Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jimmy Carter in 2008?

John McCain just gave me another reason to vote for Barack Obama. Of course McCain thinks it's a reason to vote against Obama, for him it might be, not so for me. Saturday's Tribune included the article: McCain talking point: Obama is new Carter. Republican says his rival is 'dusting off the old, failed' policies of the former president. First of all, 'failed' policies does not mean bad policies, it just means that the powers that be were too beholden to special interests that they would not allow the president to implement them. Think about it, where would we be now if we had listened to Jimmy Carter? The national debt was some 900 billion and he was telling us that we could not leave this debt for our children, that is was our duty to tighten our belts and do something about it. Now it's 9 trillion, and climbing rapidly. (Carter considered a debt that was 35% of our GNP outrageous, while now it's 65% of the GNP). President Carter wanted to inact policies that would wean us from dependence on foreign oil, he understood how detrimental it is to our country. Tax incentives for solar heating, for both conversions and new construction, as with incentives for research into other alternative fuel sources. McCain's boogyman, which is his big argument about Obama, is a tax on windfall profits for big oil. Carter tried it and got shot down (figuratively) and Obama is now proposing it. Frankly, I think it's a good way of increasing tax revenue and driving the American public further away from their dependence on foreign oil.

The 1980 Election was my first presidential election. I'd been interested in politics since watching the Watergate investigations, so I had paid attention during the Carter administration. I remember 3 main themes of Jimmy Carter's domestic policies:

  1. The federal debt was out of control and had to be eliminated.
  2. We needed to wean ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil
  3. It won't be easy, in fact it might hurt, but if we ALL pitch in and do what we can we can fix these problems.

Things weren't perfect, I'm not saying that. Inflation was high, gas prices were high (hmmm, something familiar there?) and we were rebuilding a country that had been ripped apart by Watergate. But we were respected (different from being feared) worldwide and we had a president that was willing to face serious problems head on rather than burying them under "feel good" short term fixes. I hope Obama is the Jimmy Carter of 2008. God bless him if he is, and us if we have the brains to listen to him.

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