Mitt Romney and the New Southern Strategy


Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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115 Responses

  1. Avatar Ethan Gach says:

    Republican attacks against the President’s class warfare need to be balanced by attacks against Republicans for their divisive politics of austerity.

    The politics goes something like, America is in decline, and we won’t come out of the otherside of the tunnel until we balance the budget and shrink government. That means tax cuts for “the hard working” and entitlement cuts for the lazy other. Indeed, just as the country is besieged from immigrants and terrorists from abroad, it’s under assault from lazy/unemployed and supposedly “welfare” collecting minorities from within. America has less than it did before and now what remains is being taken by those who are lazy, unworthy, and don’t belong.

    And the law of causality makes little difference–the narrative of economic collapse just as an “outsider” came into office is too easy.Report

  2. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    more than any presidential campaign in 22 years

    What happened in 1990?Report

  3. Avatar dexter says:

    It was so low key that nobody bothered to run. It was so low key that nobody bothered to vote. It was so low key that America allowed President Bush the elder to finish out the last two years of his term.
    Sorry about that but Himacanes piss me off and I lash out at the web.Report

  4. Avatar SMMcMahon says:

    This guy said it all:

    “Mitt Romney does not need to release any more income tax returns. The 2010 return that he did release clearly shows what he has in mind, if he and Paul Ryan have their way. Romney and Ryan both want to drop the tax rate on interest, dividends and capital gains to zero. They have said this repeatedly.

    I am not an expert on taxes, far from it, but let’s look at just a few items from Mitt’s 2010 tax return: $3.3 million in interest, $5 million in dividends and $12.5 million in capital gains. Gee, how about that? All taxed at 15 percent. $.5 million ordinary income from speaking fees, probably taxed at the 35 percent level. His charitable giving was $1.5 million in cash and $1.5 million in non-cash. His taxable rate is said to be 13.9 percent for this year. IF MR. ROMNEY and Mr. RYAN THEIR WISH, MR. ROMNEY WOULD HAVE A TAX RATE OF LESS THAN 1%.

    Would you trust someone to run this country, a person that uses every means possible to avoid paying taxes to the Federal and state governments, has numerous off-shore accounts and will not release even 5 years of his tax returns? Who has said many times, in so many words, that he wanted to drop the tax rates to zero on 95 percent of his income, should he become president and has lied about his tax returns before, while running for governor? And took a $77 thousand business deduction for his wife’s dancing horse?

    Or would you want a person that has released 12 years of tax returns, wants to raise very slightly the top marginal tax rate for the very wealthiest people and leave the tax rate the same for 95 percent of the taxpayers?

    Is that really a tough question? Not for me. I am voting for Barack Obama, a man of the people, by the people and for the people.”


    • Avatar MFarmer says:



      • Avatar MFarmer says:

        Whoops — correction — THE SOUTHERN STRATEGY IS REAL, Y’ALL.Report

        • Avatar Michelle says:

          The southern strategy is real. Lee Atwater, having regrets on his death bed, admitted as much, and Karl Rove pretty much brags about it.

          Personally, income is income and I don’t see why profits from investments should be taxed at a lower rate than actual income. The rate certainly shouldn’t be reduced to near zero.Report

          • Avatar MFarmer says:

            Michelle, I don’t quibble about aspects of the tax code. I’m for ending all loopholes and subsidies, then putting taxes at a rate that will pay for a minimal government that is limited to police, army and courts, so I’m not much fun in debates such as this. Also, I never supported Atwater or the Republican establishment. I’ve pretty much seen a few individuals in government that I encourage — the rest pretty much become statist pigs or cowards — this includes Democratic pigs and cowards, too. To pinpoint the GOP and lay a racist scheme on them is short-sighted, partisan and futile. They aren’t racist — it’s just the State’s division that keeps us fighting one another as they grab more power.Report

            • Avatar Michelle says:

              There’s a difference between being racist and cynically manipulating racial resentments for votes. Republican elites have been doing the latter since Nixon. I don’t think Romney is racist, but I don’t think he’s above fueling racial resentment if it means he can win the presidency and cross it off his bucket list.

              I have no great love for the Democrats, most of whom are pussies, but given the alternative, it’s a rare occasion when I vote for a Republican.Report

          • Avatar Scott says:

            Oh, maybe b/c the gov’t has decided to use the tax code to encourage behavior. In this case encouraging folks to invest (which usually results in economic growth). Kind of like the tax deduction for mortgages or a tax penalty for not buying health insurance. Usually investments take a while to make a return. Therefore the investor gives up the opportunity to consume today. This is econ 101 stuff.Report

            • Avatar Michelle says:

              Why should you need the government to provide you with an incentive to invest? Anymore than it should provide you with incentive to buy a house or have kids.Report

              • Avatar Scott says:

                Like I said investment leads to economic growth which usually involves more jobs. More jobs are usually considered a good thing. Besides, if the private sector doesn’t invest who is going to, the gov’t? We saw that in Solyndra and GM and it was sooo successful. More econ 101.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                These types of government incentives lead to misdirection of capital, because government doesn’t have any idea what investments are best for the economy — they have political motivations to incentivize, so that they are operating by political means when the economy should operate by economic means. Thus we have and housing bubbles, then a bust, then a recession — now, government might have intervened one too many times — the economy is locked up in uncertainty. Austrian economists have warned against this for a long time. Romney is trying to capitalize on racial resentment — he just isn’t that type of person — hate his ideas, but he’s a decent man who cares about people and doesn’t want racial resentment. I think you are off on this Michelle.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                romney isn’t trying to capitalizeReport

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                If he’s such a decent man, why does he lie like there’s no tomorrow?

                I don’t doubt that he’s a decent guy in his family and church life, but he strikes me as pretty compartmentalized and willing to do just about anything (or allow his lackeys to do just about anything) to get elected. Thus, his massive about-face on the causes he supported when he was governor of Massachusetts. There’s a reason the Republican base don’t trust him no matter how much he panders to them and feigns interest in social issues.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                I doubt that he’s a decent guy in his church life.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                can you give me some examples?Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

                romney isn’t trying to capitalize

                No, but Ronmey is.Report

          • Avatar wardsmith says:

            Michelle, I don’t know how many times I can call bullshit on the “southern strategy myth”, but as long as you keep shoveling I’ll shovel back.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              I just skimmed it Ward, and the explanation for why the Southern Strategy is a myth is a swing and a miss. None of the issues he addresses answer the question of whether or not Nixon appealed to racial resentment in southern voters. What he’s attempting to do is provide an alternate account of how southerners voted in larger numbers for Nixon, a Republican. But doesn’t answer the claim that Nixon invoked racially charged language in a direct appeal to southerners racial resentment to get their votes!Report

            • Avatar MFarmer says:

              The New Southern Strategy must be to exclude southerners with the nominee from Mass., the VP pick from Wisconsin and the keynote speaker from New Jersey. Maybe the New Strategy is a NE-Mid-West Strategy.Report

            • Avatar Michelle says:

              You can call bullshit all you want, Wardsmith, but that doesn’t make it so. The article you linked to doesn’t disprove the existence of a purposeful Southern strategy based on two-prongs: an appeal to racial resentments and an effort to attract evangelical voters (many of whom used to be Democrats) by the use of social wedge issues. Thus, the Republicans became the party of “family values.”

              Moreover, the Southern strategy was not necessarily limited to the South; it was initiated there largely because the South was the region of the country most ripe for picking up electoral votes from the sixties on. But racial resentment and evangelism aren’t limited to the region. Edsall and his wife have written extensively about these issues in their 1992 book, Chain Reaction.

              Political and cultural trends develop over time and we’re likely coming to an end of the Southern strategy because appeals to racial resentment–seen in the Birther movement and Romney’s dishonest welfare ads–lack resonance in a country that’s increasingly less white and more multi-ethnic. Likewise, social wedge issues hold less sway with younger voters.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Oh, so now it is racial resentment AND evangelism? Glad to know that because this whack a mole strategy must work for you. Let’s be clear, I provide actual evidence to refute your claim and you provide ?evangelism? President Johnson … informed skeptical southern governors that his plan for the Great Society was “to have them n___ers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.” BTW, “them n____es” ARE voting Democratic so the “Southern Strategy” was REALLY the Democratic strategy all along?

                Then because the ground you’re on is quicksand you munge the topic to include evangelism, which as everyone knows equates to racism on so many levels. Only the liberals are trying to equate garnering additional votes for a political party with racism, just as the liberals equate disagreeing with Obama’s policies as racism. The entire approach is bullshit and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

                The topic of this OP is inherently “dishonesty” as defined by: “My side doesn’t like what your side just said, so you’re being dishonest. My side can’t PROVE what you said is dishonest because the facts are facts, but since the facts are squishy they can be interpreted differently so you’re being dishonest”. I could have written Elias’ post in two sentences.Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                Dude, that’s not what I’m saying. One quote from LBJ in an article from Redstate, hardly an unbiased source, doesn’t count as evidence. LBJ knew full well that when he signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts that he was likely costing the Democrats the South. In 1964, the only states Goldwater won were five deep South states. Democrats have never gotten those states back in their column during presidential elections. That to took a couple of decades to washout the old Dixiecrats and replace them with Republicans is hardly surprising; political and cultural change neither happen overnight or in a vacuum.

                Likewise, factoring evangelicals into the equation doesn’t put my argument on quicksand. I didn’t say the Republican appeal to evangelicals had anything to do with racism. Rather, Republicans shrewdly used social issues such as abortion and gay marriage to attract traditional Democrats into the party. There just happens to be a far larger concentration of evangelical voters in the South than elsewhere in the country.

                The premise of Elias’ argument has nothing to do with your two sentence summation. You couldn’t have written it. Too much righteous indignation gets in the way. And you apparently don’t hang with too many liberals, many of whom are openly critical of Obama’s policies. Calling Romney’s welfare ads what they are–blatantly false and an appeal to racial resentment (as opposed to racism itself)–doesn’t smack of dishonesty. They’re in line with many Republican ads and sayings that came before, from Willie Horton to Helms’ infamous white hands ad. There’s a pattern here whether you want to see it or not.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Michelle I saw a pattern in the 150 years of Democratic Party alienation and literal and figurative enslavement of the blacks in this country, did you? You talk about Nixon as if you’d lived through it, but I suspect you weren’t even a gleam in your father’s eye during ANY of the Nixon years, but I lived through them. The supposed racism of the Nixon era is a figment of the Left’s imagination, or you’re going to have to demonstrate with actual quotes, not taken out of context as I have already done to prove the racism of LBJ, which should never have been in question. Nixon helped shepherd through the seminal 1957 Civil Rights Act, the watered down version that passed (watered down because of YOUR Democrats’ opposition specifically LBJ’s) so how exactly did that enhance his racist bona fides with the South?

                This is pure unadulterated BULLSHIT, I’ve lived through these eras, you’ve only read about them in your Liberal Arts classes taught by know-nothings with their own liberal agenda to foist on a dumbed down populace. Goebbels was right about lies.

                Jesse Helms had good Democrat company, such stalwarts as Byrd, Wallace, Gore Sr, Long, Conners and many many others. That two senators changed parties so they could keep their chairmanships of select committees surprises me not at all. Strom fathered Essie-Mae while he was a Democrat honoring a long time Democrat tradition of screwing the blacks in this country.

                You’re wrong about the liberals, my entire family is riddled with them. They don’t debate me much because I bring facts and figures to the arguments and they (like you) prefer rhetoric and innuendo. That liberals complain that Obama isn’t liberal enough isn’t news, that liberals will vote en masse for Obama likewise isn’t news. They complain incessantly, but they’re totally in the tank and taken for granted by the party.

                The South has progressively gotten wealthier and better educated since it was run (ruined) by the Democrats. Now that the voters are actually earning paychecks, they worry about things like taxes and Social Security solvency, so they vote for the more responsible party. That of course makes them racist in your eyes and I stand by my earlier two sentence summation of the OP.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                It was 50 fishing years ago. Nixon is dead. So is Strom Thurmond—who BTW was the only senator filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act who actually joined the GOP.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Tom, I’m not giving them a pass, I don’t care how long ago. The “Southern Strategy” which you will note is part of the title of this very Opinion Piece is mythological bullshit. It never got legs until the Internet age, and now has achieved mythic proportions. I’m not a historian but I damned well want to set the historical record straight. The most racist pernicious Senators and Congressmen stayed safely ensconced in the Democratic Party until their retirement or eventual loss at the polling booth. This glove won’t fit.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Go for it, Ward. And this is an even stronger rebuttal:

                “In their book “The End of Southern Exceptionalism,” Richard Johnston of the University of Pennsylvania and Byron Shafer of the University of Wisconsin argue that the shift in the South from Democratic to Republican was overwhelmingly a question not of race but of economic growth. In the postwar era, they note, the South transformed itself from a backward region to an engine of the national economy, giving rise to a sizable new wealthy suburban class. This class, not surprisingly, began to vote for the party that best represented its economic interests: the G.O.P. Working-class whites, however — and here’s the surprise — even those in areas with large black populations, stayed loyal to the Democrats. (This was true until the 90s, when the nation as a whole turned rightward in Congressional voting.)

                The two scholars support their claim with an extensive survey of election returns and voter surveys. To give just one example: in the 50s, among Southerners in the low-income tercile, 43 percent voted for Republican Presidential candidates, while in the high-income tercile, 53 percent voted Republican; by the 80s, those figures were 51 percent and 77 percent, respectively. Wealthy Southerners shifted rightward in droves but poorer ones didn’t.

                To be sure, Shafer says, many whites in the South aggressively opposed liberal Democrats on race issues. “But when folks went to the polling booths,” he says, “they didn’t shoot off their own toes. They voted by their economic preferences, not racial preferences.” Shafer says these results should give liberals hope. “If Southern politics is about class and not race,” he says, “then they can get it back.”


              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Ward, what are you arguing against in this thread? Surely not that Nixon made no appeal to southerners racial resentment post ’64, since you haven’t even addressed that topic. But that’s the southern strategy: to leverage post ’64 racial resentment held by southern Democrat voters into votes for the GOP.

                It’s a pretty simple theory, and one confirmed by GOP Insiders. And it’s part and parcel with Reagan’s “young buck” schtick and Rove’s add in Alabama (?? I think?) claiming that McCain fathered an illegitimate black child.

                Your arguments up to this point are that a) Democrats were racist too, and b) that racial resentment post ’64 was a myth, hence, there was nothing to appeal to. The first one is irrelevant wrt to the truth or falsity of the Southern Strategy. The second just seems like a denial of reality. And a willful one at that. But if true, it would certainly refudiate the claim that there was a Southern Strategy. So I can see it’s appeal.Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                Not that it matters, Wardsmith, but I lived through the Nixon era. I may not be an angry old man like you apparently are, but I’ve both lived through and studied the era in question. So enough with the insults. Vitriol is not the equivalent of reasoned argument, especially when you continue to miss the point.

                If you actually read my posts, you’d see I don’t ever say that there wasn’t racism in the Democratic party. The Jim Crow south was dominated by Democrats. But Democrats and folks who’d now be seen as RINOs pushed the Civil and Voting Rights acts through Congress in the 1960s, Democrats knowing it would cost them the South.

                I suspect that the liberals who riddle your family don’t bother to argue with you for the same reason I don’t bother arguing with my father. There’s no point in banging your head against a wall.Report

  5. Avatar SMMcMahon says:

    The following is a poem written by a 92-year-old former Judge and World War II veteran in a video that has gone viral.


    O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?

    You flip-flop here, you flip-flop there,

    You flip-flop almost ev’rywhere.

    You ballyhoo what you’re gonna do

    And then you pull a switcheroo;

    You now malign what you found fine;

    Seems like you’ve got a jellyfish spine.

    Obamacare, by you begun,

    Now you’d trash it on day one.

    Gun control you did extol,

    But now you’re preaching decontrol.

    O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?

    We’ve got no clue what you will do

    Or what new view you’ll pander to.

    Time was you championed women’s choice,

    But you no longer heed their voice;

    On gay rights, too, guess you withdrew

    Support they once enjoyed from you.

    Global warming, EPA,

    Immigration, minimum pay,

    Roe V. Wade, also fair trade,

    All joined your flip-flop cavalcade.

    O, Romney-O, Romney-O Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?

    So many things that you were for

    You’ve turned against and slammed the door.

    Stimulus and cap and trade,

    Education, foreign aid,

    Campaign reform, tarp rescues, too,

    All victims of your switcheroo.

    You take your stand on shifting sand,

    We never know where you will land;

    You vacillate, you fabricate,

    A wishy-washy candidate.

    O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou Mitt Romney?

    As gov’nor you let taxes rise,

    Now ev’ry tax you demonize.

    You say regardless of the facts

    You’d take an axe to the millionaire’s tax;

    You’d feed the greed of the richest few

    The poor and middle class you’d screw.

    Your tax returns you hide from view

    What evil lurks there we’ve no clue;

    If they’re not bad why hesitate?

    Is it that they incriminate?

    O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou Mitt Romney?

    At Bain you plundered with a flair

    And walked away a zillionaire.

    You shipped off-shore, good jobs galore

    To China, India, Singapore;

    A job creator you are not.

    And to boast you are is tommyrot.

    As a total fraud, Mitt’s got no peer;

    What we must do is crystal clear:

    Let’s give Obama four more years!

    Yes, it’s Obama – four more years!


  6. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    Wait… appealing to the self-interest of your primary constituency (even dishonestly) is racist?

    I think this might be one of those cases of… ah, insufficiently substantiated accusations of motivations… that causes the conservative members of the blog to get more than a tad defensive.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      They’ve made a compelling case that it’s ageist, haven’t they?Report

    • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

      I missed that part. Did he go from “appeals to racial resentment” to “motivated by racism?”Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        I’m just reading this line in the OP:

        “hopes to win the White House through barely veiled appeals to racial resentment”

        as declarative.Report

        • You’re making a chicken/egg argument that is immaterial to my point. IMO.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

            Oh, sure, that could be. But the point I’m making (especially in light of the last weeks’ worth of posts) that what you’re implying isn’t going to be what some people infer.

            And really, you’re going to lose the wheels at that point, with half of the audience.

            The original linked piece definitely wants me to think two somethings, it appears to me… and the evidence from which they draw those conclusions only supports one of those two things.

            And the other one is horrible, so they should write a better piece to begin with, and buttress up that other one or drop it.

            These are the sorts of pieces that get me sympathy with those on the Right who counterpunch about racism claims on reflex (it’s analogous to the soda ban story, in a way).

            Your Nixonland piece was way better than this Edsall one.

            “The Republican ticket is flooding the airwaves with commercials that develop two themes designed to turn the presidential contest into a racially freighted resource competition pitting middle class white voters against the minority poor.”

            I think they’re designed to improve their chances of winning. The demographics of that, in and of itself, does tell us something about racism in the country, but that’s the conversation we should be having.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          “hoping to win the White House on the backs of the dead zombie hordes.”Report

  7. Avatar Sokleas of Corinth says:

    For 20 of the 24 years separating Johnson’s victory over Goldwater and Bush’s victory over Dukakis, a Republican was the nation’s President.


    Johnson beats Goldwater, 1964. Johnson (DEM) is president, 4 years.

    Nixon (REP) 6 years.

    Ford (REP) 2 years.

    Carter (DEM) 4 years.

    Reagan (REP) 8 years.

    I mean, I know that lots of people would like to forget the Carter years, but they did happen…

    So, doesn’t that make make the sentence read “16 of the 24 years”?Report

  8. Avatar MFarmer says:

    Obama wishes Carter had never existed. Not enough is being made to compare the two administrations. I’ve lived through both, so far. I lost a small business during Carter, but came back under Reagan. I switched from an antistatist Democrat to an antistatist libertarian/ independent.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith says:

      MFarmer you could be my twin. Same thing happened to me, I mean EXACTLY the same thing. I still despise Carter, he crushed the economy AND added inflation to the mix. At least Obama had the good sense to keep the Republican in charge of (not)breaking the greenback (yet). What people who talk about taxes don’t realize is just how sordid the tax code was back then. I recommend reading the “Historical Perspective” portion of this link. It is an excellent piece overall, which will be read and bookmarked by libertarians and conservatives and blithely ignored by liberals who won’t get past the first page (if that far).

      I would write an OP on this subject, but my track record of late is that I submit a guest OP and the site waits until I’m out of town to publish so all my bookmarks and supporting evidence is unavailable to me should I attempt to correct misunderstandings. All the blather about tax rates misses the fundamentals as discussed in the link, without those fundamentals no intelligent conversation is possible.

      Bottom line, the big dust up I had with David Ryan about S-Corps was because I naively assumed he was in business to build boats, rather than forming a special purpose entity for the purpose of building ONE boat. If he were an actual businessman engaged in actual business, he would have considered the tax implications of his actions and inactions up front. Since “the company” is nothing more than a placeholder none of this matters. I wish him well in his boat excursion business and of course if by some miracle a huge number of orders for future Montiki’s materialize in his lap, he can deal with that outcome then and potentially receive informed business advice. I wouldn’t hold my breath of course, outbound marketing is necessary (as his latest OP suggests) and boat orders are unlikely to /ever/ fall in his lap.

      Antistatist Libertarian Independents of the World, UNITE!Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Carter deregulated airlines, trucking, and beer. Reagan declared war on drugs and porn and Grenada and Libya.

        And both Carter and Reagan had VolkerReport

      • Avatar MFarmer says:

        Right on, Wardsmith. I nominate you for anti-President. Klohe, I am not a Reagan supporter, not fully. What Reagan did was rhetorical and inspirational, and the economics were much better for businesses, but he was a statist in his own way — you can plug in a few plusses for carter, but, overall, Carter’s statist direction was a nightmare. Sophism doesn’t make the case you want here. Carter destroyed a lot of wealth that hurt the poor the most.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        The next time you have a hankering for GPing, send it to me with a time frame of when you’d like to see it published. Due to professional schedules, Mark and EDK might not even see it for a day or two, let alone have time to get it in the hopper.Report

      • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

        So wait, are we blaming Carter for the loss of a business, but saying that Reagan caused another to succeed? I thought people made businesses…not the government (or the people in charge of it).Report

        • Avatar MFarmer says:

          Ethan, don’t be juvenile. You know that regulations, tax policy and government interventions can effect the economy and thus the liklihood of a business facing an unfriendly or rigged business environment or an environment in which government doesn’t intervene and allows competition to fairly exist.Report

          • Avatar DRS says:

            Maybe you just weren’t a very good businessman the first time around.Report

            • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

              Or maybe most businesses just fail, no matter how good the people starting them are, because that creative destruction is part of the free market.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                Yes, that’s it, Carter simply governed over a period of creative destruction. This is rich. Carter’s confused interventions and wrong-headed energy policies had nothing to do with high inflation, high unemployment, high interest rates and such. It was the innovation of pet rocks that shook up the economy until the adjustment was complete in the 80s.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Periods of creative destruction occur, demonstrably.

                Now, you can argue that Something Somebody Did made them measurably worse, or complicated things, sure.

                But I’m pretty certain that a good number of the problems in the Carter Administration had much more to do with the global economy than Carter.

                It’s the economists who keep telling us that Presidential Administrations don’t really have much control over the economy, after all.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                Unless Bush is President. I agree that Presidents don’t have a lot of power to fix the economy, unless one could finally separate State and Economy, but they can do things that make it worse, and Carter made it worse.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                I suspect the problem here is that you guys are too young to imagine the devastation caused when inflation and interest rates both top 18%. But, yes, I was probably just bad at business the first time.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                I remember the gas lines.

                You know who doesn’t set the interest rate? The president.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                Oh, yes, I forgot -the Fed is independent. How quaint.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                No, the Fed is not independent.

                But the Fed’s job is to try and correct monetary policy to keep unemployment, inflation, and interest rates all from getting too wildly out of whack.

                Stagflation was already going on when Carter took office. The 1973 Oil Crisis happened four years before he took office. The CPI was going up at 6% per year in 1970, up to 12% per year in 1973, and started going down… during the Ford administration.

                So if you’re pissed at someone for starting a cycle of economic downturn, I think you ought to be pissed at Nixon.

                Just sayin’.

                Unless of course the 1973 Oil Crisis was probably going to happen anyway, regardless of who was President. In which case, you can be pissed at the global economy.Report

              • Avatar DRS says:

                See, didn’t that feel better? There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of to admit it. We don’t hold it against you, and it’s great that you kept on trying.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                DRS, you are cute and funny. A killer combo.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                Here’s an article that looks objectively at Carter’s performance — — he is overly generous on the good points, although he’s a tad ironic in doing so. Carter didn’t even understand what his bragging points were.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                The opening three paragraphs seem to be coming from an entirely different place than the tone of your comments here would indicate.

                So before I finish reading, I have to ask: am I misreading the tone of your comments, or do you agree with this article, or… what?

                I mean, I can read this as “MFarmer put this up as an assessment of the Carter presidency” or I can read this as “MFarmer put this up as an assessment of the Carter presidency, but when pressed, he’s going to agree with the negative parts and disagree with the positive ones”, which is sort of bolstered by the wording in your actual comment.

                Where’s the goalposts, dude?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer says:

                I’m cool with the positive. Carter became impatient with government regulations in some areas when they got in his way to make immediate changes to try and save his ass, and the changes inadvertently were good for America. But the stupid price controls and regulations that he put in then took out confused investors and business owners — his overall statist means of governing were bad for the economy and made things worse, plus, his malaise speech caused people to be disgusted with him. But, it’s true, Carter is just another Bozo on the bus of Presidents, and the real problem is systemic — the systemic problems started with FDR, then Johnson and Nixon complicated them, Carter made it worse, Reagan grew government and its power, then one after another has simply been swept along by the statist system, until now we have 16 trillion in debt, and hundreds of trillions in unfunded liabilities facing us. And we have a military/industrial complex which is out of control. But, if you want to rewrite history and give carter a pass, it’s fine with me. The fact is that many businesses went out of business during the Carter years, and it’s true that he made things worse. If we had taken Carter’s economic advice since he’s left office, we would have collapsed by now. Carter is a social democrat who puts politics ahead of economics, and this leads to disaster in the market.Report

  9. Avatar Roger says:

    So here is the question for the panelists…

    Which side is playing the “race card” here, and which side is playing the “racism card?”

    There is tribalism, and tribalism moved up one level of abstraction. Either way, the other side sucks!Report

    • Avatar wardsmith says:

      Obama would have to be caught in bed with a dead woman AND a live boy to lose more than 15% of the black vote (if that). The GOP could borrow $20billion, pay off every black voter in America and STILL lose the black vote by 90%. Since they’re not bothering to go after the black vote they have no chance of getting (against a black candidate) they will be smeared by the same racial BS line that has been used to smear them for 30 yrs while the REAL racist party laughs every time a minority votes for it.Report

      • Avatar Michelle says:

        What possible reason would a black person have to vote Republican? Despite conservatives’ snickering at the notion of a Southern strategy, Republicans have, since Nixon, systematically tried to attract white working class voters from the Democratic Party by appealing to racial resentment exacerbated by the end of the Jim Crow South and the successes of the Civil Rights movement.

        Romney’s latest set of ads about Obama’s alleged gutting of the welfare requirement–based on blatant fabrication–are the equivalent of Reagan’s harping on welfare queens and big “bucks” who use food stamps to buy steaks while working folks buy hamburger, or Bush I’s Willie Horton ads. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who these ads are aimed at and who they portray as the bogey man. Republicans have gone out of their way to get working class whites to vote against their economic interests using a potent mix of well orchestrated racial resentment and social wedge issues (most of which the Republican elite probably don’t give a rat’s ass about).Report

        • Avatar Scott says:

          Considering that Repubs are for small gov’t (fewer cushy gov’t jobs), less welfare and ending affirmative action I guess you are right.

          As for gutting the welfare work requirement, that may be somewhat of an exaggeration but there is no authority in the law that grants HHS the power to grant waivers, none despite Barry’s admin thinking otherwise.

          • Avatar Liberty60 says:

            “Repubs are for small gov’t ”


          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

            > Considering that Repubs are for small gov’t
            > (fewer cushy gov’t jobs), less welfare and
            > ending affirmative action I guess you are right.

            Scott, you do a better job of shutting down the possibility of real dialogue than anyone I’ve interacted with on a regular basis on the Internet.

            Are you performance art?Report

          • Avatar Michelle says:

            Gee, Scott, perhaps if the Democrats promise free fried chicken and all the watermelon you can eat, they could win 100 percent of the African-American vote. Trade in stereotypes much?Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko says:

          But there are black conservatives. Herman Cain. Larry Elder. Condoleezza Rice. Clarence Thomas. Michael Steele. Allen West.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            Well, everyone has different priorities.

            This is a good thing.Report

          • Avatar Liberty60 says:

            Yes, there are black conservatives.

            And you have named every one of them.Report

          • Avatar wardsmith says:

            Burt it isn’t racist to pick on a black conservative, you know that. Of course if the roles were reversed and it were a LIBERAL black candidate, then then NAACP would be screaming from the rooftops. But blinders are called blinders for a reason. The real bigots are the ones who can hear a dog whistle that wasn’t there, but can’t see a black man punching out a white woman as anything more than ‘politics’.Report

            • Avatar DRS says:

              I just viewed the ad and the word I’d use to describe it is “stupid”. Possibly throwing in “obviously inexpensive” as well. It would have been closer to racist if it had been filmed in a realistic manner, using live actors, with black male figure attacking frightened white women, older and younger. Also with duh-duh-duh-duuuuuh music and low-key lighting. The NAACP response that it was tasteless but not out of the realm of the usual campaign nonsense seems good to me.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                DRS, I’ll make it academic for you. Substitute Obama for Allen in that commercial and see who screams and how loud. Anything else is just tribalism and yes, you are representing your tribe quite well.Report

              • Avatar DRS says:

                And you are representing your tribe very badly. Petulance is rarely persuasive, and you’d be more effective by at least pretending to adopt a reasonable manner. If the point is to persuade, that is.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                You addressed my point not at all. Substitute Obama in that commercial and tell me how benign it is. You know and I know that the same crowd here and around the net who micro parse Republican statements to inveigle the slightest hint of a reference to a dog whistle would have a field day with that. Petulance or lack thereof (and I suggest you consult a dictionary before you throw around the 15 cent words you don’t understand) has nothing to do with it.Report

              • Avatar DRS says:

                Actually, I did address your point, in my 2:31 pm post. What I didn’t do was agree with you. That is not the same thing. And your tone is getting worse. It doesn’t make me feel like continuing this discussion.Report

              • Consider this a friendly request to take your interlocutor’s complaints re: tone more seriously. We’ve had too many threads as of late go off-the-rails from ill-humor.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                A little late to the party, this.Report

  10. Avatar Scott says:

    Wow, another post bashing Repubs. This time it is Repubs are racist. Don’t Dems have another tune to play? Why don’t we have another post about Mitt’s taxes?Report

    • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

      Republicans aren’t racist. Some racists are Republican.

      And yes, a Presidential candidate’s tax returns are fair game. Now if you don’t actually want to make a point and defend it, fine, but perhaps you could lay out an argument for why you don’t think there are minimally racist elements within electorate (not even talking Republicans here), or why Mitt’s taxes shouldn’t influence anyone’s take on him as a candidate for President?Report

    • Avatar North says:

      I would observe that the League hasn’t had much in the way of pro-Romney pieces up. Presumably the League’s small but elite conservative group, while they disapprove of Obama are either too busy or insufficiently enamored with Romney to want to go on the record as supporting him. The League’s more Libertarian contingent obviously has no love for either of them.

      I suggest that you guest post a pro-Romney piece.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      North beat me to it: write a guest post. Sounds like you wouldn’t have trouble identifying some dimension of the Democrats’ campaign strategy as cynical and morally questionable. If you’re up to the challenge, send me the piece by private e-mail and I’ll see to it that it gets published — whether I agree with it or not.Report

  11. Avatar Cermet says:

    The ignorance of people here talking about President Carter causing the economic decline of the American economy during his time in office is laughable. If you had bothered to learn about economic studies that were based on facts, then you would have learned that the US economy, shortly after the War II and well into the 1960’s accounted for nearly 50% of the WORLDS total economic output. AS the rest of the world shook off the effects of the War and developed with their cheaper labor, the US had to decline economically. Heavy industry is labor intensive and highly sensitive to labor costs. Since we were the ONLY major economic power that forced its own labor force to obtained medical care through its employer (as part of its operating cost!), US wages never could compete with lower cost labor in the rest of the world. The US economy merely declined to a more realistic 25% of the world’s total economic output, which more closely matches our overall economic output/capital compared to the rest of the world. NO one could have prevented that decline and Carter is no more responsible than Regan who, by the way, also oversaw a massive heavy industry decline in the US through the 80’s. Once again, facts have a liberal bias and many people here prefer ignorance to knowledge and have to defend their small beliefs in nonsense.Report

    • Avatar MFarmer says:

      Preach on it, Cermet. So, we can all agree that no President can make a bad economy worse, even Bush, and no President can do anything to help create a friendly economic environment to boost the economy. Each President is a victim of global economic shifts that are caused by…God, history, fate, shit happens and so forth. I’m so glad we cleared that up — now tell Obama how ignorant he is.Report