Running Against Ghosts


Specters haunt our political discourse. For decades, Republicans have tried to frame their Democrat opponents as the next Jimmy Carter. For a couple of generations, Democrats tried to paint every Republican as another Herbert Hoover. But as the voters who lived through those disastrous presidencies have died off, the tactic has lost its emotional connection to the electorate’s personal experiences and become less useful. My parents were in high school during the Hoover administration; I wasn’t born until after World War II. Their understanding of the early years of the Great Depression are personal; mine are second hand. Similarly, my son was born during the Reagan Administration, so he has no memories of Jimmy Carter as President.

Thus, it would seem that we should see the Republican’s running against Carter to peter out over the next few years just as the Democrats have given Hoover a rest.

Except that it appears that the Democrats are so desperate for something to run on that they’re bring  back comparing their opposition to Hoover. Bret Stephens has a piece over at the New York Times called Herbert Hoover’s Ghost comparing President Trump’s tariff policies with the Smoot-Hawley disaster of the early 1930’s. Of course, the world economy is very different today than it was in 1930, so even if Trump’s policies are mistaken (and I think some are), his tariffs won’t cause world trade to contract by over 60 percent as happened almost 90 years ago. Indeed, the weak recovery from 2009 to 2017 was quite similar to the weak recovery from 1933 to 1941. Yet, Stephens predicts:

The darker echoes of the 1930s are sounding louder. The shadow of Hoover grows longer. We know how this movie ends.

If the recent past is prolog, I expect the movie’s script to end with a plot twist the says the Trump’s policies were the result of collusion with the Russians and fully outlined in the emails that were missing from the server in Hillary Clinton’s bathroom. I also expect that movie’s script will not reflect what happens in the Real World.

Jimmy Carter and the Good Old Days


Over at PJ Media Tyler O’Neil has a post called Is Obama as Bad as Carter? No, He’s Worse. Jimmy Carter’s presidency is viewed most as a failure, but, to his credit, Carter did try to change course on some policies that were obvious losers.

Rather than altering his policies for the good of the people, Obama persists, aiming to enshrine his agenda in law, with or without the Constitution. Compared to the rule of such an ideologue, the Carter days may be good indeed.

Read the whole thing.

Back in 2008, there were some of us who viewed Barack Obama as Carter Mk2 as a best case scenario. We told you so.

Obama, Carter, and Hollow Presidencies


Do you remember back in 2008/2009 when it was said that Obama’s presidency would be like Jimmy Carter’s second term?

Dan Balz, WaPo

When President Obama was elected in 2008, his victory signaled a generational change and the prospect of renewal for the Democratic Party. Instead, the opposite has occurred. Over the past six years, the party has been hollowed out.

You may also remember that some of us said that Carter’s second term was a best case scenario.

He’s Reagan. No, He’s Carter


American Glob notices that Democrats always seem to cite a Republican president when they want to compare Barack Obama to someone successful. (H/T, Instapundit)

The only Republican I would put in the same league as Barack Obama is Herbert Hoover, and I see him as more like other Democrats such as Jimmy Carter or James Buchanan.