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Change You Can Believe In

George W. Bush's approval rating is higher than Obama's.

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Discussions - 12 Comments

Of course, this same article explains that all Presidents see a retrospective boost and that Big Man Dub-ya is one of only two ex-President with a disapproval rating of over 50% (the other being Nixon).

How high do you think Obama's approval rating will sky-rocket after he's finished?

Matt, that depends on who succeeds him, dunnit? Did the people long for Carter in the Reagan era? It may be; my memory is not that good that I can remember, if so. Yet, I am pretty sure that we were not longing for Nixon when Ford was president. Not that we loved Ford.

Sure, Kate. But Justin's trying to use this as an indication of some "change [this conservative audience] can believe in" and that's just not true. People like Carter more than they like W.

What is this supposed to prove?

Point taken, but by the same token most people have their own memories of the Bush years while the same cannot be said of Carter. "Retrospective" means something different when one is asked to look back on the past decade on the one hand and to look back 30 odd years on the other. Usually the "retrospective boost" does not happen so quickly, and in this case the comparison of Bush v Obama has some substantive meaning when the one man succeeds the other and both men are accused of malfeasance with regard to the same thing. It means that people are blaming Bush for the current crisis less than Obama.

Or maybe it proves everything. It vindicates Henry the VI...

"How many thousand of my poorest subjects, are at this hour asleep? Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!"

My fictional research (to save taxpayer money and cut the deficit) reveals that more americans approve of Henry the IV than approve of Bush or Obama combined.

In fact Henry the IVth has a higher approval raiting than the english proffesors who assign him. He is most popular among those poor subjects who quote him on facebook to avoid reading him.

I still maintain that if you want to believe in change you could do a lot worse than stock up on pennies and even nickles. Ironically the penny(known as a copper) is made of Zinc(97.5%), with only a touch of copper(2.5%), while the Nickel is made mainly of copper(75%) with a little Nickel(25%).

It is illegal...but you could do fairly well storing value by changing your hard currency to Nickels and Pennies. This isn't illegal in itself...but in order to cash in at a profit you would need to melt these down and there are transactions costs and economies of scale problems.

Plus, I am not making this up...:) Obama has finally caught unto my devil scheme...and decided to change our change.

I don't know if Obama has considered the externalities carrying heavier change will cause. but copper plated steel for the penny and nickel plated steel for the nickel will be much heavier in bulk and result in the formation of holes in the pockets of my Levi's...these holes will grow larger and larger and eventually someone will lose a wallet.

In fact while Obama has done nothing but cut taxes (this is because he has Keyenesian good sense, and the jobs picture is weak) I can still find grounds for saying that his 2011 budget (and the change in change) will result in lost wallets.

Leave it to Obama to change the only change I can believe in. (and here I was reading something into his pardon that woud have encouraged my mad scheme.)

Of course making our coins as worthless as possible increases seignorage, which goes back to the treasury and helps fight the budget deficit by literally pinching penny's.

The Austrians of 2200 will look back on these days when they call for the return of the copper standard.

Speaking of believing in change the last few fast food joints I went to have been completly agnostic. That's 4.82....I hand them a 5. They hand me a receipt and take the next order!

The Audacity of hopeing I wouldn't notice!

How high do you think Obama's approval rating will sky-rocket after he's finished?

Rather depends on the condition of the Republic when he is done with it.

It does occur to me that the nadir of G.W. Bush's approval ratings were just a shade higher than those for Messrs. Carter, Truman, and Nixon. Considerable improvement in just two years...

Since nearly half of the voting public is too young to have the slightest memory of Richard Nixon as President and over 70% are too young to have ever cast a ballot for him, I would say his retrospective approval rating is a qualitatively different thing than that for G.W. Bush.

Did the people long for Carter in the Reagan era?

Not at all. Mr. Carter was sui generis. You might say he had been prior to 1977 characteristic of a certain strain of Southern politician but that was erased during this time in office and he ended up in his persona a pastiche of incongruous elements. Meg Greenfield described various politicos of the era in terms of familiar types ("...Reagan is dad...[Gary] Hart is your kid brother...Carter['s] problem was he didn't remind anybody of anyone they knew.") In the end, he had no rapport with any abiding strand within the Democratic Party and was regarded dismissively by much of the Democratic congressional caucus (in fairness, a lousy bunch). Republicans have never been able to produce an intelligent critique of his Administration, and just refer to him as an icon of incompetence.

I suppose that is one way of looking at it. No, he was certainly not popular after defeat, even with most Democrats. He seemed mostly unregretted, even among those who disliked Reagan. I think he might have been forgiven his superciliousness and self-righteousness if he had been competent. If he had actually had been as good as he seemed to think he was (is!) he would have had that in his favor and we would have been asking what on earth we would do without him. He was not nearly all that. Also, since he billed himself as being in charge of everything, every little detail, (even when we knew it couldn't be true) that promised omnipotence and omnicompetence made his failings seem vast and spreading and some a little dreadful in their pettiness.

Then Reagan showed him convincingly wrong on the big stuff, too. Do you think he really was competent? Maybe he just wasn't as good as he said he would be and that killed our perception of him as any good at all.

Here we go again?

"Republicans have never been able to produce an intelligent critique of his Administration, and just refer to him as an icon of incompetence."

Is it actually a pressing matter that they do furnish one?

He has been out of office for nearly thirty years, so, no. I think it would benefit the Republicans to have a clear and true sense of what went wrong (and what went right) with the Carter Administration. Learning from experience, and so forth. As far as I can see, no one other than academic specialists and the Administrations veterans (e.g. Lloyd Cutler) has seemed at all interested.

I think he might have been forgiven his superciliousness and self-righteousness if he had been competent.

He is an irritatingly sanctimonious man. Supercilious he is not. Lewis Lapham is supercilious. Jon Meacham is supercilious. Neither could get elected village clerk, much less Governor of Georgia.

He made some bad policy choices. The thing is, the culture of the Democratic congressional caucus, of the press corps, of the allied policy wonkers, and of elements of the public at large put a considerable headwind in front of him as to following better policies (most particularly with regard to monetary control). He had considerable administrative experience and he was concerned (as was Truman and Nixon, not the others) with improving the organization of the federal government. He was also the only one concerned with the recruitment and discipline of the civil service, though the unions and Congress completely ruined his initiatives in this matter.

The one thing he was incompetent at was in persuading Congress. To some extent it was surprise and inexperience and a deficit of people skills. However, we shouldn't take it as a given that Congress should demonstrate tremendous inertia with regard to all tasks other than payoffs to favored constituencies. Congress just stinks, and that is not the fault of any man who has sat in the Oval Office over the last fifty years.

. Also, since he billed himself as being in charge of everything, every little detail, (even when we knew it couldn't be true)

I think you have confounded the complaints about him (offered by James Fallows, among others) with his claims for himself. The rap on Mr. Carter was that he got bogged down in minutiae; I think you would have a hard time finding an example of him saying that about himself.


Then Reagan showed him convincingly wrong on the big stuff, too.

I think the Reagan Administration, and the Federal Reserve in particular, showed that it was possible to stabilize prices and possible on a time scale far more compressed than James Tobin and other mavens in the Democratic Party were claiming prior to 1981. He also showed that the international oil cartel was not a permanent feature but ultimately fragile like other commodity cartels erected in the 1970s. He also showed that the Occident did not have to settle for mere containment of Soviet Russia. With regard to the first two demonstrations, Mr. Reagan's policies were not fundamentally discontinuous with those favored by Mr. Carter's officials, though they were radically at a variance with modal opinion in the Democratic Party. The were not discontinuous, but he was a great deal more steadfast in pursuing them. With regard to the latter, few people in either party would have thought it more than a distant aspiration as late as 1987.

Oh, I see him as supercilious, though your "sanctimonious" applies, as well. He exudes contempt for anyone who disagrees with him or does not see the world as he does. Priggish, too -- how about priggish?

I have not read all that much about Carter. I was writing from memory and experience through the newspapers and TV, which I watched then. I voted for him, finding Ford fatuous, and regretted it almost immediately. I was a new Christian, wanted to be a conservative, and I thought I was going to like Carter. Like Obama, he had campaigned as if more conservative than he was. Maybe if I studied him as a piece of history I would see him differently.

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