Perhaps in the near future historians will compare Obama’s years to Jimmy Carter’s. Both inherited an economy that had been wracked by a crisis, and while the oil embargo of the 70’s may not have been quite as severe a crisis as the financial meltdown of 2008, the effect of the embargo on unemployment and inflation were even worse than the unemployment numbers in this slow grind out of the great recession. And inflation, for now, is very subdued, unlike in the late 70’s. Perhaps, then, Obama has had it easier than Carter in terms of the economy, but there is at least one big difference between these Obama years and the Carter years. It’s called Senator Ted Kennedy.

How badly the malevolently ambitious Massachusetts senator screwed over Carter’s presidency is a matter of debate, but it is not an inconsequential thing. He undermined the president at every opportunity, especially in foreign policy. His secret kissing up to the Soviets – yes it was Carter that planted a wet one on Brezhnev’s cheek – in cloaked communications with Moscow betrayed a posture even more progressive and pacifist than Carter’s. One shudders to think what the 80’s would have been like had Ted Kennedy won the nomination and, God forbid, the elections in 1980. He didn’t and Reagan changed the world in a few years.

Unlike Carter, Obama has no bogeyman lurking in the senate to blame for his foreign policy. But there is something else that separates him from Jimmy Carter. Obama isn’t a dove, he’s an internationalist who wants to reposition America on the world stage. Over there towards the left-hand-side exit a little more please. And his policies come straight from the White House, and his close circle of advisors like Samantha Power. Obama does not hold a naive view of Islamic radicalism. He grew up with Islam, albeit as a Christian, but one with as many Muslim roots as Christian ones. He knows and understands Islam. So his appeasement of Iran, for example, cannot be blamed on a scheming senator or a naive world view. His is a militant view as well, forged in the politically correct halls of progressive academia. And his attempts at a crisp no-nonsense midwest persona when justifying his foreign policy, betray a deep ambivalence on his part regarding not just America’s role in the world; but America’s identity itself. No, Obama is no Jimmy Carter.

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