American History for Truthdiggers: Carter’s Cage of Crisis — Truthdig RSS

Danny Sjursen

[…]

Some justifiable conclusions about Carter: that his failings as president were largely the results of personal style and a troubled era of global strife and economic downturn, much of it inherited. And that, despite later assertions from Reagan Republicans, his shortcomings stemmed not from his being too liberal but often more from his halfhearted attempts to shift rightward. One can, in fact, sense the end of liberal, optimistic, big-government politics in the Carter administration, as much as, or more than, in the Nixon administration. After Carter, conservative positions on economics and cultural matters became ascendant and mainstream. In many ways they remain so, despite the new, contemporary grassroots resurgence of the progressive left.

The record must be corrected to reflect that Carter, not Reagan, began the national shift toward smaller government, austerity, the end of detente and increased tensions with both the Soviet Union and Iran. We live in the political space created during the Carter administration, and have for some 50 years. Most of all, Carter’s stillborn presidency demonstrated that being inherently decent is not enough to weather hard times or win popular support, that Americans don’t take kindly to hard truths or demands for cutbacks in energy consumption and that this country remains, at root, a center-right nation—more conservative than the rest of the industrialized Western World.

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via American History for Truthdiggers: Carter’s Cage of Crisis — Truthdig RSS

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