Barack Obama makes me miss Jimmy Carter, too

Barack Obama, Ambassador John Bolton says, makes him miss the days of President Jimmy Carter.

At least Mr. Carter, Bolton tells the Wall Street Journal, learned from his mistakes.

I was once quite a Carter partisan. I was more or less the lead Carterite on the campus of Concordia College, River Forest (now Concordia University Chicago) when he ran for re-election in 1980. I was full of scorn for Ronald Reagan back then, and certain that Carter was the golden mean between the McGovernite and Goldwater ideological bingers. Carter, I thought at the time, represented common sense, the middle of the road.

What? Common sense wasn't working? It had to be because people- and thus, the world- were crazy.

Well, they were, and they are. But that wasn't the reason Jimmy Carter failed. He failed because despite a masterful grip of the details of everything, he was unable to grasp the big picture. Then, too, I suspect that 1976- like 2004- was a "poison pill" election, in which anyone who was elected to the presidency was doomed by the forces of economics and history to fail.

Jimmy Carter, in any case, wasn't the man for the job. Ronald Reagan- the one truly great president of my lifetime- wasn't who I thought he was (and not without reason; Mr. Reagan's "there you go again" aside, he'd spent most of his adult life saying things so out there that people just couldn't bring themselves to believe it). I have since grown very, very frustrated with Mr. Carter, whose lurch to the Left in foreign policy and domestic policy alike makes me think that I misread him, too. I have often wondered in the years since he 1980 election how I ever supported him.

But at least part of the answer to that is that when all is said and done he was and is a decent human being I could relate to. Even if I don't share his beliefs (and often his values, either), they come from a place close enough to where mine come from that I can at least identify.

Not so Barack Obama. I'm not going to play the "he doesn't love America" game, but I have always gotten the feeling that in some fundamental way he doesn't share my basic values. I'm sure, in his own way, that he does love America. But it's not in a way I can identify with.

Yeah, with all our differences, submariner and Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter strikes a more sympathetic chord with me than my United Church of Christ-member  fellow Chicagoan and non-veteran. The country has grown far more radical since Mr. Carter's day in the White House. So- in spades- has the Democratic party. And so, even, has Mr. Carter.

But yeah, Barack Obama makes me nostalgic, too, for the days of the president who went to war with that bunny rabbit. At least he wasn't afraid to use force against somebody.

HT: Real Clear Politics


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