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Comparisons Of Obama To Carter Are Inapt And Unfair (To Carter)

Investor's Business Daily
January 6, 2010
By Ernest S. Christian and Gary A. Robbins

Because of President Obama's outrageous profligacy with the public purse, strong policy tilt to the left and weak performance on the world stage, some commentators foresee a failed presidency that does profound and permanent harm to the nation.

Others, although not predicting Armageddon, point to the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter when, like today, there was a confluence of economic crisis at home and dangerous timidity abroad.

But comparing Obama (and his potential destructiveness) to Carter (and his failure to achieve) is neither apt nor fair to President Carter.

Carter was mostly a typical Democrat of his time: naïve about the economy, enamored with government-engineered solutions, meddlesome by nature and weak on national defense. On the other hand, he was steeped in the traditions and values of middle class Americans. It was probably they who Carter-the-Baptist-Sunday-school- teacher had in mind on Inauguration Day when he swore to "preserve, protect and defend."

In contrast, Barack Obama's connections with mainstream America are slight. Before moving to Washington, his main experience was at Harvard and in the Hyde Park district of Chicago, both sui generis and certainly atypical of America.

Judged by his life record, his regard for the ways and worth of the American middle class is low.

Early in life (at about the same age Carter was when he joined the U.S. Navy), Obama joined the hardcore left in the "community organizing" business. He honed his skills and instructed his constituents in the techniques of using government power to gain money and wealth for themselves - at the expense of other people. He has since put this technique to good use in Washington.

Obama played in Chicago politics, sometimes aligning with practitioners of "grievance" politics who take a critical, often race-based view of America and its past, demanding redress, condemning market capitalism and, in some cases, disparaging America's Anglo-Saxon traditions of civil governance.

When he ran for president, Obama concealed his left-wing ideology, but true to its principles, eschewed the normally obligatory campaign obeisances to middle-class values and America's exceptional place in the firmament of nations. Instead, he talked about "transforming" America and gulled 60 million voters into thinking that change meant restoration, not destruction.

Once elected, he lurched back to the left and has spent his first year in office assiduously laying the foundation for dismantling much that most Americans hold dear.

Somewhat reminiscent of Carter, Obama has failed to stand up to Iran, tends toward being neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (except when prodded vigorously) and has taken a weak, apologetic stance on behalf of America in world affairs.

Carter's dovishness in the 1970s reflected his own piety and humility, as well as his near-messianic belief in his anointed role as world peacemaker.

In Obama's case, the evidence suggests a very different explanation for his behavior: He simply is not an admirer of America and its longstanding ethos. He wants to change America's economic system, redistribute its wealth, recast its essentially middle-class Judeo-Christian culture and switch its foreign alliances.

Obama seems not to have his heart in the war on terrorism. In Afghanistan, he's phlegmatically gone through the motions, sending more troops to be killed while he's planning to withdraw.

In the meantime, military commanders still fighting to win are cautioned not to "overreach."

Obama either doesn't understand, or doesn't like, free market capitalism. He continues to prescribe high-risk government elixirs that, when administered in greater quantities, will permanently damage the economy.

Obama does, however, understand how to loot the American middle class with his onrushing combination of monetary, tax and spending policies designed to rob them of $5 trillion to $10 trillion over a decade.

When Jimmy Carter ran for president, he said, "I'll never lie to you." And he didn't. He was honest to a fault, once confessing to a journalist that he "lusted in his heart." From day one, Barack Obama has been the Great Pretender, spinning webs of half-truths calculated to deceive.

The ObamaCare monstrosity, stuffed with pork and deception, claiming to do what it does not and pretending to do good while inflicting harm, is a national disgrace, an insult to the intelligence of every American and a fitting monument to President Obama's first year in office.

Jimmy Carter was not the greatest, but he wasn't the worst president America has had. Barack Obama is so far winning the race to the bottom.

Christian, an attorney, was a deputy assistant secretary of the treasury in the Ford administration. Robbins, an economist, served at the Treasury Department in the Reagan administration.

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