February 26, 2008


Turning Obama Into Jimmy Carter (Steve Kornacki, February 25, 2008, NY Observer)

Late in the summer of 1976, President Gerald Ford and his inner circle huddled in Vail, Colorado, facing the grimmest general election outlook for a Republican since the L.B.J. landslide of ‘64.

An unelected president, Ford had barely secured the Republican nomination against a fierce challenge from Ronald Reagan, leaving the party’s conservative base dispirited and even more distrustful of Ford than they already had been. And the stench of Watergate—and Ford’s politically damaging pardon of Richard Nixon—stubbornly hung in the air. After eight years of Republican rule, an amorphous but potent yearning for change had taken hold.

At the Vail strategy session, the Ford team zeroed in on the chief vulnerabilities of their Democratic opponent, Jimmy Carter: His lack of experience, his lack of accomplishments and his lack of specificity on the issues. These had to be exploited mercilessly.

And they were. Ten weeks later, Ford came within an eyelash of a political miracle. After trailing by 33 points around Labor Day, he was edged out by a handful of electoral votes—and just two points in the popular vote. If the campaign had lasted even a week longer, many believe, Ford would have won.

Gerald Ford, of course, suffered from the exact same weaknesses, but Jimmy Carter was at least a Southern Evangelical governor, which was enough to be the weakest nominee of either party in the modern era.

By contrast, John McCain is well-known, well-liked, and accomplished, while Barack Obama sets off every weirdness alarm on the political landscape without having any of the natural advantages Mr. Carter enjoyed.

Military fears 'unknown quantity' (Rowan Scarborough, February 26, 2008, Washington Times)

Members of Washington's military and defense establishment are expressing trepidation about Sen. Barack Obama, as the Illinois senator comes closer to winning the Democratic presidential nomination and leads in national polls to become commander in chief. [...]

"We're very concerned about his apparent lack of understanding on the threat of radical Islam to the United States," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who is pro-Iraq war and a Fox News analyst. "A lot of retired senior officers feel the same way."

Mr. Obama also has stirred concern in national security circles by pledging to talk to the leaders of rogue nations, such as Iran and North Korea, without preconditions.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2008 1:02 PM

"He's no Jimmy" but he does have Zbigniew Brzezinski as one of his campaign advisors.

I'd so love a chance to ask him, in front of a camera, whether this means he sees Carter's foreign policy as a model to be emulated.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at February 26, 2008 1:48 PM
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