I’m seeing a lot of comments comparing Barack Obama with Jimmy Carter, but you probably have to be over 40 to really remember the Carter years. Consequently, a large part of our population may not realize the aptness of the comparison. What are the similarities?
First, Carter was an outsider who promised a new way of doing things in DC. Sound familiar? He said he would get the economy out of the doldrums, yet by the time his reelection effort came along, we were mired in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Sound familiar again? It was so bad economists had to coin a new term—stagflation—a combination of stagnation and inflation, something they said couldn’t happen simultaneously. Yet President Carter was able to achieve it.
He further blamed the bad economy on anything but his policies. If that sounds familiar as well, there’s a good reason. While Obama continues to blame Bush, the Japanese earthquake, turmoil in the Middle East, and the ongoing travails of the Chicago Cubs [I just threw in that last one for fun, but don’t be surprised if it shows up in his rhetoric at some point], Carter basically blamed the American people who, he said, had lost confidence. Even though he didn’t use the word “malaise” in a nationally broadcast speech, historians have referred to it as the “Malaise Speech.”
His speech was a self-fulfilling prophecy. The economic downturn deepened. Today, President Obama gives speech after speech, always saying the same things: he’s got a plan for jobs, we need to “invest” more in our infrastructure, etc. Yet things remain the same. He’s all talk and no action. Well, let me modify that; the actions he has taken, such as Obamacare, have only made our financial future less secure.
So is this, as some are touting, the second term of Jimmy Carter?
Actually, as bad as Carter was as president, what we are currently experiencing is demonstrably worse because the current occupant of the White House has a grander plan to fundamentally change the nature of America and its system of government. Carter was a novice compared to Obama.