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January 10, 2010

Playing the Carter Card


A classic right-wing tactic, branding the Democrat as soft to stimulate overcompensation … as if Obama wasn’t flexing enough muscle already. The cheap association to Carter is as good as writing “wimp” across Obama’s forehead.”

But then, we can see where all that testosterone got us over eight “he-man” years of Cheney/Bush.

  • bystander

    Ya know, I could almost imagine this happening, but not for the reasons proffered. And, that’s something I’m coming to realize about media framing. They might be correct in foretelling an outcome, but absolutely dead wrong on mechanism that produced it. Consequently, I “see” two things in this image. (1) A nudge for the viewer to consider/reflect/internalize a possible outcome (self-fulfilling prophecy?). (2) A ready made explanation by which to make sense of the outcome (should it occur), and a ready means by which to communicate the reasons for the outcome. And, it’s insidious. Not like Foreign Policy’s publisher has any pre-conceived notions about its preferences, or anything. After all, Sally Quinn is very concerned about the Obama’s social errors.

  • James

    There are a lot of cockroaches inside the federal government left behind by Cheney and his minions. The Obama administration better start cleaning house and getting rid of these insects. Start with the CIA and DoD.

  • crabby

    I say embrace the comparison, Carter wasn’t a freaking crook. Look what he does with his time… builds houses for less fortunate. That is an example that we all could use.
    So he asked us to wear a sweater to strike back at the oil kings – and americans scoffed. He tried to rescue the Iraian hostages and the military failed him. Regean and Bush madea deal with the terrorist and they are heros.
    God bless Jimmy Carter may we have another please?!!
    Oh Yea, I almost forgot – screw Regean into hell please, and the Bushes including Jeb.

  • Ursula L

    When I first saw this image here, my first thought was “Carter? Camp David Accords?” and expecting it to be a pro-Obama. You could do a good Obama discussion comparing Carters successes and failures, which would emphasize that skilled negotiation works, while hard-line refusals to negotiate and military solutions make things worse.

  • Zoey & Me

    You said a mouthful!

  • DennisQ

    The cover is misleading. That’s really not what the article is about. The author, Walter Russell Mead, oversimplifies his argument so you can see what he’s thinking. But he does not at all say “Obama = Carter” or anything like that.
    Mead argues that four schools of thought inform American foreign policy, and he names and defines each of them – Jeffersonian, Hamiltonian, Jacksonian and Wilsonian. The comparison of Obama to Carter is not that Obama is wimpy, but that he may be attempting too much:
    There is an additional political problem for this president, one that he shares with Carter. In both cases, their basic Jeffersonian approach was balanced in part by a strong attraction to idealistic Wilsonian values and their position at the head of a Democratic Party with a distinct Wilsonian streak. A pure Jeffersonian wants to conserve the shining exceptionalism of the American democratic experience and believes that American values are rooted in U.S. history and culture and are therefore not easily exportable.
    For this president, that is too narrow a view. Like Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama doesn’t just love the United States for what it is. He loves what it should — and can — be. Leadership is not the art of preserving a largely achieved democratic project; governing is the art of pushing the United States farther down the road toward the still-distant goal of fulfilling its mission and destiny.

    It’s unfortunate that writers have little control over headlines or magazine covers. This is a more nuanced article than the sensational cover would suggest.

  • gmoke

    Carter was calling for 20% of our energy from renewables by the year 2000. If we had continued down that road, it would be an entirely different world today. He didn’t do that because of climate change but because of national security and economic security.
    Reagan came in and shut down that option. With extreme prejudice. Reagan killed us. See what the he-man act will get you? The Wimp was right although none of Reagan’s babies will ever admit it.

  • tinwoman

    What is wrong with being like Carter? I’ve always admired him, both during his presidency and after. The notion of Carter as a “failed” President is a trope invented by the same Nixonite SOBs who sabotaged his last year in the White House and illegally carried on negotiations with foreign powers on behalf of their own party. What chance did Carter ever have against such unprincipled people?
    Would that Obama were as good as Jimmy Carter. Huh.

  • Joe Blow

    Carter is one of my favorite presidents.
    after the V-WAR, and in the shock of liberation movements all over Africa and elsewhere, when the “Commies” and teh pesky CUbans were winning… Carter stood up and said that Human Rights were for all people, and that Amercia stood on the side of those who WANTED those rights and would no longer support dictators and strong-men as we had in the past.
    This was historic and changed the whole revolutionary movement. (that, and failure)
    of course we also had the “Carter Doctrine” which pretty much said we owned all the oil in the middle east and pretty much led us down the path that idiots took us into Iraq..
    “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force”
    and that includes you freakin Arabs too!

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