Diary

The Obama - Carter Comparison (part II)

Richard Cohen, the liberal columnist of the Washington Post was the first to point out that the best U.S. President to compare President Obama to, is President Carter.

Cohen wrote:

More and more Obama is being likened to Lyndon Johnson, with Afghanistan becoming his Vietnam. Maybe. But the better analogy is to Jimmy Carter, particularly the president analyzed by James Fallows in a 1979 Atlantic magazine article, “The Passionless Presidency.” “The central idea of the Carter administration is Jimmy Carter himself,” Fallows wrote. And what is the central idea of the Obama presidency? It is change. And what is that? It is Obama himself.

Unlike Carter, Obama brims with energy and charm. His brilliance is not brittle but supple. Yet, another teachable moment is upon him and he seems lost. The country needs health care reform and a success in Afghanistan, and both efforts are going in the wrong direction. The message needs to be fixed and so, with some tough introspection, does the man.

Now, from the right, R. Emmett Tyrrell also compares Obama to Carter:

According to sources with whom I confer, the Obama White House is the most tightly controlled White House in years, with the president, Mr. Emanuel and White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod micromanaging practically everything. They make up what is called “the Politburo,” and the news story waiting to be written is that their control is as stultifying as was Jimmy Carter’s control of his White House. Stupendous failure is in the cards.

The Politburo follows no organizational flow charts. A source deeply rooted in official Washington tells me that when the president and his fellows want information from the National Security Council, they may go to its head, Gen. James L. Jones, or they may not. They may just call in one or two of his subordinates.

As President Carter found out, micromanagement and the Presidency do not mix well. And, micromanagment is directly at odds with the Presidential management style the electorate thought they were voting for.