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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

American Experience: Jimmy Carter

For President's Day PBS ran an American Experience special on the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. What struck me most was the fact that Carter -- who is almost universally regarded as a failed President -- was caught in the middle of: 1) being perceived as weak in foreign policy and, 2) a bad economy (inflation). What struck me about that is the efforts that Democrat Presidents after Carter -- Obama, in particular -- have made to never again be caught in that tinderbox. The perception of weakness in foreign policy and a bad economy are the bane of all Democrat Presidents after Carter.

I have always asked myself why a President as intelligent and well read in the history of the world as Obama clearly is would double down on Afghanistan, the graveyard of Empires. What was the point? Could it be -- and I am being more than a bit cynical here -- that Obama knew the economic hardship that was coming and could not -- could not! -- pull the U.S. out of its commitments in Afghanistan out for fear of casting himself in that limp Carter mode?

Fear of the double Carter whammy?

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