Published August 07, 2011
The evidence is mounting more than ever to suggest that President Obama is morphing into failed Democratic President Jimmy Carter.
The latest comparison was made by dour New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in her column on July 30. This is some of what she said:
"Democratic lawmakers worry that the Tea Party freshmen have already 'neutered' the president," as one told me. They fret that Obama is an inept negotiator. They worry that he should have been out in the country selling a concrete plan, rather than once more kowtowing to Republicans and, as with the stimulus plan, health care and Libya, leading from behind.
As one Democratic senator complained: 'The president veers between talking like a peevish professor and a scolding parent.' (Not to mention a jilted lover.) Another moaned: 'We are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes.'"
Dowd who once loved Obama is now souring on her liberal-media-created sensation and now she believes that the comparison of Obama to Carter is a valid one.
So what are the valid comparisons between the presidencies of Obama and Carter that allow for even a Democratic Senator to allege it?
Carter: Ineffective. He was seen as a micro-manager who even had to decide who was allowed to play on the White House Tennis Court.
Obama: Ineffective. He is the ultimate delegator who likes being president but doesn't like the work. He rather sub-contract presidential leadership to Reid and Pelosi on health care and the vice President on spending and the economy and Secretary Clinton on foreign affairs.
Carter: He was paralyzed by the Iranian Hostage Crisis where 52 Americans were held against their will for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, (the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president). During his presidency he was consumed by the crisis and in the end was powerless to end it.
Obama: He ran on a platform of apology to foreign enemy powers for past American "aggression" and pledged to usher in a new approach toward Iran that would bring better relations between the U.S. and Iran.
President Obama has failed to bring Iran around and in fact, today, two American hikers have been held hostage for over a year and a half by the Iranian government
Iran continues to crack down on its people and is accelerating their plans to build nuclear weapons. The country's leadership also continues to arm rebels in Iraq, Syria and other Middle East hot spots and destabilize the region.
Carter: In 1979 America faced an oil crisis in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution. OPEC reduced production and as a result oil prices shot through the roof and supply was severely curtailed.
Carter, instead of taking on OPEC and demanding increased production, imposed rationing on gasoline, and home heating oil and placed tariffs on imported oil. America literally ran out of gas and what gas could be purchased was paid for at outrageous prices.
Obama: In the aftermath of his sluggish response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico the Obama administration ceased drilling in the Gulf and set in place a moratorium on new offshore drilling. This action was being taken in spite on America's dependency on foreign oil. Gas prices have risen over 120 percent since Obama has taken office.
Carter: Because of his failure to lead and his failed economic policies of government spending and indecision, the "misery index" - unemployment plus inflation - crested at 20 percent, the highest number since WWII. Add double-digit interest rates into the mix and you have "stagflation." Stagflation is defined as a situation in which the inflation rate is high and the growth rate is low. The result was high prices, high unemployment, low confidence, and low growth.
Obama: There is no doubt that Obama like Carter inherited a recession, however, it is equally apparent that both leaders made their situations much worse by their actions and inaction.
Obama, like Carter, went on a government-spending spree in response to the recession with little to show for it.
Obama promised that if his $800 billion stimulus were passed the national unemployment rate would not exceed 8 percent. Our country's unemployment rate has not dipped below 8% since Obama has been president and has spiked above 10% well after the stimulus was passed.
Instead of dealing with high unemployment, soaring energy prices, a record number home foreclosures, bankruptcies and record setting debt, Obama turned his attention to health care and started a third war in Libya.
The president caused the current self-inflicted crisis on the debt ceiling increase this summer by failing to lead well in advance of the deadline. He could have taken the recommendations of his bi-partisan commission as a starting point to lead on spending and deficit reduction over a year ago when their report was delivered to the White House.
Carter: At the time of his re-election campaign his approval ratings was below 30% and a majority of Americans felt that America was on the wrong track.
Obama: Today the president's approval rating averages 42% and a majority of Americans believe we are on the wrong track.
The hallmark of the Carter years was the word "malaise." Malaise is defined as "a feeling of uneasiness, indisposition, and distress." All these symptoms existed during Carter's tenure and we can clearly see these same symptoms -- and some additional new ones -- manifesting themselves under Obama's tenure.
President Obama has governed at a time of America high unemployment, low GDP growth, inflation on the rise for consumer goods, falling housing prices, a stalled housing market, home foreclosures and bankruptcies at record levels, high gas prices, 3 wars, and a government that spends too much and takes in too little.
While "malaise" may have defined the Carter years perhaps the word "funk" best describes the the Obama years so far.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and writes frequently for Fox News Opinion.