Thursday, September 16, 2010

Julian Zelizer about Jimmy Carter (and Obama) - Roundtable

Here is a short review about an issue of The Roundtable. The Roundtable is a three hour radio program from WAMC that delivers sections as podcast. These sections are around 15 minute long items from the radio show. (feed)

I listened to an interview with Julian Zelizer who is a biographer of the former US president Jimmy Carter. Carter is portrayed as a failed president. Once in office, in spite of a sensational electoral win and in spite of being associated to the Israeli-Egypt peace of 1978, he mostly messed up his rule. He was not good at working with Congress and eventually dramatically lost his face internationally in the US Hostages affair in Iran.

Explanations for this phenomenon are found in the way and period Carter came to power. He could defeat Gerald Ford in the election as Ford and the Republicans were thoroughly associated with the Nixon debacle. Furthermore, Carter got hold of the Democrat candidacy by being the outsider politician which shows the broader audience was fed up with traditional Washington figureheads. Once in office he inherited a problematic economic situation which wouldn't improve too easily. Parallels with Obama are easily found and Zelizer also discusses in how far the current president faces the same fate or is different as a person and hence may fare otherwise.
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