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Last Recourse of Failed Presidents
Townhall.com ^ | September 4, 2012 | Pat Buchanan

Posted on 09/04/2012 4:37:54 AM PDT by Kaslin

Both the 20th and 21st centuries have seen failed presidencies.

William Howard Taft lost in 1912, though he might have retained office had not his old friend and former leader Theodore Roosevelt run as a third party Bull Moose candidate and won more votes than Taft.

Herbert Hoover failed through no fault of his own. The Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression were beyond his control, and every remedy he tried failed adequately to work.

Had the popular Cal Coolidge sought a second full term in 1928 instead of declaring, "I do not choose to run," he would have been in the White House when the crash came and cast by history in the role assigned to Hoover.

But, as one wag said, Silent Cal's career seems to have been a product of repeated celestial interventions.

By 1952, Harry Truman was a failed president. His approval rating was below 25 percent. Chiang Kai-shek's China had fallen to communism. Josef Stalin had stolen the secret of the atom bomb through espionage against the United States. Truman had fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur and was in the third year of a Korean War he could neither win nor end.

The administration had been exposed as shot through with corruption and treason in the persons of Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White and the Rosenberg atomic spy ring, among others.

Rejected in New Hampshire, Harry wisely chose to pack it in.

Lyndon Johnson, his 44-state landslide in 1964 and Great Society notwithstanding, was by 1968 a failed president being repudiated in the primaries of his own party.

Truman and Johnson quit rather than run again and risk defeat.

But Jimmy Carter, whose poll numbers fell as low as Truman's and who was widely seen as a failed president, chose to fight Teddy Kennedy in the primaries and Ronald Reagan in the general election.

Carter had one signal achievement: the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.

But by 1980, he was presiding over an economy with 21 percent interest rates, 13 percent inflation and zero growth. The Soviet Empire had annexed Afghanistan and was on the move in Africa, the Caribbean and Central America. Iran had fallen to the mullahs. Fifty American embassy personnel were being held hostage in Tehran.

What makes that 1980 election relevant is that it was the last national election and the only postwar election where a Democratic president widely perceived to have failed chose to run for re-election.

And what strategy did the Carter campaign adopt?

They sought to demonize Reagan as a tool of the rich, a cold-hearted wretch who would savage the safety net, a crazed anti-communist Cold Warrior whom it would be dangerous to entrust with nuclear weapons. Ronald Reagan was Barry Goldwater redux.

Yet, looking back, what else could Carter do? Looking forward, what else can Barack Obama do?

By 1984, Reagan could credibly run for re-election on the slogan, "Stay the Course." Let us continue on this path that is leading us to the sunny uplands of a new prosperity and a stronger, more respected America.

Carter could not do that in 1980. Hoover could not do that in 1932. And Obama cannot do that today.

With the nation believing Carter had failed by the fall of 1980, and prepared to remove and replace him, Carter had one lane left to victory. He and the liberal media had to define Reagan for the electorate as an uncaring extremist and dangerous man.

Lest we forget, this Carter strategy was working.

Not until the late debate with Carter did the electorate take a closer look at Reagan and decide that this genial, principled conservative was no threat, but an acceptable alternative and far preferable to four more years of Carter.

After that debate, the undecideds came down hard for Reagan, millions of Democrats switched to him, and he buried Carter.

Again, that election is relevant because it is the election most similar to this one. We have a Democratic president who has presided over a huge loss of jobs, four straight trillion-dollar deficits and 42 months of unemployment over 8 percent. With Obama's approval in the 40s, it is clear that America is ready for a change.

One difference between 2012 and 1980? President Obama retains a reservoir of goodwill President Carter never acquired.

If this analysis is correct, the Democratic convention and the next nine weeks will witness one sustained slander of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as Ayn Randian agents of a plutocracy hell-bent on seeing its taxes reduced and the tax cuts paid for by eviscerating programs on which America's poor and the working and middle class depend for survival.

The one sure way Obama can win is to convince a nation ready for change -- to fear, loathe and recoil from the proposed agents of change.

Obama aides and media auxiliary have already painted the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., as permeated with lies and dog whistles to racists.

Yet, one wonders: After such a campaign, how does Obama unite and lead the country should he win.


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012election; americanhistory; barackobama; campaigns; presidents
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1 posted on 09/04/2012 4:37:59 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

One difference between 2012 and 1980? President Obama retains a reservoir of goodwill President Carter never acquired.


Goodwill ACQUIRED? Goodwill bought with our tax dollars!


2 posted on 09/04/2012 4:58:57 AM PDT by The Working Man
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To: Kaslin

Yet, one wonders: After such a campaign, how does Obama unite and lead the country should he win.

Obama, he’s a leader not a uniter.
It will be toe the line or be crushed.


3 posted on 09/04/2012 5:09:26 AM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: The Working Man

Another small difference is that Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan!


4 posted on 09/04/2012 5:13:42 AM PDT by ImpBill ("America, where are you now?" - Little "r" republican!)
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To: ImpBill

Exactly! He’s far from a Ronald Reagan, and that’s worth a few worry wrinkles IMO.


5 posted on 09/04/2012 5:20:23 AM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: rockinqsranch

Pissin and moaning about Romney is not going to get us through this election.


6 posted on 09/04/2012 5:42:19 AM PDT by Perdogg
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To: Kaslin
Herbert Hoover failed through no fault of his own. The Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression were beyond his control, and every remedy he tried failed adequately to work.

Perhaps the problem was that with "every remedy he tried", he tried too much.

There was another economic collapse in 1920; President Harding essentially did nothing but cut tax rates, and that depression ended quickly.

7 posted on 09/04/2012 5:44:24 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Kaslin
Yet, one wonders: After such a campaign, how does Obama unite and lead the country should he win.

Pat, you're smarter than that.

It should be obvious to you that The Wøn does not want to unite the country; he wants to balkanize it and then lead it down the road into a third-world socialist hell-hole.

8 posted on 09/04/2012 5:47:00 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Perdogg

You have a problem with a statement of fact?


9 posted on 09/04/2012 5:49:35 AM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: DuncanWaring

You are right, Duncan.

Romney can look to Hoover for what not to do. Hoover’s progressive policies were little different from FDR’s crap.


10 posted on 09/04/2012 5:56:40 AM PDT by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years.)
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To: DuncanWaring

Harding’s VP did even more after Harding’s death.....

Coolidge’s taxation policy was that of his Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon: taxes should be lower and fewer people should have to pay them.[115] Congress agreed, and the taxes were reduced in Coolidge’s term.[115] In addition to these tax cuts, Coolidge proposed reductions in federal expenditures and retiring some of the federal debt.[115] Coolidge’s ideas were shared by the Republicans in Congress, and in 1924 Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1924, which reduced income tax rates and eliminated all income taxation for some two million people.[115] They reduced taxes again by passing the Revenue Acts of 1926 and 1928, all the while continuing to keep spending down so as to reduce the overall federal debt.[116] By 1927, only the richest 2% of taxpayers paid any federal income tax.[116] Although federal spending remained flat during Coolidge’s administration, allowing one-fourth of the federal debt to be retired, state and local governments saw considerable growth, surpassing the federal budget in 1927.[117]

Wikipedia


11 posted on 09/04/2012 5:58:01 AM PDT by csmusaret (I will give Obama credit for one thing- he is living proof that familiarity breeds contempt.)
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To: Kaslin

This is why Obama is not going to debate Romney.

He might appear on the stage with Romney, but the “moderators” are going to cover for him. It won’t be a debate. It will not be a debate - it will be a “roast” of Romney with Obama an the MSM working together.


12 posted on 09/04/2012 6:17:16 AM PDT by Little Ray (AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: Kaslin

13 posted on 09/04/2012 6:23:41 AM PDT by lowbridge (Joe Biden: "Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy.")
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To: Little Ray

It will not be a debate - it will be a “roast” of Romney with Obama and the MSM working together.

IMHO this is why Romney should refuse to debate unless he can name half of the moderators.


14 posted on 09/04/2012 6:38:56 AM PDT by chainsaw ("Two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.")
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To: Kaslin

A lot of Northern Democrats never warmed up to Carter because he was a Southerner and openly religious. Liberals had an alternative to voting for Carter in 1980—John Anderson. Obama doesn’t have to worry about a third-party candidate dividing his vote. I don’t remember in detail the media coverage of the 1980 election but I’m sure the mainstream media is much more committed to Obama than they were to Carter.


15 posted on 09/04/2012 7:02:12 AM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: chainsaw

“IMHO this is why Romney should refuse to debate unless he can name half of the moderators.”

Well ... You just read how Reagan won by debunking the Carter lies by merely getting on a stage and being his genial self.

Romney will do the same. No matter who moderates it, just having the chance to challenge obama’s lies face to face will bring dividends.


16 posted on 09/04/2012 8:02:06 AM PDT by WOSG (REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMA. He stole America’s promise!)
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To: Kaslin; fieldmarshaldj; Clintonfatigued; BillyBoy; sickoflibs; stephenjohnbanker; NFHale; ...
Herbert Hoover failed through no fault of his own.

BS. His statist response severely exacerbated the problem.

Had Coolidge been in there and behaved sensibly we might remember the event as the Panic of 1929.

17 posted on 09/04/2012 8:09:09 AM PDT by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: Impy

bump!!


18 posted on 09/04/2012 8:16:41 AM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: csmusaret

Thus gave us the roaring 20’s. Tax and spending cuts.


19 posted on 09/04/2012 8:19:30 AM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: Little Ray

[ This is why Obama is not going to debate Romney.

He might appear on the stage with Romney, but the “moderators” are going to cover for him. It won’t be a debate. It will not be a debate - it will be a “roast” of Romney with Obama an the MSM working together. ]

exacrly. I hope Romney is prepared to call the moderators out. I hope enough Americans eyes have been opened to the hyper-partisan, lying media.


20 posted on 09/04/2012 8:35:28 AM PDT by KansasGirl ("If you have a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."--B. Hussein Obama)
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