Thirty two years ago a Democrat politician with very little experience "transcended" politics as usual and was lifted on waves of good will to the White Housewrites Bruce Walker.
It seems to be happening again. Jimmy Carter is unknown to most young Americans. Most Americans do not remember how Carter magically seemed to appear on the American political scene. Perhaps a history lesson is in order.Read the rest, especially where Bruce Walker brings back the following memories:
Carter promised change and hope. He told us that the mean and cynical government that we had come to expect from Washington was a thing of the past.
Millions of Americans, many of them who had remained uninvolved in American politics, listened. They trusted Carter to be "different." His carefully crafted words led people to believe that Jimmy Carter was something very different from the typical sort of Democrat. Carter would try something new. He was an idealist who was not wedded to failed ideals of the past.
Then Carter won.
In his History of the American People, Paul Johnson writes thatCarter, after the Soviets assassinated our ambassador in Afghanistan and then invaded that nation, was "surprised" that Communism was aggressive and malignant. His response was to try to exert diplomatic pressure on the Soviets as well as trade sanctions. Jimmy Carter, well into the middle of his presidency, seriously seems to have considered that Marxist-Leninist regimes were somehow like another form of socialist democracy, that Moscow was no threat to America, and that the proliferation of virulently anti-American dictators around the globe was in our long term best interest.All of this sounds very much like Barack Obama. Carter was "magic" because he was the first nominee from the Deep South, the first nominee who talked a great deal about his religion. Obama is "magic" because he is the first black candidate and because he speaks very well. Carter was all smiles and civility, just like Obama is all niceness and calm. Pointedly, neither man speaks about political philosophy much at all.
Carter actually added to American weakness by well-meaning but ill-thought-through ventures. One of them was his 'human rights' policy, based on the Helsinki Accords
…A human rights lobby grew up within the administration, taking over a whole section of the State Department, which worked actively to enforce the Accords. Thus, it played a major role in the overthrow of the Somoza regime in Nicaragua. … The 'sharp break' took the form, in 1979, of the overthrow of Somoza, a faithful if distasteful ally of America, and his replacement by a Marxist and pro-Soviet regime, whose attitude to human rights was even more contemptuous and which campaigned openly for the overthrow of America's allies in Guatemala, El Salvador, and elsewhere in Central America
…The next year the State Department's Bureau of Human Rights played a significant part in undermining the position of another old ally, the Shah of Iran, whose pro-Western regime was overthrown by orchestrated street-mobs in 1979. It was replaced by a Moslem fundamentalist terror regime, which swiftly accumulated an unprecedented record of gross human rights abuses and characterized the US as the 'Great Satan.'
…During the 1970s the Cold War spread to virtually every part of the globe and was marked by two developments: the contraction of US naval power, and the expansion of Soviet naval power.
…While the Carter administration was adept at damaging friends and allies, it failed to develop any coherent response to this extension of the Cold War