A Second Term for Carter?
I noted in a recent post that John McCain has accused Barack Obama of flirting with the failed ideas of previous Democratic administrations. For me, McCain’s general remarks evoked an image of the large federal bureaucracies constructed in the 1960s. But we now know that McCain also had a more specific example from the 1970s in mind. In a television interview yesterday, he argued that electing Obama would be akin to a second term for Jimmy Carter. This is no doubt the McCain campaign’s considered comeback to the Democratic claim that McCain’s election would constitute a third term for George Bush.
While I have suggested on several occasions that Carter’s endorsement is indeed a mixed blessing for the Obama campaign, I’m not sure whether the McCain riposte packs the requisite punch to neutralize the just-like-Bush critique. If you consider that the youngest of those eligible to vote in 1976 is now approaching 50, it is unlikely that historical comparisons to the Carter Administration will produce the same sort of visceral reaction that millions of younger voters have to any mention of Bush Administration policies. Conservatives who love to hate Carter will get a good chuckle out of McCain’s counterattack, but they may find that it has limited potential as the centerpiece of a broader attack on Obama’s liberalism.

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