Michael Gerson: Can Obama rise to Carter's level?


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  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 22, 2014 12:21 p.m.

    Oh really?

    Because as I recall, someone was a John Swallow supporter to the bitter end.

    And I have not yet heard a single John Swallow support admit to their mistake.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    March 21, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    Lost in DC

    You are right, there is NO convincing the BO supporters. With me, I will always admit to the faults of the politicans on my side. I could go on for paragraphs about the mistakes Bush made. However, with the liberals and BO, he is their messiah, their long awaited savior. And he has feet of clay. Must be tough for them. I know if I had invested so much emotion in THE ONE and found him to be more interested in playing golf, or making college basketball picks, than being President, I'd be hard pressed to defend him to. In fact I wouldn't. I'd just admit, he was the wrong choice for President and hope for a better one in the future.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    March 21, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    It is amazingly hypocritical of left wing posters to complain about "right-wingers" undermining Obama, while arguing that their own criticism/undermining of Republican presidents is principled dissent.

    Carter and Obama are both incompetent, it the level of viciousness that Obama has raised to new levels of malevolence

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    March 20, 2014 10:00 p.m.

    2 bits,

    I mostly agree with your comments, but I don't agree that Obama is better than Carter simply because he got re-elected. First of all, the election was very fishy at best. Secondly, popularity does not equate to competency.

    Finally, in a sense you could say it is easier for Obama to be considered a worse president because he will have had 8 years (unless something fishy happens and he finds a way to stay in power, and I wouldn't put it past him to try) to destroy the country, while Carter only had 4 years. A lot more damage can be done in 8 years than in 4.

    Ironically the very same liberals who cheer for Obama are the ones who demonized Bush and his "destroying" the economy, while they try their hardest to stay ignorant of the fact that Obama has added more debt in just over 3 years than Bush did in all 8 years combined!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 20, 2014 9:50 p.m.

    Rice to little Jimmy Carters level? Really? Wow - that's a pretty low bar and what does that say about little Barack being much lower than that already low bar. After nearly 6 miserable years it feels like America has the flu. No one feels good about their country with Barack in charge. I have zero confidence this man is capable of doing anything of real substance and I think the majority of America shares my disgust. Barack always plays 'small ball' with everything he does. I honestly don't think this man has the capacity to grasp the big issues. Putin is just playing with this little man and it is humiliating to the United States. It's like having a 90 lb weakling fighting in the ring for you.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 20, 2014 4:08 p.m.

    Obama is already above Carter's level... he got re-elected. That's something Carter couldn't accomplish...

    Time will tell... I personally don't think Obama is going to be in the conversation with Carter when it comes to failed presidents.

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    March 20, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    The rightwing spends the last 5 years denouncing Obama as a dictator and doing everything in their power to undercut, weaken, or nullify his every act...

    ...and when Putin reminds the world what a *real* dictator looks like, they pound Obama for being weak.

    Nice pretzels they've twisted themselves into.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 20, 2014 3:47 p.m.

    Another thing that amazes me...

    Whenever gas prices went up during the Bush administration... it was Bush's doing, pushing up profits for his big oil buddies. The president doesn't set gas prices! I said that back then and pointed out several factors that increase gas prices this time every year... and I was called a big oil fan, a "Bushie", and told regardless of the factors... the buck stops at the top.

    Well now it's a different story. The buck no longer stops at the top evidently.

    Now that Obama's in office... gas prices have gone up way more than they EVER did under Bush.... and it's just the annual formula changes, annual refinery maintenance, overseas markets, etc, etc, etc... not Obama and his big oil buddies. Evidently the President is only blamed when he's a Republican...

    Same difference on foreign affairs.

    Anything that happened ANYWHERE in the world was the President's fault (If you listen to some). Georgia, Venezuela, North Korea, you name it...

    But not now... Not when Obama's in office... Heck... HE can't control what happens in the world.. it just happens. It's not Obama's fault!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    March 20, 2014 2:50 p.m.


    "More garbage from the right"

    yes, the tolerance the left shows to ideas divergent from their own is so dazzling it has blinded me.

    IF BO could rise to the level of Bush, we would be much better off. If he could only rise to the level of Carter we would be better off; not much, but a little.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 20, 2014 12:18 p.m.

    What we should wish for is that Mr. Obama could see himself as he is seen. Mr. Putin sees him for what he is, not for what he thinks he is. Mr. Putin has called his bluff. Unlike the card games that the President enjoys, this "game" is real. Real lives are at stake. Some might say that the future of Europe is at stake.

    The "sanctions" that the President has put into place affects twenty Russians. He froze the bank accounts of twenty Russians! What a policy! What nerve! Is he kidding us? Does he think that freezing the bank accounts of twenty Russians is going to make Mr. Putin beg for mercy?

    How about if he opened our oil fields so that the Middle East could sell its oil to Europe instead of to us? How about if he upholds the treaty that made us an ally to the Ukraine? How about if he stops listening to his own advice and starts acting like a President?

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    March 20, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    Star Bright, if Putin went into Crimea because Obama insulted him by sending gays to the Olympics, what did Bush do to cause him to invade Georgia? But perhaps you (and BYUtah Fan, who apparently only thinks Putin invades countries when we have a coward for president) didn't know that Putin invaded Georgia while Bush was president.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 20, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT
    If Carter was right on more things than not... why did we throw him out?

    If you think Carter was right... you are out of touch with the vast majority of Americans.

    The Carter years were very bad for our nation. 16 percent inflation, 22 percent interest rates, and 70 percent marginal tax rates did little to endear Jimmy to the hard working people.


    Ya --

    Presidents are monarchs,
    who wave magic septres and control Private Banks lending rates,
    Gas prices,
    and Congressional Budgets.

    The blackhole money pit of Vietnam was over,
    Millions of Veterans were now suddenly un-employed,
    NASA had reached the Moon, so Advanced Science was cut back,
    and OPEC had pulled together and cut oil production to increase profits,
    and the Iranian Revolution ousted the Western puppet Shah and stormed the American Embassy taking hostages.
    [which Reagan later used to bribe their realease and win the election].

    And like a Maagic Lephercuan, Jimmy Carter MADE that all those things happen.

    BTW -- James Carville had it right about electing Presidents.
    "It's the Economy, stupid!"

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    March 20, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    Ah, joe blow, you seem to be able to cover the rest - I don't really think I have to go into all of his failures, do I?
    But I still think that if 0bama wants to insult someone, he had better be prepared.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 20, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    If Carter was right on more things than not... why did we throw him out?

    If you think Carter was right... you are out of touch with the vast majority of Americans.

    The Carter years were very bad for our nation. 16 percent inflation, 22 percent interest rates, and 70 percent marginal tax rates did little to endear Jimmy to the hard working people.

    Who could buy a home, or open a business, or even buy a car... when they have to pay 16-20% interest??

    He may have been a great environmentalist (panels on the white house), a great regulator, a great peanut farmer... but he was NOT a great President.

    The jury is still out on Obama. He will at least have ACA as his legacy. What does Carter have as a legacy?

    The highest Misery Index ever??

    Carter had an average Index of 16.27 percent during his term. When he finally left Washington in 1980 is was at an all-time high of 21.98 percent. Not a record I would be proud of.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 20, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    "Playing golf and missing security meetings and choosing the final four don't seem to work, do they?"

    There are lots of real issues and problems to discuss. There are many valid complaints about Obama.
    Is this the best thing you can find to complain about?

    The minute you post things like this your credibility is shot.

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    March 20, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    I still maintain that 0bama thought it was so smart to send a delegation of gays over to Russia to stick it in Putin's face - and I guess Putin showed him, didn't he? If you're going to play tit for tat you have to know what you are doing. Playing golf and missing security meetings and choosing the final four don't seem to work, do they?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 20, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    Jimmy Carter was right about more things than not --

    Dept. of Energy,
    Dept. of Education,
    The dangers of relying on foreign Oil.
    Deregulated the Airlines,
    Created SuperFinds to clean up enviromental emergencies i.e., Love Canal.
    put Solar panels on the White House,
    raising automobile fuel efficiencies.
    Acid Rain.
    development and deployment of Cruise Missiles.

    ALL in under 4 short years.
    I wish Obama could have rose to that level!

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    March 20, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    KGB vs ACORN. mmmm. Not a good match

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 20, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    I don't think President Obama is at any risk of being as bad for America as Carter was. Carter was out of his depth and almost immediately a failure on almost all fronts. The economy, governing, foreign affairs, national defense... you name it. And America knew it. That's why they only gave him one term and then very openly ushered him out of the oval office. Obama at least has enough popularity at home to get re-elected. That's proof he isn't anywhere near the level of Jimmie Carter.

    I don't think you can blame him for Ukraine. The agreement that the USA and Russia would work together to insure Ukraine's border integrity in exchange for their nuclear weapons was signed in 1994. That would make it President Clinton. If President Clinton singed and agreement we had no intention or ability to enforce... that's on him... not President Obama.

    Obama has carried on the tradition of American President's signing agreements and drawing lines they don't intend to enforce. But that's about the only thing he did that allowed what's happening in Ukraine to happen (IMO).

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 20, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    "The author is not calling for boots on the ground as your comment suggests, he is calling for tough sanctions and aide to Putin’s foes."

    We are doing sanctions currently.

    As far as aide, I assume that means money and weaponry. If not, please elaborate.

    If so, you actually think that would stop Putin?

    According to John McCain - " They only have a few thousand combat troops and would be overwhelmed by the Russians if it came to that."

    I hardly think that better arming a "few thousand combat troops" will be able to hold off Putin if he decides to invade.

    So, no one is suggesting "military engagement", but it sure looks like what they mean.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    March 20, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Hitler grabbed up territory to “protect” German minorities, just as Putin claims to be protecting Russian minorities.

    Will BO be Neville Chamberlain reincarnate?

    Can BO step up to Carter’s level?

    Let’s see, on a scale of 1-100, with 100 being the best, Carter was about a 2 – I hope BO can rise to at least that level, though I am not holding out hope.

    The author is not calling for boots on the ground as your comment suggests, he is calling for tough sanctions and aide to Putin’s foes.

    Please do not try to disabuse BO fans of their fantasies – it’s all they have left to hold onto since BO's policy of appeasement and cowering - uh, I mean "engagement" has been so successful (sarcasm)

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 20, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    More garbage from the right wing, who in actuality support Putin by undermining our own President as the Administration (with the support and advice of the professional diplomatic corps and the military) as the U.S. steps through the minefield and coordinates with the world community to address this issue without stumbling into war. My passions tell me to be agressive with Putin, but prudence in light of potential consequences help me keep a bigger persepctive. Obama should be accorded the same as the right wing accorded Bush after Russia's invasion of Georgia.

    In the end, perhaps the question should be "Can Obama fall to the level of Bush"? (It cuts both ways, GOP).

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    March 20, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    Uh, you are forgetting that prior to the fall we had 8 years of Reagan and his military buildup, plus a year or so of President Bush, before the fall of the Soviet Union. I'd say they had a little more to do with it than Carter. That is if you were even serious in the first place.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    March 20, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    "In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — another end of illusions — President Jimmy Carter recalled the U.S. ambassador, imposed a grain embargo, shut off technology transfers, accelerated the delivery of arms to Pakistan, began aid to Afghan insurgents, pledged to defend Middle Eastern oil supplies and proposed long-term defense spending increases."

    And less than a decade later . . . The Soviet Union fell.

    Good Job Jimmy Carter!

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 20, 2014 5:53 a.m.

    "If Putin persists in confrontation, long-term military assistance to the Ukrainian government would be needed — if it still exists"

    Again, we must ask ourselves if we can afford to insert ourselves, militarily, into every confrontation around the world. It should not be a given.

    And if we, not our children and grandchildren, decide that it is necessary to do so, we, not them should make the sacrifices necessary to fund these engagements.

    Cut spending and raise taxes to pay for these decisions. It is wrong to pass on these costs to future generations.

    We will then quickly see how supportive the American people are our involvement.

  • BYUtah Fan Herriman, UT
    March 20, 2014 12:11 a.m.

    Just when I thought Obama could not get any worse, he reaches new lows of cowardliness. Who would have believed that we would be wishing for a President at least as good as Carter.