Entries Tagged as 'Jimmy Carter'

Colony Shale, The First Solyndra

September 29th, 2011 at 2:56 pm 22 Comments

Solyndra is a lesson in how the substitution of wishful thinking for green eyeshades can stimulate the growth of costly energy carbuncles that emit malodorous political fumes.

Today it is Solyndra. Yesterday it was Colony Shale.

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WSJ on Debt Crisis: Reject Reality

David Frum July 28th, 2011 at 10:37 am 115 Comments

I used to write editorials for the Wall Street Journal myself, 20 years ago now.

So I’m well aware of the challenge faced by those assigned to compose these documents. The strict demands of the paper’s ideology do not always lie smoothly over the rocky outcroppings of reality. It can take considerable skill to match the two together.

In that regard, this morning’s lead editorial about the debt-ceiling crisis is a true masterpiece.

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Blame for Debt Talks is Divided

July 27th, 2011 at 12:16 am 23 Comments

There is little evidence to suggest that either President Obama or House Speaker John Boehner gained much political leverage as a result of Friday night’s dueling press conferences or Monday night’s back-to-back speeches. If anecdotal evidence and public opinion polls are to be believed, cialis sale the only sure thing that has happened as a result of the televised bickering is that the level of public frustration, patient which was already high, has reached levels not seen in a very long time. Personally, I have not been this worried about the fate of our Republic since the darkest days of the Watergate crisis.

Now, I have no illusions that what is written here has much impact on the larger political conversations that go on in the country, or on the debates on Capitol Hill, or on the strategy discussions that are occur in the West Wing. But in the faint hope that a little straight talk, like chicken soup, cannot hurt, I offer the following observations.

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Why is Carter Crushing on Huntsman?

May 5th, 2011 at 1:37 pm 8 Comments

President Carter’s reported affinity for Ambassador Jon Huntsman must have something to do with their shared passion for large families (Carter has 4 kids; Huntsman 7).  It certainly has nothing to do with shared politics.  Consider just the following three issues:

Economics: President Carter’s economic policies took money from the private sector and gave it to the government, find a purportedly more efficient operator.  Not only did he stick it to “rich businessmen and their $50 martini lunches,” but he instituted a Social Security payroll tax on the middle class.  When energy became scarce, Carter responded by raising taxes on oil companies.  The result of these tax policies?  Double-digit inflation, high interest rates, double-digit unemployment, and 1.6 billion fewer barrels of oil – thereby leading to even higher gas prices and long lines at the gas station.

In contrast to Carter’s tax-happy ways, Huntsman, while governor of Utah, enacted a $225 million tax cut which included a flat tax on income.  As result of what The Deseret News called the largest tax cut in Utah’s history, Huntsman won the 2007 Taxpayer Advocate Award from the Utah Tax Payers Association.  Huntsman is also credited for improving government efficiency, bringing new talent to the state, and fostering business development, all of which led the American Legislative Exchange Council to call Utah the top state for expected economic recovery, and the Pew Center to say “Utah has been a clear leader in sound government based on smart planning and effective performance management that emphasizes long-term results.”

Health care: President Carter is one of the longest standing proponents of a national health care system.  In an interview with 60 Minutes, Carter accused liberal leader Ted Kennedy of not doing enough to quickly pass a national healthcare system.  Had it been up to Carter, the country wouldn’t have needed Obamacare; it would have had Cartercare by 1979.

Ambassador Huntsman prefers individual autonomy in health care decisions, not governmental mandates.  As Governor, Huntsman signed into law a health care system that allows Utahns to take defined contributions from their employers and buy coverage on their own.  This increased consumer choice and fostered free-market competition in the health care marketplace. The Heritage Foundation called it the “blueprint for consumer focused health care reform.”

Along with increased health care choice under Huntsman’s watch, Utah enjoyed reduced costs thanks to Huntsman’s reformation of the state’s medical malpractice system.  The governor’s effort limited the ability of plaintiffs’ attorneys – favorites of Carter and former Democratic candidate John Edwards – to sue hospitals for hundreds of millions of dollars based on dubious lawsuits.

Israel: President Carter published the book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid that compared Israel to oppressive South African.  Enough said.

In May 2009, Huntsman led a trade delegation trip to Israel in an effort to expand “strategic relations” between the two countries.  When he got back, Huntsman lauded Israel’s dynamic economy and said, “I was most touched by the people in Israel.  They feel a certain kinship with the United States.  There’s a great sense of friendship, a great sense of partnership.”  Huntsman, unlike Carter, appreciates that Israel must take certain measures to preserve the liberal democratic oasis that it has created in the Middle East.

The list goes on and on. They disagree on everything from foreign policy, to guns, to the role of government. Suffice it to say that while the two men might get along, President Carter and Ambassador Huntsman sit at far different places of the American political spectrum.


My Opponent, Senator Kennedy

August 27th, 2009 at 11:39 pm 13 Comments

The news of Edward Kennedy’s death late Tuesday night was not unexpected. When we learned last week that the Senator had been unable to attend the funeral of his sister, hospital Eunice Shriver, we knew his own end must be near. That knowledge and the emotional preparation it allowed for do not, however, temper our grief or diminish the sense of loss that our country—especially its political institutions—has suffered by virtue of his passing.

I suspect that my own feelings are a bit more complicated or nuanced than are those of many of my friends and associates, for I have never been able to forget—nor entirely get over—Senator Kennedy’s challenge to my old boss, Jimmy Carter, for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination. I believed then and believe today that Kennedy’s 1980 candidacy was both unnecessary and unjustified. In my opinion, it was a candidacy based more upon ambition than principle, well-crafted and skillfully-delivered speeches to the contrary notwithstanding. That year’s intra-party challenge damaged Carter enormously, and helped propel the Republican nominee, Ronald Reagan, to victory in the fall. As a result, the cause of progressive politics and government was derailed for a generation.

But far more intense than either that memory or that complaint is the realization that Edward Kennedy’s life and career over the past five decades represented a constant reminder that it was his brothers, John and Robert, who inspired me and many others to become engaged in politics in the first place.

Ted Kennedy, like Jack and Bobby before him, taught us to believe in politics as a powerful instrument for change in our society. In the late 1960s when I was an organizer in the national drive to extend the vote to 18-year olds, Ted Kennedy was one of our most active and effective advocates. More recently, for those of us who believe in and have been working to achieve standards-based education reform and school accountability, Ted Kennedy has been an unwavering champion, even in the face of opposition from longtime political allies. In between, Ted Kennedy put his stamp on just about every major area of American life.

Throughout his career, Ted Kennedy never allowed any of us to forget that public service may be a citizen’s most noble calling. He also enjoyed the game of politics… he relished the battles and the celebrations, the strategizing and the debating, the arguments and the alliances. Because he was so good at the game he was fun to watch—even if you were on or rooting for the opposing team.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to Edward Kennedy “bipartisanship” was a lot more than some gauzy notion of political happy talk. Instead, it was about the nitty-gritty of making public policy; it was about deal cutting, and trade-offs, and of working across the aisle whenever necessary to move an issue or an agenda ahead. Ted Kennedy knew that being mean is not the same as being tough, that being stubborn is not the same as being resolute, and that when it comes to legislative politics being right is no substitute for being successful.

This is a very sad time for Democrats of all stripes, and for those Republicans and independents who appreciate skilled leaders no matter what their ideology. For those of us whose careers have put us in the political and governmental arenas for any period and at any level, we have lost a valuable role model. And for people of my age, a chapter in our lives has ended… sadly and permanently.