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  •  Point of information: Carter was conservative (2+ / 0-)
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    wishingwell, condorcet

    You wrote:

    Carter was arguably more liberal than either Clinton or Obama, but wasn't nearly as successful at carrying out policy or winning elections for himself or fellow Democrats.
    Carter was a self identified conservative Democrat. He became much, much more liberal as an ex-president than he was as a president. Of course, labels like conservative and liberal as labels have changed. The main things I remember Carter's short presidency for are:  

    1. He decided that foreign policy should be dictated by human rights rather than real politik. But a human right focused policy in the late 70s also was a stick in the eye of the Soviet Union.

    2. Carter wanted to reduce deficits. They were laughably small by today's standards. But the left went insane against him for that, which is why Ted Kennedy launched a primary challenge against Carter, which cost the Democrats and presidency and delivered us unto St. Ronald Reagan.

    3. Carter enacted "deregulation." It is very difficult to even imagine how regulated the economy was back then and I am still not sure whether Carter's level of deregulation was a good thing. But basically Carter inherited a federal government that administered prices not unlike the Soviet Union. One of his first main deregulation initiatives was of airline ticket prices. Many airlines went bankrupt, but it also delivered the $20 shuttle ticket from New York to Boston. Before Carter, there was one telephone company nation wide - Ma Bell. Shortly after there were two new long distance carriers, Sprint and MCI, and then a proliferation of regional carriers.

    •  YEs but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      condorcet

      Yes but in some ways even Nixon would be seen more liberal now than he was viewed then.

      Carter was probably still a tad more liberal than Clinton or Obama...but you are right he (then) viewed himself as a conservative Democrat. I wonder how he would identify himself today. He, perhaps more than most politicians, has some really thoughtful perspective.

      One more thing Carter pushed for: ending dependence on oil. It also was rejected by America at the time. He also probably would have pushed for nuclear as well as solar, wind, etc. But he saw where oil was leading us and said right up front we needed to change starting back then. Of course that was also in the context of the Arab oil embargo, but his view was even longer term and more environmental than that.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 06:50:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i would not say carter was conservative, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HamdenRice

      he was not a liberal.  more importantly, he did not accomplish that much despite always having a big D majority in both houses.  carter did not work very well with D's in congress for some reason.

      95th congress
      292-143 D
      61-39 D

      96th congress
      277-158 D
      58-42 D

      obviously, that includes some conservative D's, as well as a few liberal R's.

      filibustering was also uncommon at that time.

      ....

      clinton faced 2 hostile houses who were determined to destroy him personally.  obama faces unprecedented obstruction from a party that is completely willing to harm the country to hurt him politically.

      ....

      i don't think that deregulation was really a partisan issue then.  ralph nader supported airline deregulation, as did ted kennedy.

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