The Carter presidency was a mixed bag, but he had the requisite adult judgment for the job. He did not abandon his "progressive" values, but he could see the obvious—that the times called for backing and filling in the "progressive" project, not charging ahead, onward and upward oblivious to realities.
He never got credit from the political calendar, but the Reagan economy was truly built on a Carter-Reagan foundation. Lost amid the shouting, the continuities of American life are often impressively large. Check out Mr. Carter's speech to the 1980 Democratic convention, in which he boasted unembarrassedly and at length about "slashing regulations" and "restoring free enterprise" to failing regulated industries.
You perhaps see where we're going. Mr. Obama's career has been one in which the main effect has been the impression he leaves on audiences—the main effect has been himself. Familiarity with his country—or any other country—would be helpful at this point, if only to counterweight his mesmerization with the arc of his personal story…
The suspicion becomes nigh irresistible, however, that Mr. Obama is lacking in the leadership department as the country stumbles towards its ultimate financial crisis. But give him credit for one world-historical achievement: He makes Carter look good.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Millard Fillmore and U.S. Grant are starting to look better, too
Why, yes, as a matter of fact, Jimmy Carter was a better president than Barack Obama. Holman Jenkins, Jr. explains: