Guess who?

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An interesting comparison from Mark Moyar at National Review:
A newcomer to national politics, he claimed to transcend partisan labels. He moved to the center during the campaign, at a time when the Democrats held large congressional majorities. In a troubled economy, he told voters he would keep taxes down for most Americans, limit spending, and balance the budget, all while implementing ambitious social programs. He planned to cut military spending to free money for other purposes, but assured moderates and conservatives that when it came to America�s enemies, he would be tougher than the Republicans. The media, droves of moderates, and some conservatives believed him, having pegged him as a man of character.
Figured out who this is yet? Let's read a bit more:
His name was Jimmy Carter, the year was 1976, and he won. His presidency helps us predict the likely results of an Obama victory in 2008.

What did the majority of 1976 get in return for its votes? Carter�s campaign vow to avoid increasing payroll taxes went out the window: He and Congress raised Social Security taxes through the roof. They also slapped large new taxes on oil and gas. Meanwhile, Carter canceled his plan for a tax refund to Americans earning under $30,000. Casting aside more campaign pledges, Carter and Congress increased annual federal spending from $403 billion to $579 billion and grew the national debt from $709 billion to $914 billion. Tens of billions of dollars went to new jobs programs, urban aid, and mushrooming entitlements, and Carter�s promise to stop Democratic pork-barrel spending was abandoned.

Carter and the Democratic Congress generated 18 percent inflation and economic stagnation at the same time. Unemployment rose. Americans came to regret the votes they had cast � Carter�s approval rating sank to 21 percent in 1980, the lowest in the history of polling.

Carter also threw out his professed hawkishness on foreign policy. Declaring America liberated from its �inordinate fear of Communism,� he sought better relations with the Communists in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and Vietnam. He was much less nice to America�s allies, withdrawing support from those who did not accept his self-righteous demands for human-rights reforms. Friendly regimes in Nicaragua and Iran fell to hostile tyrants.

If Obama abandons his promises the way Carter did, his presidency will be even more dangerous. Carter at least had longstanding tendencies toward fiscal restraint, and he, together with a large block of conservative Democrats in Congress, prevented the most left-wing elements of Congress from taxing and spending even more. Obama, on the other hand, has himself been part of the most left-wing element in the U.S. Senate, and conservatives do not have a significant presence on the Democratic side of the Reid-Pelosi Congress. Also, Obama has no history of breaking with his party before this year.
Well, the good news is that Carter was booted out after one term and Regan won with 91% of the Electoral vote. Hat tip to No Looking Backwards for the link.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 24, 2008 9:08 PM.

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