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I admired former Vice President Walter Mondale for his decency and integrity, among other things. I elaborated in “A personal note on Walter Mondale” when he died last year. Watching some old PBS retrospective on the Carter years, however, I doubted his political intelligence. He reeled off the challenges that brought down Carter in his 1980 loss to Ronald Reagan. Among them — here I am writing from memory — Mondale included the energy crisis, the horrible inflation, the historic rise in interest rates, the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, and the Iranian hostage crisis.
Mondale presented these setbacks and crises as something like afflictions from heaven that had no relation to the policies adopted by the Carter administration itself. You have got to be kidding me, I thought. Don’t you get it?
However, Carter also did some good. He brought in Paul Volcker as Fed chairman to stem inflation. Well, that was painful, but it was what we needed, and President Reagan stuck with Volcker as the consequences of Volcker’s anti-inflationary policy followed. Carter also promoted deregulatory policies in the railroad and airline industries. See, for example, t Matt Welch’s Reason column “When Democrats loved deregulation.”
I assess that Joe Biden has no constructive policies offsetting the catastrophes he has wrought. That is nevertheless not the way Biden or his daycare minders in the White House see it. Confronted by historically unprecedented disapproval ratings, they think they have a “messaging” problem. They think we don’t get it. They urge us to disbelieve our eyes. They think they only need to explain the wonders they have performed in their 18 months in office.
The plan is to put Biden on the road to highlight progress being made, even incrementally, in meeting the series of tests, with visits this week to California, where he will preside over a summit of Western Hemisphere allies, as well as New Mexico to push for his climate agenda. The administration will also set aside its reluctance to work with “a pariah” nation with hopes to spur oil production. And it plans to sharpen its attacks on Republicans, aiming to paint the GOP as out-of-touch with mainstream America on issues like gun safety and abortion, all while hoping the upcoming Jan. 6 congressional hearings will further color the party as too extremist and dangerous to return to power.
I further assess that enhanced exposure to Joe Biden will not improve his poll ratings. He presents as a senescent dolt struggling to read the text scrolling through his teleprompter. I further assess that Biden’s Saudi Arabian detour will not improve his poll ratings. Rather, it will remind us of his insane war on energy production in the United States. The cure for what ails them (and us) seems to be beyond their ken.
Lemire’s story labors the comparison of Biden with Carter. I see the contrast coming into view. Joe Biden is making Jimmy Carter look like a good president.