Sunday, July 20, 2008

Revisionist history

My main reason for believing that your average "progressive" is an ignoramus?

Because when they review their history notes, they see something that's just not there.

Case in point....

Even here in his home state of Georgia, Jimmy Carter does not receive universal acclaim. He is regarded by many as a weak-kneed appeaser or a naive do-gooder with a puritanical bent.

Much of that reputation can be traced back to his widely noted July 1979 speech on the nation's "crisis of confidence," remembered as the "malaise" speech, though he didn't use that word. The response to that televised talk taught politicians one thing: Never ask Americans to make sacrifices. After all, it is now accepted wisdom that the speech — combined with hyperinflation, hostages and an oil spike — cost Carter a second term.

But a sober and fair look back at what Carter actually said ought to earn him higher marks. He was right when he insisted that consumers conserve energy; he was right to urge a dramatic increase in the use of solar power; he was right when he called for a cap on imported oil.

"Beginning at this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 — never," he said. "From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now."

Carter also called for research into alternative fuels, massive investment in public transit and a broad campaign for conservation. He acknowledged that the new programs would require billions, but "unlike the billions of dollars that we ship to foreign countries to pay for foreign oil, these funds will be paid by Americans to Americans."

Of course, you know the rest of the story. The next year, Ronald Reagan was elected and threw out Carter's plans. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) relented, and gasoline became, once again, plentiful and cheap. So Americans pretended Carter was the problem — not our profligate consumption patterns. Today, we're importing twice as much oil as we were when Carter gave that speech.

Of course, Ms. Tucker fails to mention that one of those alternative energy sources, nuclear energy production, came to a screaming halt under the Carter administration. Development of that technology alone would have freed up natural gas to run our transportation fleet.

Now I want to challenge a "progressive" to something. Here's a trillion dollars, what alternative energy source do you invest in?

The fact of the matter is that no one knows.

Worldwide, there are trillions of dollars being spent on "alternative fuels". The government doesn't need to direct where that money is spent, the private sector will dictate that.

T. Boone Pickens is spending millions on wind farms in Texas, if he is successful, he will be worth billions and the market place will fall right in behind. The government never developed oil into gasoline at the turn of the century, the market place did.

Jimmy Carter will always be known in history as one of the worst presidents this country ever had. Revisionists who want to claim otherwise, just show their ignorance.


Anonymous said...

The author made the point on Carter's Malaise speech that politicians learned never to ask Americans to make sacrifice. I say bullshit. Every day politicians force us to sacrifice a high percentage of earned income to fund their power grab. I'd make the sacrifice if the societal return was reasonable.

But what do we get back? A failing social security system, a bankrupt medicaid system, and national interest payments to fund past government over spending for services most of us never asked for.

I would say that the federal governement has failed to deliver on almost every promise made in the last 50 years. Now politicians, mostly on the left, make the case that they are running short of cash and that we need to sacrifice more of our hard earned income to make up the difference.

So yes they are asking us to make sacrifices, failing to deliver value for those sacrifices, and now are saying we need to make more sacrifices, on which they will surely fail again. Why, if this author is correct, are Americans not drumming these guys out of office?

As far as I can tell Jimmy Carter was drummed out of office not because he asked for sacrifice. Jimmy Carter was drummed out because he absolutely, and unequivically was the worst president in the last 100 years and probably for the next 100.

gordon gekko said...

Amen brother.