Possibly a first.


This is the first time I have ever seen Carter’s “malaise speech” described as anything but political suicide.

But as pointed out by the opinion writer, 41 years later, some of the words have renewed meaning. And should give us ALL a little pause.

23 thoughts on “Possibly a first.

  1. There is a difference, though you have to be old enough to have been there to see it.

    The ‘sacrifices’ Carter called on the American people were entirely the result of ham fisted attempts at central planning of the economy started by Nixon and escalated to ivory tower insanity by Carter.

    The overreaction to the Arab Oil embargo was totally unnecessary and something the marketplace would have resolved in a few months, but Nixon responded with across the board wage and price controls. Then Carter magnified the problem by trying to pick and choose who could raise prices and who could not.

    The malaise was entirely the result a decade of bad policy so, of course, Reagan’s Morning in America approach of a return to free markets and confidence in the people to find their own way if the government got its boot off their necks appealed.

    The current hardships are not at all like that, they are more like the response to Pearl Harbor. People will sacrifice when they see a clear enemy that they didn’t elect.

    Or as Pogo told us at the time “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “People will sacrifice when they see a clear enemy that they didn’t elect.”

      Did you vote for a pandemic? Oh, wait. Unless you are directly affected by it, you can’t see it. The virus is the enemy now. Not the dueling parties. Who by the way, we DID vote for.

      Sacrifices are necessary and that is what the writer was getting at. Put the altruism aside and think about the others that re in similar or worse situations than yourself.

      I also have to wonder if you even read the opinion piece.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Give’em a break; memory lane is a comforting place for those wanting to go back to the 50s.

        FWIW: his breakdown of the Nixon/Carter screw-up was pretty accurate.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, I read it, and I am pointing out that it is an inappropriate comparison.

        WW2 and Covid 19 are external attacks on our population and most Americans will willingly sacrifice to meet that attack.

        Carter’s Malaise was entirely self inflicted and people saw the speech as whining.


        1. “ WW2 and Covid 19 are external attacks on our population and most Americans will willingly sacrifice to meet that attack.L

          And many are.

          The big difference is that WW2 was a war with allies against an enemy with allies. The battle lines were clear. Winning was well defined.

          This time it is a battle of all humans against a natural disaster. Since a virus pandemic can pop up anywhere and we are so globally connected, it might be a good time to work harder at multilateral beneficial deals, travel and trade agreements rather than single, bilateral trade wars.

          This goes against the grain of the more popular nationalism that is taking hold in many countries, including ours.

          Viruses don’t respect borders, visas, passports, walls, customs officials or embargoes.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. RE: “you have to be old enough to have been there to see it.”

      My fondest memory of the Carter years is all the discussion of economic “spirals.” The idea was: Once a small economic spiral gets started, it tends to grow unstoppably until it goes out of control.

      I found the concept of economic spirals so hard to believe that I became interested in economics to find out if there was any merit to it. It turns out there is, but like everything else in economics, if there are spirals there are counter spirals, and different kinds of each. And sometimes there are no spirals at all.


      1. I liken the period more to my first time driving a tugboat with a large tow.

        I would see I was getting off course to starboard and start turning the helm to port. And nothing would happen. So I would turn it more, and still nothing. Then, all of a sudden the boat would swing strongly port and no amount of starboard helm would stop it. Until, all of a sudden, it did, and off we went starboard.

        It took a while to learn to be patient at the helm.


        1. It appears as if you and Mr. Roberts missed the point of the opinion piece. He’s talking about sacrifices that need to be made by all in time of crisis. And while the Carter situation was quite different from today, the idea of sacrifice is NOT different. All you have done is focus on how bad (agreed, by the way) Carter was and the why of what happened then.

          I posed this piece as a non-partisan, no ideology opinion, yet there you went off on some tangent that was pretty much unrelated and completely all about the politics of things.


          1. RE: “I posed this piece as a non-partisan, no ideology opinion, yet there you went off on some tangent that was pretty much unrelated and completely all about the politics of things.”

            You said the words “should give us ALL a little pause,” but never said why you think so. Since you weren’t explicit about the message you wanted to convey, it makes sense for others to share their own thoughts on Carter’s message. If you want people to know what you’re saying, you have to tell them.


          2. I also said …”some of the words have renewed meaning”…
            TO me it was clear. Apparently to you and Don, it must all be explained, every nuance, every comma every period.

            He old skunk, pissing contest advice is running through my head again. I think I’ll heed it now.


          3. …“should give us ALL a little pause,” …

            The opinion piece alone did that. But your opinions are driven by complete and total fealty to all things Trump. There is my little irrelevant tangent.

            Obtuse, thy name is Todd, unless HE says it.


          4. RE: “TO me it was clear.”

            Obviously. That was your mistake. If it helps any, many people who don’t write for a living make it.


          5. Yet on another thread you clearly caught the “nuance”. Gimme a freakin’ brake. You argue for the sense of superiority it gives you. It makes you appear petty and narcissistic. Just like your hero.


  2. … and yet, I cannot get Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s Fox interview out of my thinking on this.

    He suggested in the interview for the over 70 crowd to willingly sacrifice themselves on the altar of the Free Market to save the economy for their young’uns by withholding treatment, i.e., ventilators. Conveniently for him, he is 69. But, it is bothersome that he would allow our older Boomers and the remnants of the Greatest to drown horribly and painfully in their own body fluids by the mere chance of infection.

    Instead, let us invoke a “Logan’s Run” approach. We could more humanely dispatch our retirees, pit-bury them, raise a glorious monuments, and restore the 30,000 Dow in a week’s time.

    This IS the solution. It achieves everything.

    For the epidemic;
    1) it frees up the potential of a large draw on the ICU capacity, and
    2) it eliminates 40 million potential carriers of the disease. win-win

    For the economy;
    3) it is a huge transfer of wealth to Gens X and Y, who are more likely to consume manufactured goods over just medical supplies and Depends,
    4) it instantly reduces the strain on corporate and State retirement plans, and
    5) gives investment capital to the 40-somethings, who are more likely to choose stocks.

    Finally, for the government, it resets and eliminates the need for 20 years of SocSec and Medicare payments, which can be used to pay down the debt and give to the military.

    Liked by 3 people

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