Yesterday, Barack Obama responded somewhat obliquely to Mitt Romney’s criticism over the statement issued by the Cairo embassy by painting him as a loose cannon. He told CBS reporter Steve Kroft that “Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.” Charlie Spiering noticed that Obama seemed to be channeling another American President with those words — and perhaps the worst one Obama could choose, under the circumstances, emphasis mine:
Obama’s remarks, however, echo frequent criticisms made by President Jimmy Carter of Ronald Reagan, then his opponent for the presidency.
Carter criticized Reagan’s views on foreign policy during his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1980, slamming Reagan for living in a “fantasy world” and noting his inability to understand the “complex global changes” in foreign policy.
“It’s a make believe world. A world of good guys and bad guys, where some politicians shoot first and ask questions later,” Carter said, “No hard choices. No sacrifice. No tough decisions. It sounds too good to be true – and it is. The path of fantasy leads to irresponsibility. The path of reality leads to hope and peace.”
I chatted with Guy Benson yesterday in a pre-tape for his weekend radio show, and happened to casually mention that the polling in this election reminded me of the 1980 cycle. Coming out of that convention, Carter enjoyed a sustained bump throughout September, and kept emphasizing Ronald Reagan’s simplistic view of the world and the danger of his “shoot first” attitude. That scare-mongering over Reagan worked — for a very short period of time. In the end, voters decided that it was just a cover for Carter to escape being held responsible for his incompetence in foreign policy and the poor state of the economy.
If Obama wants to run the 1980 Democratic playbook all over again, that’s fine by me. Meanwhile, Spiering and I aren’t the only ones hearing the faint echoes of “Welcome Back, Carter.” Michael Ramirez captures the essence of the 1979 deja vu, complete down to the cheesy smile that supposedly sells malaise:
Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history. Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here. And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.