The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan. Carter, after defeating Ted Kennedy for the Democratic nomination, attacked Reagan as a dangerous right-wing radical. For his part, Reagan, the former Governor of California, repeatedly ridiculed Carter, and won a decisive victory; in the simultaneous Congressional elections, Republicans won control of the United States Senate for the first time in 28 years. This election marked the beginning of what is popularly called the “Reagan Revolution.”
Democrats of every ilk are scared to death today. Why? The U.S. appears to be eerily close to exploding as the nation did in the advance of the 1980 presidential election. Democrats don’t have a Ronald Reagan they can send across the nation to cement their party’s slim margin in the House and to keep the 50-50 tie in the U.S. Senate. Worse yet, there are very few “bullets” (pun intended) in the Democrat gun to battle against the conservatism of the other side that is already destroying Joe Biden’s credibility and setting the table for a shellacking in the midterms.
What does that mean?
It is the ultimate no-fly zone for Democratic presidents. No matter what happens, you never, ever want to enter into the zone of comparison with the 39th president of the United States. But as the news just keeps getting worse and the crises mount one on top of another for the nation’s increasingly embattled chief executive, the question has become unavoidable. Is Joe Biden the political reincarnation of Jimmy Carter?
The most obvious comparison begins with their candidacies, both of which succeeded only because of strikingly unique historical circumstances. It is fair to say that the previously unknown dark horse Jimmy Carter – running on a pledge to return decency to politics – could never have been elected president absent the Watergate scandal, resulting in the only resignation of a president in American history. And Joe Biden, in obvious decline after almost five decades in national politics, almost surely would not have landed in the White House were it not for the pandemic which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans on Donald Trump’s watch.
President by Default
The results of both the 1976 and 2020 elections were comparable in one particularly crucial way. They both represented the rejection of a crisis-plagued presidency far more than an affirmation of the alternative. It is hardly a secret that little if any passion existed in the land for placing the career politician from Delaware in the Oval Office; a man who had flamed out badly twice before in his quest for the presidency. But the four-year-long marginalization of Trump by the forces of the established order worked in harmony to assure that the pandemic would be his ultimate downfall, and it mattered little what Democrat would take his place by default. Joe Biden needed the sole qualification of not being Donald Trump to become the beneficiary of 45’s orchestrated demise.
Likewise, average Americans appalled by the Watergate scandal and the steaming cauldron of corruption unmasked in Washington’s corridors of power, reacted by electing a pious Southern Baptist promising, “I will never lie to you.” Such a pledge would be laughable in today’s unrelentingly cynical, jaded, and tribal brand of politics, but it resonated with the American people at the time. While Carter actually defeated Gerald Ford, who had replaced the disgraced Richard Nixon, it was the resignation-worthy behavior of Nixon and his administration that animated the voters.
In both cases, the people who voted for Joe Biden and Jimmy Carter were so consumed with removing one man or party from power that they failed to adequately consider the downdraft from electing instead someone who was little more than a placeholder or one-trick pony who could not triumph – for good reasons – in ordinary times. And in both cases, the country has been made to pay the price.
The Carter years were defined by the m-word: malaise. Does it feel terribly different now? If you lived through the bad old days of the late 1970s, you will remember a term that was invented for the time and had not reared its head again – until now: Stagflation. It is the devastating pairing of a stagnant economy and damaging inflation that flat-out killed the Carter presidency. Food and energy prices went through the roof as unemployment plus inflation, forming yet another new expression, the misery index, which surpassed 20%. Combined with his perceived weakness on the international stage, fueled by a seemingly never-ending hostage crisis in Iran, and the general sense that he was just in way over his head, Carter became wildly unpopular.
Sound familiar? Well, we just learned that prices at the pump are up 43% from a year ago, new cars are costing almost 10% more, and food prices continue to rise as Biden’s supply chain crisis, unlike anything experienced by Carter, starts to explode.
Biden Out-Carters Carter
But as we consider the comparative fates of the 39th and 46th presidents, incredibly, the outlook for Biden may be even worse. Both men were considered likable when elected, but while Carter maintained his personal popularity throughout his presidency despite his political failures, Biden severely diminished his compassion Q-rating through his callousness during the Afghanistan fiasco.
Both presidents had defining international crises, but while Carter’s failed hostage rescue in Iran was largely the result of misfortune, Biden’s appalling surrender in Afghanistan was the product of his own design.
And while Carter was considered genuinely moderate, even stingy by the liberal left, Biden supports an all-you-can-eat buffet of socialist initiatives – even though the voters demanded no such thing. Indeed, while Carter advocated for relative fiscal rectitude as the national debt in his final year in office amounted to less than one trillion dollars, Biden supports massive taxing and spending as it now approaches $29 trillion.
Oh, and Carter also did not create a crisis on the border through his own policies, as Biden has done.
Like Donald Trump, Biden is also dealing with factors beyond his control, specifically prevailing economic conditions that have resulted in wrenching changes from “before times,” pre-pandemic, when the economy was firing on all cylinders. As the coronavirus now shrinks ever so slowly from our lives and collective consciousness, the way we conduct our lives and do business has been dramatically altered in this new work-at-home world.
Indeed, life has changed. Is Joe Biden the man to lead us into this land of the great unknown, as people hoped Jimmy Carter would be when he pledged to rid politics of corruption? While Carter’s legacy is complete, Biden’s is not. And yet, it seems the people have already rendered their verdict – only 38% approve in the latest survey. The best hope for this 46th president, with more than three years left to serve, is that they somehow change their mind.
It is weird, but it is true, that the circumstances in the U.S. and that surround our government today look almost the exact way as did those immediately before the 1980 election. Thankfully, we don’t have a bunch of Americans being held hostage in Iran or some other foreign nation. However, one can reasonably compare the Iran incident to the atrocious pull out of Afghanistan in which Biden left hundreds of Americans behind enemy lines in Afghanistan that many of today are still hiding for their lives! Remember, that happened as Biden swore over and over that we would NEVER leave any American behind in our withdrawal from Afghanistan.
And then there’s an almost mirror image of the economies of the U.S. today as was in 1979-80.
The economic disorder of the 1970s lingered into the beginning of the 1980s. But Reagan’s economic program soon had an effect. Reagan operated on the basis of supply-side economics — the theory that advocates lower tax rates so people can keep more of their income. Proponents argue that supply-side economics results in more savings, investment, production, and, ultimately, greater economic growth.
Reagan’s tax cuts mainly benefited the wealthy in the beginning, but through a chain reaction, they also helped lower-income earners as higher levels of investment eventually led to new job openings and higher wages. Biden’s tax increases led to increases in unemployment (people refused to go back to work from pandemic lockdowns). While interest rates remain unjustifiably low, they are headed higher at a much quicker level than did those in 1979-80 when Prime Rate went to 20.5%.
Reagan inherited an economic horror show that made the movie “Halloween” look like “Bambi.” It took him a couple of years, but he righted the ship and gave back to America a legitimate belief that the U.S. Government was capable to find a balance between income and spending at the same time creating new jobs, lowering taxes, and attracting more overseas corporations to the U.S.
Biden, on the other hand, inherited an economic goldmine that he summarily — and immediately — began to dismantle. He destroyed in one day the U.S. fossil fuel energy. Oh, they argue that the first day in the White House when he canceled the XL Pipeline federal permit that quickly killed hundreds of jobs certainly did not destroy the entire industry. But that permit cancellation wasn’t all that he did.
He ordered the stop of oil company leases of federal land to oil companies. He ramped up to outrageous levels regulations of the industry that had never been seen before! He slow-played the necessary drilling permits on federal lands that had already been leased by oil companies while daily claiming he had done nothing to the industry, only to those “few” workers on the XL pipeline.
His fawning media lapdogs gleefully began to chronicle the Biden destruction of the American fossil fuel industry in the name of climate control. He did that to pander to the far left in his party to keep them happy. He thought throwing them that bone would silence them for a bit. Was he ever wrong!
Compare Biden’s first year to that of Reagan. Reagan, even though inheriting a fleabag that was not far from death, found a way to analyze and correct the Carter atrocities quickly enough to keep us from a deep depression. He didn’t do that by attacking the chief sectors of the American economy that struggled under the weight of Carter’s monumental interest rates and unemployment roadblocks. He did it by invigorating the populace who were enthralled with his positive attitude and his deep belief and resolve in the will of the American people.
Biden “talked a good game” when it came to middle-class Americans. But he as did his partner for eight years — Barack Obama — pandered to the middle-class and poor while operating an incessant string of enriching economic “bones” to the richest Americans — those who had “invested” in Obama who was discovered later to have thrown quite a few bones the way of those big contributors. (Who can ever forget Solyndra)
As we close this analysis of the comparison between Biden and Reagan, remember that we have a lopsided comparison. Biden has been President for barely a year. Reagan served two terms in the White House. The big difference is Reagan inherited a can of worms while Biden inherited a United States with a roaring economy that had been slowed a bit by COVID-19, but was still flourishing. And it didn’t take him long to take the “roar” out of our lives.
What was the big difference (or the “biggest” of differences) between the two? Biden looks at the American people merely as a conduit for him and for those in his purview for money and obligation to flow upstream to be used as Joe, Nancy, and Chuck see fit. But Joe has seldom initiated anything that was FOR the American people.
Ronald Reagan’s perspective of Americans was one of true pride. He was thrilled to sit atop the greatest country on Earth. And he made it clear throughout his young adult life, through his acting career and California governorship, and continued to his death that he was button-busting proud to be an American. He was honored to “serve,” not to “be served.” That’s a stark difference between the pair.
Reagan inherited quite a few bad situations, not of his own doing but that of his predecessor. Biden inherited a plethora of great pieces that were glued together for the American people by Donald Trump. Biden summarily dismantled as many of those as possible as quickly as possible. The results of his swift actions are deplorable and very public.
The midterms this year spell disaster for Joe Biden (if he runs for re-election) or for any other Democrat who may run. Elections are most often about issues while candidates work hard to make elections about “individuals” who are running. Not so anymore. Great personalities were the only necessities required in the past to get elected to the highest office in the land. Now, it takes substance.
That’s certainly not saying Biden had any significant substance in any area of his political career when he became president. And he has put NOTHING on the table FOR the American people, rather, taking MANY things OFF the table for himself, his family members, and his “Supporters.”
The clock is ticking, the calendar pages are turning, and the November election is just months away. In my opinion, Joe Biden has NO chance — zero — to win in November. That is, of course, if the vote tallies are correct and if everyone who votes is doing so legally.
A huge number of Americans have awakened to the fallacy perpetrated by Obama and Biden regarding making government even bigger while convincing Americans they had all the answers.
It didn’t work. And the 2020 “fiddling” with our election system won’t work again. For all of the above reasons and even more, Biden –if he runs again — will NOT win on November 8.