran was an “island of stability” thanks to the “love which your people give you.”

The US economy under Carter - 15% inflation, 10% unemployment.

ROGER WILKINS: Inflation makes you doubt the future. When you have inflation you don't see as much building going on. You don't see as much investment going on. You don't see as much hiring going on. People weren't seeing their savings growing and as a matter of fact people were terrified that inflation would impoverish them in their old age.

And then Mr.Reagan came in and freed the country from Jimmy Carter, healed our economy and defeated the USSR.

Reagan: The Carter record is a litany of despair, of broken promises, of sacred trusts abandoned and forgotten.

After Carter lost elections - his life was over...

Narrator: Carter was only fifty-six, was already labeled "a has been," "a shooting star with not even a tail left to fizzle."

AMES LANEY: It wasn't just that he-he was unpopular. People avoided him. This is hard to say and hard to believe today, people didn't want to associate with him.

CARTER: We are very glad to be back in Haiti. A country obviously dedicated to peace, human rights and democracy.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: So even Cedras who was considered a brutal thug by the US government, Carter felt that he could appeal to his sense of what is right and what is wrong. This caused Carter a lot of criticism, coddling dictators around the world.

Narrator: In May 2002, Jimmy Carter went to Cuba: the First American President to visit the island in over 40 years.

In an address broadcast throughout Cuba, he defied President George W. Bush, by calling for an end to the decades old U.S. trade Embargo.

Carter is also known for his consistent anti-Israeli position and his coddling to fascist and communist dictators. But luckily, Jimmy is not the US president anymore - and I hope the day will come when we can say the same about current resident of the White House - "Obama is no longer the US president. Right now he is on his fifth trip to Cuba. I've heard he is studying Cuban health care system".

As reader may imagine, this entry only touched the surface when discussing Carter and drawing parallels between those two characters. I believe though that this letter contains enough material to entertain a lot of people - and I hope one day I will rework it to be a more organized and detailed thesis.

Comrades, what do you think about this post?


Christopher said...

Great post. As stated there are differences as goes with time, current affairs and agendas. But what is striking is that both think/thought that the American people were overwhelmingly behind them (not true)and both made a bad situation worse.

What happened then was Ronald Reagan, THANK GOD and in 2010 B.Hussein will be slowed. In 2012 a Conservative (not just a republican) will take the White House in an even bigger lanslide than Reagan. This will be achieved not by this person being better than President Reagan, but rather B. Hussein being WORSE than Carter.

Anonymous said...

We'll be seeing many economic similarities over the next few years, unfortunately...

I apologize in advance for going off topic, but do you plan to post on the Polish plane crash in Russia?

Do you think the Russians were behind it? My Grandma is from Western Ukraine and she has no doubt Putin did this.

Hyphenated American said...

Thanks a lot for the feedback. Yes, I believe America will shrug off the great pretender.

I've finished writing the article about the death of the Polish president yesterday, but I was reluctant to post it because I did not want to over-shadow my article about Carter-Obama comparison. I thought it contained so many good quotes, I wanted people to read it. But you forced my hand (customer gets what he wants) and I posted the article on my blog.

In short - yes, it's unlikely to be a conincedence. Just as Obama told the Poles that he abandoned them on the day of 70th anniversary of Nazi invasion of Poland - Putin slaughtered the top Polish officials when they were travelling to Katyn, a burial site of tens of thousands of Polish soldiers and officers murdered by Stalin. I don't believe in coincedences.

Krans said...

Thank you for the walk down memory lane!

I was a teenager during the Carter years, but I have to say, had he not presented such a perfect example of all that I am against, I probably would not have embarked on my career in the military. Carter, more than anybody else, set the stage for my enlisting in 1981. I am now a senior officer, having served through Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush, and now Obama. I am constantly amazed that everyone my age or older cannot see how dangerous the Carter and Obama approaches to the world are.

Hyphenated American said...


Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I was born in 1971 in USSR, so I cannot remember Carter. But I've read enough to know exactly what was happening - moreover, I remember reading about stupidity of American leftists back in the 1930ies - so I believe I can describe "Jimmah" to the "t".

Thanks a lot for your service, and please, keep this country safe from all enemies.