May 29th, 2010

Voting again for Carter II

Note the following comment from someone called “SWJ,” written May 21 at 04:37 PM and appearing on this comment thread:

We have to have a Carter-like fool get elected now and then to remind America why the left can’t be trusted to protect and defend our country.

Many people my age (I’m 50) remember Carter (let’s call him Carter I) and can’t understand how America can elect another (we’ll call him Carter II). It’s really simple, though. In 1980, when America had the good sense to send that loser packing, I was voting in my first national election. Anyone more than about 5 years younger than me would not remember what a disaster Carter I really was.

Given the current makeup of the under-45 crowd, Carter II had a good shot at racking up 60% of this group. Of the group over 45, sadly enough, my best guess is that about 25% lived it, remember it, and would vote that numbskull back into office today. Astonishing, but true. These are the true-believers on the left. Facts don’t matter.

Another 25% of the over 45 crowd (just like any other group) isn’t paying attention, so they are fair game for a Carter II fraud.

Add it all up (generally) and you get the makings of a 53% win.

The under-45 crowd is now getting the political equivalent of on-the-job training. It’s going to be painful for them. They’re the ones suffering the job-losses and bleak prospects. Also, many of them will be called upon to go overseas and fight after Obama allows our enemies to get a march on us.

Ah, life experiences! These are the real world things of which Republicans are made. It warms my heart.

“SWJ” is talking about the process of how people—especially young people—might come to change their minds. The point the commenter is making boils down to the old saw about learning from experience. And although it’s true that reading about something in a book or newspaper, or learning about it in a classroom, and then filtering it through the idealistic and naive lens of youth, are all quite different things from actually living it, it’s also true that there’s a big difference between 1980 and now.

We are a full three decades further into a relentless takeover of our educational institutions and the press by the left. The younger generation of today has more indoctrination to undo before it can learn from its life experiences. And there’s no charismatic figure of the right on the order of Reagan coming down the pike, at least as far as I can see.

In addition, Obama himself seems to have a strong charismatic appeal to the young, something Jimmy Carter never came close to achieving. “Jimmy Carter” and “charismatic” are words that usually don’t appear in the same sentence. But since I was around when he was running for office, I’m able to say that I recall people having a great deal of hope that he’d be a breath of fresh air in Washington.

Carter was an outsider. He seemed smart. He appeared to demonstrate a real sense of humility as well as honesty. This all appealed greatly to a lot of people who’d been sickened by Watergate and exhausted by Vietnam and its battles, both foreign and domestic.

As commenter “SWJ” wrote, there are many people who would still vote for Carter I again. The more important question is: how many people are there who would (and will) vote for Carter II—Obama—again? It’s a long way till November of 2012, but we may get a hint this November, which is “only” five months from now.

39 Responses to “Voting again for Carter II”

  1. Tatyana Says:

    I wasn’t in the States at the time, of course, so the following is pure speculation, but could it be that some voters chose Carter because of his connection to engineering profession? I heard a lot of people, in the last 5 years at least, expressing their preference for politicians with practical, pragmatic profession, like businessman or engineer (or actor…) vs. lawyers and academics. It doesn’t always works, of course – look at Bloomberg, Schwarzenegger – or Carter.

    there’s no charismatic figure of the right on the order of Reagan coming down the pike
    In the same vein, this is what I’ve read today (1st time on that blog, via Dustbury):

    there are rumors that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is going to retire. The theory is apparently that the White House is scared that they may not be able to get a Justice confirmed after Nov. I remain less than optimistic. From what I have heard Rand Paul continues to self-destruct, the CEO of the WWE is trying to buy her way into a Senate seat, Rubio is still polling behind Crist, Rossi is behind Murray and the GOP is 6 pts behind the Dems in the Generic Congressional Ballot.
    So – yeah, rumors about the death of Dems comes November might be greatly exaggerated.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    Rand Paul. Sideshow. Not relevant now, less so by November.

  3. Curtis Says:

    It was President Ford and the media that elected Carter. Plus, Carter’s military and religious background helped conceal his soon to be apparent stupidities. And he wasn’t from Washington–like Obama, the country thought they might get hope and change with someone from the outside. Still, who’d of thought? Carter did write his own book, however.

    I can’t find it now, but on some blog, the blogger had come to the conclusion that Obama would not be elected in 2012. The revelation come from a bumper sticker on a Prius at an organic nature store. The bumper sticker stated, “Obamunism.”

  4. Darrell Says:

    Curtis, it was on tigerhawk:

  5. rickl Says:

    We are a full three decades further into a relentless takeover of our educational institutions and the press by the left. The younger generation of today has more indoctrination to undo before it can learn from its life experiences. And there’s no charismatic figure of the right on the order of Reagan coming down the pike, at least as far as I can see.

    That’s the key difference.

  6. Curtis Says:


  7. rickl Says:

    On a lighter note, check out Iowahawk’s latest guest commentary:

    Hi Neighbor!

    He’s nearly outdone himself this time. This one’s a classic.

  8. Sundog Says:

    “And there’s no charismatic figure of the right on the order of Reagan coming down the pike, at least as far as I can see. ”

    While I would love to see a second Reagan in the White House, I would happily settle for an Eisenhower or even a Truman — a president who lacks charisma, but is competent and dedicated to the welfare of the United States.

    Charisma is overrated. Bill Clinton was charismatic. So was Carter. For that matter, so was JFK, and his term was marked by catastrophic blunders: the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam.

  9. Rick Caird Says:

    There are strong parallels between 1976 and 2008. In 1976, we were emerging from Vietnam, Agnew had resigned and been replaced by Gerald Ford, and then wd got Watergate. Nixon resigned rather than be impeached and Gerald Ford became President. The press had a field day with Ford portraying him as a bumbling oaf. Ford also pardoned Nixon to avoid a trial that would put the whole legitimacy of the government on trial. For that, Ford was also widely castigated.

    In that atmosphere, Jimmy Carter came promising “I will never lie to you” and as a governor, he did have executive experience. The country gave him a chance without really questioning who he really was.

    It was similar in 2008. Bush was struggling with Iraq and Katrina and was being unmercifully pounded by the left and the press. McCain was a less than charismatic candidate. Obama came along and was allowed to get away with “hope and change” and no vetting of his very limited resume. His rhetoric seemed to soar, as long as you didn’t actually read his speeches and saw they were essentially content free. The press was enamored and, for the most part, did everything they could to get him elected. So, again we had a President who was the emotional choice, but never really tested by a tough campaign and a thorough review of his history. He was allowed to wave away Ayers, his educational background, and people such as Reverend Wright. His work on the Annenberg Challenge was hidden away. He was also allowed to wave away the vast amount of money and the sources of that money to run the most costly campaign ever. It is no wonder that, like 1976, we got an unknown, untested President who is not up to the job and seems to be floundering both domestically and in foreign policy. We should have know from the campaign that he is a serial liar, but it has caught many be surprise.

    Obama rode a wave of enthusiasm in no small measure because of his race. He is almost the affirmative action President. But, that was a one time event. Just like Carter proved to be a weak, ineffectual President, so has Obama. At least though Carter did schedule the White House tennis courts. It is pretty hard to see what Obama has actually done. Obama will have the benefit of incumbency, but he will have a hard time pointing to results.

  10. Alex Bensky Says:

    Obama is making me yearn for the comparatively hard-headed and pro-American foreign policy of Carter. As to Carter’s vaunted humility, it always reminded me of a remark Golda Meir once made to someone: “Don’t be so humble; you’re not that great.”

  11. Bob From Virginia Says:

    I think it is worth remembering what exactly happened in the 1980 election, because I feel the memory of Reagan winning because of his record and personality is false. In the 1980 election Reagan, nice guy that he was, was NOT A POPULAR candidate. I for one was outraged that the Republican right seemed willing to risk defeat by choosing a rightist candidate rather than the more centrist and popular Ford. The pollsters noted that no one seemed to be voting FOR anyone, only against someone. Anderson ran to protest a choice between a failed president and an extremist and many considered him as the only respectable candidate in the election. It was not until a few weeks before the election that Reagan began to pull ahead, mainly I suspect because the prospect of four more years of Jimmy Carter made an extreme right wing candidate seem acceptable, not because Reagan was trusted.

    If the dry deadpan Ford ran against Carter the race would been over before it started. Ford would have stood a good change of taking all 50 states. Point, charisma is nice, but a resume is nicer.

  12. Hong Says:

    People of, lets say, a certain demographic are unlikely to change their minds since they don’t bother making an effort to be informed. They spend their time on American idol, Kim Kardashian, and getting their news from tv programs and not from folks like us. Sadly they populate my job and appear to spend an inordinate amount of time getting pregnant. Scary.

  13. Mike Mc. Says:

    The culture is far far more degraded now than it was in 1980.

    In 1980, the WWII generation was in their 50′s and 60′s. They built this country and were a real presence on the “taken for granted” of American values, wisdom, traditions, etc.

    In 1980, “America” was still taught in schools. American kids still loved America.

    In 1980, the assertion “It’s a free country isn’t it?”, which was used everywhere as a shorthand for the exercise of liberties we’ve already got used to not having was true.

    In 1980, kids were tougher and more independent. Kids today, mostly, are not. They’ve been brow beat into obedience and they’ve retreated into video game fantasizing instead or real-world doing.

    In 1980, PCism was still a kind of joke. Today, it is a monster that rules and oppresses all of us.

    We are so far behind in the battle to regain America, it may be too late.

    I can’t see victory in the conventional ways, unless there is some major transition about to take place, almost a revolution. I heard some author or other on Medved saying that he thought Americans were in the process of refashioning government in the sense of downsizing it, and cutting its power, getting rid of laws and regulations, simplifying and so on.

    If so, this must be the dark hour before the dawn because it looks like we are doing the opposite.

    I’m pessimistic, but no hopeless.

    I think every America should go to tea Party event after event. And keep going. We need to stop them somehow. We need to shame and revile and ridicule and just stop them. If America dies, civilization suffers a mortal blow, and life for each of us in terms of being free people, being strong, being brave and inventful becomes worse. The joy of being American….we’re losing that!

    A sure sign, to me, of the presence of diabolos. Diabolos always divides, makes lower, makes even, makes gray, makes bland and bleak and dreary.

    Obama, already, is like the living definition of dreary. He and Pelosi and Reid and the entire lot of them – it’s dreariness all around, and as far as the eye can see, and as well into the future as the end of all hope.

    That, I believe, is their plan. Either I’m crazy or they are diabolical. And then let their actions and their effects show it – diabolos is as diabolos does, to borrow from the great Forrest Gump.

  14. Bob From Virginia Says:

    This tidbit of Obamaism from the Rubin Report:In a move that fully qualifies him for the Nobel Prize for Chutzpah, Obama warns that the high budget deficit is a major threat to U.S. strategic power. Since his policies have been so responsible for creating this problem and his administration shows no real sign of changing those policies one can only gasp at the audacity of this statement.

  15. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Mike Mc wrote:”The culture is far far more degraded now than it was in 1980.”

    Selective memory there Mike, the Dems were super defeatist then as now, there was no Fox News, the military was disintegrating. It took the hostage crisis to wake up America and change course.

    The Ayatollah Khomeini was a blessing for America.

  16. Mike Mc. Says:


    I was not talking about upper-level events and culture, but the broad and deep culture shared by the over-whelming majority of Americans back then.

    That was so vast it is hard to even name. It is seen in the things everyone took for granted as being true or good.

    I will only give one example, but thousands and thousands could be added.

    In 1980, it was literally unthinkable that nurses in continuing ed school to receive and undergraduate degree would be arguing in favor of euthanasia, mercy killing, physician assisted suicide. It might come up somewhere, but only in a bizarre ‘what if’ sense. Why? Nurse helped people. So did doctors. And people fought to live.

    Today the majority favor it. The brave lone voice is the one who defends what everyone took for granted in 1980.

    We are soooooo far down the road we don’t even realize it. Very soon, nurses will be trained and ordered and paid to cause the death of a huge number of elderly and otherwise ill patients in hospitals.

    That is where we will be in a few short years.

    That’s the sort of slide of slide into degradation I am talking about. Our culture defended the ‘tight’ to kill ‘fetuses’ for so long, we now have the argument and lingo about freedom, rights and death down pat. It’s all of our lingo now.

    As one such nurse told me this very week, ‘It’s the patients right and freedom’.

    Other areas of degredation could be added with just a little thought and observation. Today I heard a bank (that wants my money) using Alexander Hamilton as the butt of a mocking joke. He wore colonial style trousers, he said to the kid who asked why, because the new style pants gave him a rash. Ha ha! What the area of degredation there? Men. Even our heroes are now juvenile kids with concerns of the sort a 16 year old would have, and we need youthful jokes to get us to invest in a bank.

    If that is what the culture asys about men all the time, and it does, then we are done unless a iracle turnaround happens.

  17. Charles Says:

    Something I recall many people, especially Southerners, mentioning about Carter – He was the first “truly” Southern President since the Civil War. i.e., He was from the heart of the former Confederacy (If I recall correctly, not that he had anything to do with it, the notorious Civil War POW camp Andersonville was just a few miles from Carter’s hometown of Plains, GA) unlike LBJ and Truman who were from the “edges” of the South (Texas and Missouri).

    This led to some “Southern Pride” which quickly disappeared once he started screwing things up.

    With Obama, I think the same is happening. Americans were “proud” to have elected a “Black” President; but, this is quickly disappearing too. Except in this case the media and others on the Left are still so in love with him and cannot bring themselves to see his faults.

  18. Promethea Says:

    The Left are race-obsessed. I see this every day in the Chicago Tribune, which cannot write a story about black people without making them oppressed in some way, and in casual encounters with liberals, who are SO happy to know someone who is black.

    Hence the commitment to Obama, even though he’s a creep, a jerk, and an incompetent idiot fool or knave.

  19. Thomass Says:

    Tatyana Says:

    “voters chose Carter because of his connection to engineering profession?”

    Ummm, I think it was more that it was held up as the example (for it’s time) that he was so much smarter than the republicans… his being a nuclear engineer (which is not even true btw)…

    “So – yeah, rumors about the death of Dems comes November might be greatly exaggerated.”

    Yeah, the republicans might self destruct due to not being able to find any good candidates. Out in California I’m not happy with either of their people running in the primary for Governor or their people running for the Senate…

  20. Thomass Says:

    Bob From Virginia Says:

    “Point, charisma is nice, but a resume is nicer”

    That’s one point. The other being, as sure as the press knows the tea party people are only against Obama because they’re racists…. They also know all real conservatives are right wing extremists. :)

  21. SteveH Says:

    We can chalk it up to “The grass is always greener” syndrome. We all know these type people. They hit a few bumps in the road of life and become convinced it all needs to be thrown off for a 180 degree different approach in all aspects.

  22. tehag Says:

    Seems true as far as it goes, but doesn’t explain why Obama appealed more than other Democrats. I still can’t explain why, say, Noonan, McArdle, fell for Obama’s junk.

  23. bartdp Says:

    The only explanation is “white guilt” as stupid as it sounds! I was raised in a white hardcore blue collar democratic environment, where both parents were very racially biased…………don’t ask me why I changed, my parents were good everyday people, they just didn’t like non-whites! I love my parents but they were wrong! Jimmy Carter was a different guilt trip……after Nixon! Not only do we have a Carter look alike……..but Obama is making Nixon look pristine!

  24. Richard Aubrey Says:

    There are any number of demographics, any one of which could be called “swing” in that, had they voted differently, we’d have a different president, or Congress, or dog catcher, for the matter of that.
    The one that annoys me the most is the one which votes to be with the cool kids.
    When I was in college in the Sixties, I saw profs even then starting the indoc by implying that those who thought as they did were part of a superior, intelligent minority, unlike the Great Unwashed out there.
    Those lacking a secure identity, or the potential for one, jumped at that and were putty in the thoughtmeisters’ hands.
    Given how the right is characterized–see Palin–the cool kids can’t do anything but vote against them.
    I think this demographic, all by itself, is enough to have swung the last election, if only half of them had actually thought–which they would never do, of course.

  25. Mike Mc. Says:

    On the “guilt” explanation, I think there is something to it.

    I saw a video once about Nuns in the former Soviet Union. They said that the main psychological tactic the apparatchiks used against them was guilt.

    Since then I have noted that guilt can be a very powerful tool to get people to do things they might not ordinarily do.

    In Obama’s case we have a man with no real talent or experience or skills other than speaking well and being trained in radical politics and methods. He is NOT the type of person anyone in their right mind on a normal day would think of entrusting the office of President to. He never did anything to merit it, except run for it.

    But 66m people voted for him with great enthusiasm. I think the majority of that number was the feeling of being guilty of racism if you did NOT vote for the black man. He spoke well. He looked good. People seemed to like him. He was young and dynamic….therefore to not vote for him was prima facie racist.

    I know that’s the most of it.

  26. Bob From Virginia Says:

    # Alex Bensky wrote:
    May 29th, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    ” Golda Meir once made to someone: “Don’t be so humble; you’re not that great.””

    It was said, unless I was misinformed, to Moshe Dayan.

  27. Tom Says:

    So you voted for Baraq as a, ahem, man of color, because your parents didn’t like non-whites, bartdp? What are you saying here?

  28. Sergey Says:

    Expanding of colledge education combined with dumping of educational standards created a new demographic: ignoramuses who have no idea how ingnorant they really are. In their communication circle it is impossible to aknowledge the truth. It is very easy to manipulate them for every clever demagogue. This is the new plebs, in their aspirations alike ancient Roman plebs.

  29. Curtis Says:

    Obama, like Satan (or more properly haSatan– a term which means the Accuser) is an accuser. That is the Alinsky tactic, a good soviet tactic.

    If I might paraphrase Mc”Mike:” It’s the people, stupid.

    Whom are now corrupt. He’s right! Look at our mainline churches endorsing gays and condemning Israel; doctors and nurses promoting euthenasia; a mosque for the site of 9/11 for “healing”; children taught to rebel against their parents; parents portrayed as fumbling and uninformed (does that even make logical sense); debt spending portrayed as enlightened.

    Sorry. Not buying. I’m messed up enough and they want you and me to stop the good fight and give up.

    “Just take your finger right off that old repress button.”

    Yeah! We did that. Didn’t work. Screw you.

    We elect whom we deserve. Having strayed from the commandments of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. . . as Bob Dylan said: “You’re gonna have to serve somebody,” so who do you think that somebody is?

  30. Curtis Says:

    “Out in California I’m not happy with either of their people running in the primary for Governor or their people running for the Senate…”

    Right. It takes awhile for the full effects of the emeretic.

  31. Don Says:

    1976 was my first election, and though I wound up voting for Ford, I did like Carter in part for his engineering and military background. Turned out irrelevant, of course.

    Anyway, though it’s true we’ve had another thirty years of leftward indoctrination, it’s also true that the internet in conjunction with the impact of Reagan on the younger generation have given us far more libertarians than we had back then. There is reason to hope for a correction, and there would be much more hope if the Republicans would discard once and for all the Religious Right.

  32. Mike Mc. Says:


    The reason for discarding the religious right being? They are the main reason Repubs have had electoral success since Reagan. They vote. They care.

    If they leave the Republican Party, how would republicans ever win another election anywhere?

  33. bartdp Says:

    Tom, I voted for the pasty white guy!………

  34. bartdp Says:

    To quick to answer forgive me………tom its pretty direct nothing between the lines its as simple as it gets!

  35. Thalpy Says:

    Zeal will always produce the conditions we find ourselves in today. Leftists have built a broad structure that will provide legions of like minded people for a long time.

  36. Mike Mc. Says:


    You are right I think except for the “long time”.

    Relatively speaking, we will fall as rapidly as Rome seemed to when looked at historically.

    One bad winter, the barbarians crossed the Danube, and it was basically over.

    Once the Left takes every sector with no hope of getting them back, the crash and disappearance of the entire structure will be relatively rapid. The only good news is that there will be nothing left for them to rule, once they gain complete rule. And as the Laws of Historical Movement show, they will certainly be ruled by some other.

  37. spoot Says:

    I remember Carter who I voted for because I am a yellow dog Democrat. But once he got in office I couldn’t stand to look at his smarmy face, with that weird cheesy smile.

    He let inflation get out of control, into double digits, which lost him all of the business community, although he did appoint Paul Volker, too late, and tasked him with taming inflation. Of course inflation wasn’t brought under control until Reagan’s era but that’s the breaks in politics. No solutions to national ills work quickly, they takes longer to take hold than the political process allows.

    The only exception to that is war, because the beginning of war is so dramatic and so sexy for the cameras. Even if wars go bad, which is the usual outcome to wars, they have their own built-in connection to our psyches, creating allegiance to them in the name of national security and identity.

    Anyway, back to Carter, even with all that, he might have got elected again but he completely lost the plot over the Iran hostage crisis. It took over his mind, fed by the daily count of TV, day 147 of the hostage crisis. Ted Koppel owed his career to that crisis. Reagan simply said that unfortunately the lives of American consulate workers cannot be used to hijack the policies and interests of the country.

    What a fool Carter proved to be.

    And Obama, smart as he is, has some of that brainy idiocy.
    He doesn’t have the feel, the instinct, for what is important, he takes positions based on calculation and has no fight in him. Once he has gotten the presidency he has presided, not governed. I don’t think he knows the difference. He has never been a mayor, a governor, a fireman, a worker. He can’t feel how to respond, he is all position paper and message giver.

    Bush was all instinct with not enough interest in the policy ramifications. But he acted, sometimes mistakenly but sometimes rightly. Obama seems not to know how to act, that is, how to implement an action to an unfolding problem. He doesn’t know the meaning of Hands On Action, because he has not had to deal with public crisis and how to deal with it. And now it looks like his own the job training is not going so well.

    But he is the only president we have and the problems can’t wait. I just hope that we have enough leaders in government and in the private sector to create and implement the innovations and actions that will help us out of the economic black hole we have tumbled into.

  38. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Don, I know lots of folks have the impression that actively ditching the Religious Right would be a net gain for Republican electoral chances, but I have yet to see anyone make the numerical case for it. People who are not social conservatives but want smaller government often know lots of folks at least somewhat similar to themselves who are put off by the Religious Right, and come to believe that there are just oodles of voters out there waiting to make the switch, prevented only by a branch of conservatism they see as populated by yahoos. But is this actually so? Do the numbers back this up? I suspect not.

    As one of those yahoos, or at least, one who has some sympathy with them, I would gladly play up economic, freedom, and corruption issues in the coming election if I thought it would help. I wouldn’t recant my views, but I could be persuaded to be very careful how I framed things. But being actively discarded would be a sign that important social issues were going to be given entirely into the hands of the left, who care deeply about them and would continue to push for their vision of society. I don’t believe that there is a set-to-neutral feature on social issues. It might be nice if there were, but there isn’t.

    So you need to make a positive case for two things: that losing some portion of the religious right vote would actually produce a net gain overall, and some evidence that the resulting coalition would at least assist in making social legislation a fair fight in our cultural discourse. Deal?

  39. IgotBupkis Says:

    Believe me, I was at the forefront of this Obama=Carter Pt Deux attitude. I was predicting it literally the day he won the nomination: “If you put him in office you will gain appreciation and respect for the mound of quivering incompetence that was Jimmy Carter”. Quote. End Quote.

    In short, I said he would be worse than Carter.

    That said:

    > And there’s no charismatic figure of the right on the order of Reagan coming down the pike, at least as far as I can see.

    I believe you are mistaken here because I don’t believe there was anyone who thought Reagan would be as good as he was, nor was there all that much perception of Reagan as the man who would solve everything. It was clear he would be less of a jello-shot than Carter was, but there were a lot of people who did not believe Reagan was a major prize when he became the obvious alternative to Carter.

    I think there are several possible up and comers who have the potential to rise to the occasion. There are rising stars in Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Jersey to keep your eye on.

    So — While there is relevance in what you say, the lack of an obvious candidate at this point really doesn’t mean jack. A historical review of the non-incumbent front-runners as of 2+ years prior to the national election shows that surprisingly few went the long way.

    Obama was not the front runner in 2006, Hillary was.

    Bush was not the front runner in 1998. I forget who that was, but it wasn’t him.

    1990: Clinton? Who’s that?

    Remember Gary Hart?

    And so forth. There are exceptions, but not a lot of them, where the front runner went to the finals, but, leading back into the 50s, there are far more faders than winners.

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