So far, President Obama has been a failure. His stimulus has been a bust, the economy far worse than he projected things would be without that huge expenditure. His constant TV appearances only turn people further against whatever he is pushing. On foreign affairs, he’s seen no positive movement, with Iran getting ever closer to being a nuclear threat and Obama flummoxed on how to stop that. And what seemed to be Obama’s only strength — his worldwide popularity — was proven completely useless in his unsuccessful bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago, the International Olympic Committee apparently getting Obama to drop everything and fly to Copenhagen just so they could laugh at him to his face.
Our economy is in shambles, foreign threats are growing, and America is a laughingstock. So people are asking the question: is Obama as bad as Carter?
That’s not a question to take lightly, as we should not accuse someone of being like Jimmy Carter without good cause. There are millions of Americans who still feel the pain of living in the Carter era, and to invoke Carter’s name frivolously is extremely insensitive to them. Still, we often forget that Carter is just a man (and not misery and human failure given the form of a man, as many have come to believe), and if we are not careful, it is possible to have another just like him — and who knows how long it will take us to recover from that?
I was born in 1979, so I don’t really know the Carter presidency firsthand. I first found out about Carter when as a child I realized there was a four-year gap between the end of the Ford presidency and the beginning of Reagan leading us from the darkness. Curious, I asked my parents, “Who was president from January ’77 to January ’81?”
“We don’t speak of that!” I was promptly told. My father promised to beat me mercilessly if I ever brought it up again. This only made me more curious, so I snuck out to the library (this was where information was locally stored in the pre-internet age). Most of the newspaper microfilms and magazines from those years were also gone, but I found a few clippings and some further information in books in the occult section. Soon I pieced together a portrait of the man known as Jimmy Carter.
No one is quite sure where he came from — some say the depths of hell, and others a peanut farm in Georgia. How he came to power is also vague. Some say America angered the gods (probably something the hippies did), and they cursed us and took away our senses. Or it could have just been from all the illicit drugs being done back then that no one can remember how he got there. What they do all recall is his vacant, soulless eyes and his giant, toothy grin. Children would cry at the sight of him, as if they already knew the horror that was soon to befall the country.
Only days into Carter’s presidency, the economy collapsed. There were lines for gas and outbreaks in crime. The Iranians started taking hostages with us impotent to stop them. And all Carter ever did was sit there and grin like an idiot, and as the country’s misery grew, so did Carter’s ghastly smile. Remember, while this was going on, we had the Soviets staring us down, waiting for any sign of weakness so they could annihilate us. The Lord only knows why they didn’t strike, because the grinning fool surely would have done nothing. Perhaps, seeing him, they were moved to pity us. It seemed there was no hope for America, but finally one day a valiant rabbit attacked President Carter, apparently breaking whatever dark spell he had over us and allowing us to banish him from the presidency.
Yes, the country barely survived the Carter years, so to ask if Obama is like Carter is to ask if the years ahead of us hold unimaginable misery. Sure, Obama is making a mess of things, failing miserably at home and abroad, but I say that America was so strengthened throughout the Reagan years that we could never fall as low as we were during the Carter presidency again. We learned from that time and took strength from what didn’t destroy us. Now the Carter presidency is something from America’s dark past to never be revisited again, like slavery. Obama may prove to be an epic dunce, but America is too great for even him to rend it apart like Carter did. Plus, as novice and foolish as Obama is, even he has to have learned from the failure of Carter.
Or at least we hope so.
But what happened to Carter? After his reign of terror, he was sentenced to a chain gang and forced to build houses in an attempt to make him finally give something back to society after all of his damage. He eventually escaped though, and occasionally we still see videos of him rambling about America’s racism or his hastily scrawled manuscripts attacking Israel. Our enemies even got together and tried to prop him up, awarding him the Nobel “Screw You America” Prize. So anytime you begin to drop your guard, remember that he’s still out there.
And he’s still eligible to serve another term.