February 8, 2009

"I would rather do the right thing and have 1 term than be mediocre and have 2."

So said Obama.

Sounds like something Bush would say. It was Bush who decided to do what he thought was right and to accept the love or the hate that came with it.

But it also makes me think of Jimmy Carter. Because, you know, it is possible to be mediocre and have only 1 term.


blake said...

Difference being, W actually was doing the right thing, against a lot more pressure.

I was amused by Obama's reflection on Daschle; it could've easily been W on one of his cronies.

Franco said...

I think he'd even more rather do the wrong thing and have 3!

I have recently concluded that Obama and his team want to cause and aggravate crises and use them to gain power and control.

Try looking at events with that perspective and everything they do and say starts making sense.

Mark Daniels said...

Every recent president has said that in one form or another. It sounds noble and some may even have meant it when they said it.

Curious, Ann: Dumping on Carter has become a convention. Why do you think that his presidency was mediocre? I'd be interested in your reasoning as opposed to that of other, less informed people.

AllenS said...

I think what a lot of people like myself fear, is that he'll do the wrong things for 8 or 10 years. He simply doesn't know any better. Let's take Chicago, when he was a community organizer. When he left that job, was the south side of Chicago better off? Did the graduation rate rise? Were more jobs created? Did the hospital job that Michelle worked at make health care more affordable?

fcai said...

Do the right thing - haven't we heard that somewhere else?

And for those of us who lived through the Carter presidency we are informed. He was a disaster - mediocre is too kind.

Sad thing is, BO is too uncoordinated, too untrained and too weak to even build moldy houses. He will be a failure both in and out of the office. And the sooner he is out, the sooner we can start repairing the damage he is doing.

Meade said...

"Because, you know, it is possible to be mediocre and have only 1 term."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I agree with fcai.

I lived through Carter also. I can't put my finger on the word for it, but there was a feeling everywhere of DOOM. Kinda like now.

Reagan whupped Carter's ass handily, but I think Jerry Ford could beat Carter in '80; people were that ready to get Carter out of the White House.

At this point I see the same process in 2012. Whoever the Reps run will come off as a savior. Lets hope they have Reagan's principles of government down pat, and Obama doen't have 600 million ot stuff the ballot boxes again.

EnigmatiCore said...

"But it also makes me think of Jimmy Carter. Because, you know, it is possible to be mediocre and have only 1 term."

George Herbert Walker Bush had only 1 term, with it being mediocre.

Carter could not even manage that bar.

Psychedelic George said...

Right thing, wrong thing—either way the pain will be brutal.

We've got banks, people, companies, home owners all being crushed, flattened, squashed by eye-popping, innard squishing debt that's forcing the air out of the lungs of the economy to complete the anatomical metaphor.

Was at two malls yesterday....70 percent off sales. Two shopkeepers told me it made no difference. People are too afraid to spend. Like swallows before the storm, they're swooping for cover.

He's got to let it all get unwound. Lots of selling, lots of bankruptcies, lots of unemployment. He's got to pull down the walls and ceiling of the burning building so the new one can be built.

He's not going to be that popular, except with government workers who have jobs for life and pensions.

Jason (warmer) said...

It hasn't been a month and she's already comparing him to Carter. Can someone please calculate when she'll be talking Hitler?

But, I too, see the resemblance (Carter), with all the micromanaging.

Jason (warmer) said...

Wait a minute. He said that to the Democrats when he was trying to get them to back the stimulus bill?!

He IS Carter. Talk about malaise.

I also loved this bit:

Nancy Pelosi told her leadership team that she had told the president, “I don’t mind you driving the bus over me, but I don’t appreciate your backing it up and running over me again and again.”

SHE uses the bus analogy. The right wing media has gotten into her head.

Michael H said...

I entered the workplace a short time before Carter took office. He was a horrible president.

The prime rate rose to 18%, inflation was above 15% at one time. Mortgage interest rates wer astronomical - I built a home and the interest rate was 14%, and that was the best deal I could find.

Many businesses and individuals went bankrupt because of the economic situation. My first five employers after completing college went bankrupt.

The Arabs cut the supply of crude oil to punish Carter for America overthrowing the Shah of Iran and engineering his replacement with Ayatollah Khomeini, who promptly kidnapped and held as hostage a group of Americans in Iran. Gasoline prices soared as gas became scarce. People waited in line for hours at gas station to get a few scant gallons of gas when it was available.

Carter did nothing except try to micro-manage every federal department, an poorly at that. He went to television to tell his fellow citizens that they suffered from 'national malaise' and had to recognize that America's time a world leader may have passed.

The voters properly sent him packing at the first opportunity.

Ralph said...

In Carter's defense, most of the high tax rates, inflation and government regulations were already in place--he failed to realize they were strangling the economy. He did sign the 1978 reduction in the capital gains rate, but with inflation raging, it wasn't enough to restore confidence for investors. BO seems to have even less of a clue about economics.

Chip Ahoy said...

The statement doesn't make sense because if he did the right thing then a second term would be assured and if he's mediocre voters will look for excellence elsewhere.

What kind of distortion leads to a statement reversed and delusional as that? The kind of distorted thinking whose firm redistributive values cannot allow the right advice to penetrate.

The United States has in this president precisely what it deserves. And that goes for the whole world. Conservatism and it's proponents are unrelentingly ridiculed through every outlet of the media, save for radio, and liberalism disguised as progressivism is unchallenged, accepted on faith. (Within the last few days Cher, to whom a battleship is just a background prop for a lewd musical video, issued yet another of her typically vapid axiomatic remarks having to do with political things "she doesn't understand," which is taken as received wisdom by her admirers) This man was voted in for a myriad of reasons, none having to do with a conveyed understanding of what makes economies work and what makes economies fail. Take a bow, you got what you wanted.

Have I mentioned partisanship sucks? Association with a political party tends to reinforce biases and causes voters to persist in making daft choices, especially problematic when applied to senators who tend to amass inordinate power. Loyalty to a political party is loyalty misplaced.

PatCA said...

"Mr. Obama should have written up a kosher (as in pork-free) bill that Americans could trust—and Republicans couldn’t as easily mock— and jammed it through."

She got that right. But this is his first attempt at governance or leadership. He should get the hang of it in eight or so more years. Now he's settling for "the only thing you have to fear is...complete catastrophe if I don't get what I want!"

Chip Ahoy said...

Mr. Obama doesn't write bills, the House does. What he could have done is issue clear instructions to Pelosi and to Reed as to what he expects the bill to contain and what he expects it to exclude, along with the threat of veto if it contains excessive mattress stuffing or exceeds a reasonable dollar amount. But he hasn't the political or economic acumen to do anything of the sort, so instead he issues statements about helping the American people and the "folks" out there know that blah blah blah, and they want blah blah blah and other platitudes and country homilies.

Beth said...

Lets hope they [Republicans] have Reagan's principles of government down pat

Well, they've long-mastered the part where they claim to want smaller government but actually expand it to the tune of huge deficits. I assume they learned that from Reagan.

dick said...

Well, with this stimulus bill you will have doubled the expense of the whole 6 years of Iraq and get no benefit from it except even more pork - and that will be delayed a couple of years to start with. Guess the Demmies really learned the lesson and are going to apply it to the max. Talka about deficits!

XWL said...

Implying Carter was just "mediocre" is an insult to mediocrity.

He'd have to have been ten times the President he was just to sniff the ass of mediocrity.

(and as bad as he was as President, he's been ten times worse as an Ex-president)

blake said...

Well, they've long-mastered the part where they claim to want smaller government but actually expand it to the tune of huge deficits. I assume they learned that from Reagan.

True. Democrats, on the other hand, claim to want government that works, but just expand it to the tune of huge deficits and future obligations large enough to crush the economy. I assume they learned that from FDR.

Seven Machos said...

Althouse -- You are thinking of the first George Bush.

For Carter, surely you meant to say that it is possible to have a disastrous single term.

Beldar said...

Mediocre is far too kind to describe Jimmy Carter's presidency. You must have repressed your memories of 1978-1980 in particular. Carter was the worst president of the 20th Century by a fairly wide margin.

Mark in Spokane said...

Most presidents who get a second term usually don't accomplish anything great during that term anyway. I would argue that many two term presidents seem "mediocre" because by the time they get to the second term, they either are out of ideas or they hit a wall where they can't get their ideas implemented.

Look at W. and social security reform -- a big idea, and a continuation of much of his domestic public agenda from the first term (NCLB, Medicare entitlements, etc.). But he couldn't get Congress to look at it -- even prior to 2006 when the GOP controlled both houses.

Kev said...

He's not going to be that popular, except with government workers who have jobs for life and pensions.

The notion of government jobs for life is the first thing that must change if we're truly going to get out of this mess. It's time to grow the productive class, allow nobody to work in government for more than ten years, and expand the notion of "shared sacrifice" to everyone in the executive and legislative branches. No more "rules for thee, but not for me." No more "I cheat on my taxes, and I go to prison, but this guy cheats on his taxes and he becomes Treasury secretary."

The people who actually Do Something are the only ones who can solve our current problems. Those in government can't, and won't, because it wouldn't feed their (pick one, or all) ballot box, wallet or ego.

josil said...

Beldar is precisely correct: Carter was the worst president in the 20th Century using any of a variety of metrics. Interestingly, he appears to be going for the title of the "Worst Ex-President" as well.

Robert Cook said...

"The Arabs cut the supply of crude oil to punish Carter for America overthrowing the Shah of Iran and engineering his replacement with Ayatollah Khomeini...."

This illustrates why so many self-described "conservatives," (really, radical reactionaries) have so many wrong-headed ideas about the world...they completely misperceive (or are ignorant of) reality. America did not engineer the overthrow of the Shah and his replacement by Khomeini; the Shah was America's puppet in the region...we propped him up, in fact helped put him in power. The CIA and Britain brought about the overthrow of the democractically elected Mohammed Mossadegh, who nationalized the oil fields, which we would not abide, and the Shah was installed in his place. (Much of Iranian antipathy toward America stems back to this event in the 1950s.)

It might be argued that we "helped" in the fall of the Shah only insofar as we did not back him up against the revolutionary movement in Iran that ousted him from power, despite our promises to do so.

Revolutionary elements in Iran became angry that Carter offered the Shah a refuge in America so he could be treated for cancer, and this was the precipitous cause for the takeover of the American embassy in Iran and the hostage crisis.

Back to the original point, if Obama would "rather do the right thing and have one term than be mediocre and have two," he's already failed. Obama is a completely vested member of the establishment. His choices for his administration show him to have no fresh or original ideas, and probably not even any real intentions of "bringing change to Washington." It's business as usual, and Obama's willingness to accomodate the failed polices and ideas of the Republicans marks him as a failure before he begins. Perhaps the accelerating catastrophe overtaking us will compel him to actually do something unexpectedly pertinent, might force him to be a better President than he shows any signs of even wanting to be, but that's hopeful thinking, and we cannot assume at this time that Obama will be sufficiently transformed by events to transcend himself.

W., by the way, "did the right thing" such that he is a war criminal and mass murderer, and indisputably the worst President of modern times. He belongs nowhere but in prison for the rest of his life.

bearbee said...

Because, you know, it is possible to be mediocre and have only 1 term.

Yeah, but, but.......he has already won the Nobel Peace Prize!!

bearbee said...

Because, you know, it is possible to be mediocre and have only 1 term.

Yeah, but, but.......he has already won the Nobel peace Prize placing him among such luminaries as....A. Gore and J. Carter!!!