The myth of the incumbent President: a look back at the Reagan/Carter race.
(Page 3 of 6)
The Republican alternative is the biggest tax giveaway in history. They call it Reagan-Kemp-Roth; I call it a free lunch that Americans cannot afford. The Republican tax program offers rebates to the rich, deprivation for the poor, and fierce inflation for all of us.
• Here’s Obama doing his version of the same attack.
Obama in this clip from a speech at Osawatomie, Kansas:
Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger…..
Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked.
One could go on here about the tie between the Carter and Obama policies and rhetoric.
And on and on and on. As we once noted in this space (May 13, 2008, to be exact) what Obama was proposing in 2008 was Jimmy Carter’s second term.
Now, it’s here. The unemployment, the high gas prices, the class warfare, the attacks on “big oil” — all of it has returned with a vengeance.
As the final campaign season begins to come into view featuring a showdown between Governor Romney and President Obama, it’s worth this look back at the 1980 race precisely because it became a classic showdown between left and right. With Obama now trying to run exactly the same Carteresque playbook.
Can Romney easily defeat a President Obama just as Reagan defeated a President Carter?
Of course he can. And a look back at 1980 can also tell us that for all the bravado the Carter White House was dishing out, inside they were acutely aware they were in serious danger of losing in a landslide.
No less than Carter White House Chief of Staff and 1976 campaign manager Hamilton Jordan had sat down in January of 1979 and put together a then-top secret memo (hat tip to the late Theodore H. White) for Carter titled:
EYES ONLY: To President Carter. From: Hamilton Jordan
Subject: The Myth of the Incumbent President.
Covering the possibility of everything from a re-nomination challenge (which did eventually appear in the form of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy) to the final campaign against the as-yet still unknown 1980 GOP nominee, Jordan was blunt.
Over the two-hundred-year history of our country, the myth developed and was sustained by events that incumbent Presidents are always re-elected.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?