McCain trying to link Carter to Obama

Jimmy Carter has been among the country's most active retired presidents, but even the peripatetic Georgian might not have anticipated having his name bandied about in a presidential campaign 28 years after leaving the White House.

Sen. John McCain, who will carry the Republican presidential flag in this fall's campaign, has repeatedly invoked the former president's name on the campaign trail, and with it the less-than-stellar memories of his White House years. Some high-profile allies, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, have done so as well.

The goal: linking Barack Obama to Carter, another Democratic newcomer elected on the promise of hope and change but whose presidency was marred by economic turmoil, high energy costs and a foreign policy widely derided as weak.

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Pat Davison - 7/2/2008

Carter inherited the economic mess from the Nixon & Ford administrations. Carter inherited the nightmare in Iran due to U.S. policy of backing the Shah of Iran. Under Nixon we had the first oil embargo of 1973, so when Carter was elected he launched numerous programs to get us independent of foreign oil.
For example, back in 1980, Congress passed the Energy Security Act, which led to the creation of something called the Synthetic Fuels Corp. (SFC). Lawmakers provided SFC with up to $88 billion in loans and incentives to get started (the equivalent of about $230 billion in today's dollars) with the goal of creating two million barrels a day of synthetic oil within seven years.

So why aren't you putting SFC oil into your SUV right now? Well, it turns out that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries didn't appreciate the competition so they started bringing down the price of oil. From 1980, when SFC launched, to 1986, when it was shut down by Reagan, oil went from more than $39 a barrel to less than $8 a barrel. Suddenly, synthetic oil didn't seem so important anymore.

In announcing the SFC's closure, then-Energy Secretary John Herrington said that oil prices had simply dropped too low to make it a viable business.

But the good news is that those economics don't work anymore. The state of Montana, which is leading the synthetic fuel charge, says we can now make it for somewhere around $65 a barrel. That's more than a 50 percent discount from what it costs to buy the real stuff.
Perhaps if we had taken the warnings of Carter more seriously, we would not be in the mess that oil men Reagan, Bush and Bush have gotten us in to.

Michael Davis - 7/2/2008

Amen, brother. With some of Obamer's ideas, I think he just might turn out to be Carter II.
God help us.

John Olerud - 7/1/2008

Is linking Carter to Obama any different that Obama's attempts to link McCain to President Bush?

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