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View Diary: Jimmy Carter - A Great President? (65 comments)

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  •  Depends on your definition of leadership, (2+ / 0-)
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    kenwards, Bisbonian

    doesn't it?

    He could probably have won re-election by making a bunch of bellicose America Fuck Yeah speeches, and tearing into Iran with a full-scale military attack, punishing the people who had dared to defy the United States and make us feel weak. But the hostages would have been dead.

    The limit of military activity he was willing to risk was a targeted rescue mission.  He shot his chance at the Presidency in the head with his unwillingness to salve America's ego by beating the crap out of the Iranians. But those people are alive. He put his fellow citizens' lives ahead of his political success.

    That's one kind of leadership.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 04:53:35 PM PDT

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    •  I always thought he made his own bed there. (0+ / 0-)

      He did use the hostage crisis during the primaries as part of his Rose Garden strategy, so it was kind of his fault when it came back to bite him in the general.

      •  I'm not sure the Rose Garden strategy (0+ / 0-)

        was an effective way to use the hostage crisis.

        As a campaign manager (taking off my activist hat for a moment) my opinion is a candidate dealing with a hostage crisis, esp. one that has the nation riveted, can't not deal with it somehow as part of his campaign. I know it sounds unethical, but if you don't use something like that, it will be used on you. You can't just act like it's not there.  You will lose. (Kerry discovered this later, when dealing with the Swift Boat slanders, which I admit it's kind of offensive to compare to a real crisis, but the same basic principle held true:  deal with it, or it will deal with you.)

        That said, "using it" by saying you're not going to go on the road and campaign b/c of the hostage crisis is politically an unforced error. But again, it's a political error that has its roots in a certain conception of leadership (i.e., the hostage crisis is much more important than campaigning; I'd be a poor leader, perhaps even unethical, if I ran around the country campaigning while this was going on). One of Carter's persistent errors was in assuming the rest of America shared his views on what a leader was.

        That doesn't mean he was a poor leader. He was a poor politician. And he didn't know how to reconcile his notions of leadership with what it took to win.

        I so wish that he and the DC Democrats of the time could have come to some kind of accord.

        Alternately, I wish that if Ted Kennedy had wanted to run for President, that he had chosen a more propitious time to do it.

        If he'd run against Ford, he would have won soundly.

        Of course, if he'd run against Ford, he might have been killed, depending on what you think of the Kennedy assassinations--but that holds just as true in 1980 as in 1976.

        If he was going to do such a thing, I wish he hadn't waited around till the least propitious moment. That was his unforced error.

        None of this diminishes my respect for either man, which is deep.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 07:56:09 AM PDT

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