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Paul Hayden

Obama: Carter Redux Tripped Up?

April 21, 2008

In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a little-known one-term Southern governor, ran for president as a smiling charmer who would "never lie to us." By the time we found out who he really was, Carter was safely ensconced in the White House. Today, the stakes are much higher, and we can't afford to make a similar mistake.

Back then, in the post-Watergate and post-Vietnam trauma ward that was America, an inept President Gerald Ford practically ensured a Democrat victory in the presidential election. Problem was, the Dems had no well-known candidate who was a clear-cut favorite. Into that void stepped the almost anonymous Carter who was touted as an intelligent former naval officer, peanut farmer, and Southern centrist.

For those who knew the real Carter, his recent shameless globetrotting on behalf of Marxist and terrorist thugs should come as no surprise. One of the first things Carter did after he was elected, even before assuming the office, was to confront the Joint Chiefs of Staff about ridding ourselves of a large chunk of our nuclear weapons arsenal. No matter whether the Soviet Union promised or even hinted to follow suit, as if their promises were worth anything in any event. Carter was convinced that if we made nice, then so would they. Sound familiar?

Barack Obama's ill-informed foreign policy, such as it is, eerily resembles that of Jimmy Carter. Obama apparently also believes that if we can just open a dialogue with the tyrants who rule Iran, North Korea, and other adversaries, they will eventually see the light and become our friends.

Until recently, Obama's campaign was eerily similar to Carter's as well. The charismatic smile, the empty promises, the lack of any specifics on the issues all paralleled the Carter campaign. However, we as a voting public have recently lost our excuse to be mesmerized by Obama. His questionable associations and friendships can be explained away only by those who in their hearts are as truly radical as he is.

And as these controversies have mounted, Obama has assumed an increasingly defensive posture, as displayed in the recent debate. He might actually have gotten away with his claim that his relationship with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers was no big deal since Obama was a child when Ayers was bombing the Pentagon if Ayers repented. However, Ayers' utter lack of remorse over 30 years later-in fact, right after 9/11-squashes Obama's already weak argument.

Clearly, the recent Democrat debate represents a real turning point in this campaign. For the first time in, oh, I don't know, maybe ever, Democrats were actually asked tough questions by drive-by media "moderators." Regardless of any hidden agendas, this really happened, and Obama in particular really did implode over it. Thankfully, this 180-degree departure from the norm now ensures that Obama will not be able to set the Carter template on cruise control and autopilot his way into the White House. Like the old Smith-Barney commercials intoned, he'll have to do it the old-fashioned way-earn it. And it's doubtful he has the "gravitas" to do that.

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