Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 10, 2008
POLITICS: The New Jimmy Carter

Given John McCain's and Barack Obama's ages, and Obama's "cool" branding, there was already inevitably going to be a generation gap in the voting in this year's election, but I have to believe that you are going to see a particularly sharp divide over one line: voters who are old enough to remember Jimmy Carter.

I've noted previously some of the similarities between Carter and Obama's combination of idealism, good-government rhetoric and timid and pessimistic worldview. I'm basically at the tail end of the generation that remembers the disaster of the Carter years: I'm 36 and I remember yellow ribbons and "America held hostage" and gas lines and inflation (i.e., the cost of a 2-liter of Pepsi at the supermarket kept going up) and Afghanistan and 'malaise'. I can still picture one of those Scholastic publications we were assigned in 4th grade - little red paper-covered magazine with a big graphic on the front of Carter, Reagan and John Anderson over the White House, and short summaries inside of their general positions on the major issues. We watched Reagan's inauguration in school, and the assassination attempt as well.

Carter was bad enough that you didn't need to be out of grade school to understand why. In fact, you needed a graduate degree to not understand.

California Yankee notes that John McCain is picking up this theme as well:

Of course, it's not just Carter that Obama's a rerun of:

That's why the whole Obama phenomenon, despite some of its new racial trappings, is so comfortably familiar to GOP activists and strategists. Republicans know how to face off against Carter, Mondale, McGovern, Dukakis, Cuomo, Dinkins, etc. We've seen this movie before. Even in 1976, the GOP put on a furious stretch run as the public got a closer look behind Carter's platitudes, and he ended up winning the election by 2 points after leading by more than 30 in July polls.

PS - This is a classic. But he forgot the top level, "Commander in Chief"

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:31 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Carter thought we should find alternative energy sources because the price of oil was unstable long-term. Thank God the Reagan Revolution came along and straightened everybody out on that score.

If (and it's a big "if") Obama leads in the fight against FISA telecom immunity, he'll show more courage and leadership than any other Presidential candidate in my lifetime (45 years).
He'll also lay waste to the "McCain is a maverick" bs.
Imagine a President putting the Constitution and the citizens interests before corporations?

Posted by: Robert in BA at June 10, 2008 11:12 AM

Robert,

Did you read what you just wrote? Do you actually think before you type?

If you really believe what you just wrote, then you have learned little in your 45 years.

Posted by: Lee at June 10, 2008 11:55 AM

Yes! The Scholastic magazines! I forgot all about those - wow, talk about a flashback.

Speaking of Carter and flashbacks, I remember that we had a mock presidential election in 1976 in our kindergarten class (yes, kindergarten) - Carter v. Ford. I remember voting for Carter, and Carter won our election. We didn't want any holdovers from the Nixon era. Or maybe we just liked the name "Carter".

Posted by: MVH at June 10, 2008 12:06 PM

The Carter comparison is a good one for McCain to draw, given that, although I don't expect him to have much nice to say about Bill and Hillary, he implicitly wants to try to appeal to the voters who were fine with the Clintons (and to a lesser degree Gore and Kerry), but not so fine with the Carters and Mondales and McGoverns.

Posted by: Jerry at June 10, 2008 2:51 PM

Yup.

Posted by: Robert in BA at June 10, 2008 5:22 PM

Did they already have 2-liter bottles of pop by then? What I remember, in terms of inflation, was that candy bars kept getting smaller and smaller for the same price, and in general everything else increased in price at least a few cents every other week. Also, cars kept getting junkier and clunkier every year.

Posted by: Rob at June 10, 2008 10:26 PM

Hmm...gas lines and high prices, inflation, troubles in Iran and Afghanistan, global war...it's not the 1970s, it's the 2000s, thanks to George W.

No real superiority for John W. McCheney on this issue. I think I'd drop those 70s comparisons as a talking point if I were you.

Posted by: AstrosFan at June 13, 2008 12:22 PM
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