This view seems to be catching on.
Carter at least did not substitute his priorities for the nation’s.
By Holoman W. Jenkins, Jr., Opinion, The Wall Street Journal
The good news is that growing economies can afford a great deal of government, if not quite as much as the Europeans and the U.S. have promised themselves.
The bad news is that “policy error” are the saddest words in the language. These words, starting in the 1960s, came to dominate serious post mortems on the Great Depression of the 1930s, which blighted so many lives.
Which brings us to President Obama. Has a president ever arrived freer to choose his own course, to devise his own response to the economic crisis that greeted him in office? Candidate Obama landed with no explicit ideological commitments (at least that he cared to share). He was an icon of something else altogether, and his followers were ready to follow wherever he led.
Alas, a few days before his all-but-certain election, he glibly telegraphed what would prove the seminal mistake of his administration, telling Time magazine’s Joe Klein that, right after fixing the financial crisis, “a new energy economy . . . That’s going to be my No. 1 priority when I get into office.”
The financial crisis would not be fixed, but Mr. Obama decided our sagging economy would just have to endure fights over the big ideas he was so determined to implement anyway, including health care, re-empowering labor, redressing income inequality, etc.
Let us suggest a counterintuitive historical parallel. Jimmy Carter also came to the presidency as a “progressive” Democrat, amid a failing economy. He also had considerable freedom to define his own agenda, riding a wave of Watergate revulsion rather than an ideological mandate.
But Mr. Carter had served aboard Navy submarines. He ran a peanut plantation. He served one term as Georgia governor—real jobs that produce real effects. Mr. Carter saw himself in some realistic relation to the world.
One more reason to visit the Blogfather daily: He
get’s gets there early!
Post Script: Carter did indeed serve on and qualify as a submariner on diesel electric boats (SS), and he did indeed complete the Navy’s Nuclear Power School, but he was dosed out (received a lifetime permissible dose) as part of the Chalk River cleanup and never actually served aboard nuclear submarines (SSN).
UPDATE: Glen links in with “NICE TO SEE PEOPLE RECOGNIZING my prescience.” I view it as credit where it’s due.