Saturday, December 29, 2012
The Black Jimmy Carter pt 2
The other thing that struck me about Carter's presidency was the conflict between the moderate wing of the party and the liberal wing. This of course culminated in Ted Kennedy's run against Carter in 1980. Only Hoover lost the presidency since 1900 without an intraparty challenge.
Carter was a center-left politician. But the long liberal ascendancy in Congress created a lack of perspective among the liberal lions of the Senate and House. As a result, they often defeated Carter's half measures. Carter had a health care plan remarkably similar to the one Obama just passed. Kennedy helped defeat it. Now, if Kennedy had the votes for a single player system, why wasn't that passed? One would have to think that Carter would have signed it.
Some of the conflict between Carter and the Congressional liberals was a matter of Carter's prickly, pious personality. But some of it came from ideological certainty.
In other words, what we see now from the GOP is what we saw in the late '70s Congress.
We do not have a parliamentary system. Compromise is essential for American governance.
What the GOP failed to realize is that Carter was sunk because his own party wouldn't work with him or he with them. Few blamed Obama because the GOP blocked everything he wanted for two years.
And few will blame him when we go "over the cliff".