Been there, done that

Jeffrey Lord takes us back to the early days of the Carter administration, where America’s newfound weakness was broadcast to the world:

In May of 1977, Carter was just over four months into his presidency. He was very much the popular new president. His initial popularity still holds the record for newly installed presidents, with Gallup scoring him at an impressive 71%. In comparison, President Obama at a similar point scored a 68%. Thus the controversy Carter stirred by his Notre Dame commencement address was notable, since in retrospect it put Carter on a glide path to one of the most unsuccessful presidencies in modern times…

Perhaps more importantly than Carter’s personal political fate the speech signaled his decision to abandon his party’s identification with the policies of military strength and American exceptionalism championed by Democrats from FDR to JFK and LBJ. Instead, Carter chose to move the country towards the more left-leaning foreign and defense policies advocated by 1972 nominee Senator George McGovern. The results were decidedly not approved of by the American public…

The most notable single sentence in Carter’s Notre Dame speech was this one: “We are now free of that inordinate fear of Communism which once led us to embrace any dictator who joined us in our fear.” Carter went on to insist that it was time to govern with a “wider framework of international cooperation” because “the world today is in the midst of the most profound and rapid transformation in its entire history.”…

“Words matter,” President Obama is fond of saying, and so they do. Jimmy Carter’s words at Notre Dame in fact mattered a great deal, as did the actions that flowed from those words. As the date draws near for the Obama appearance at Notre Dame, it is a useful reminder that this same occasion 32 years ago became the stage on which the words of Jimmy Carter set the Carter presidency, America and the world on a fateful course. The world — which very much included the Soviets, the Iranian mullahs and the Nicaraguan Communist guerillas among many others — was watching and listening.

The results included the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the establishment of a Soviet and Cuban base of operations in Central America, the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran, the taking of American hostages in Iran, the mass murder by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and finally the wreckage of Carter’s presidency. (And that doesn’t even count the crippling of the US economy with double-digit inflation, interest rates and unemployment.) Perhaps most disturbingly, the Carter era as represented by Carter himself in his Notre Dame speech would eventually set in motion the creation of Al Qaeda and the Islamic terrorist zeitgeist that has engulfed the world ever since.

Sigh. “Example is the school of mankind and they will learn at no other.” We just hope that the second Carter administration will turn out better than the first.

One Response to “Been there, done that”

  1. David/California Says:

    Barrack ‘Steve Urkel’ Obama = the new round-bottom, blow-up doll of international diplomacy.

    Oba-Urkel dithers for two days, while four illiterate savages in rags hold off the United States Navy. I am horribly reminded of Jimmy Carter’s Iranian Hostage Crisis.

    How’s that new ‘soft’ diplomacy working for you, BO? Maybe you should slash the Defense budget some more?

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