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"There He Goes Again." Reagan said. Well, Today, I Sure Wish I Could Say "There He Went Again"

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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 04:38 PM
Original message
"There He Goes Again." Reagan said. Well, Today, I Sure Wish I Could Say "There He Went Again"
In the 1980 televised campaign debate, Ronald Reagan, a former movie star delivered his well-rehearsed and scripted mocking of President Jimmy Carter's wonkishness with his now famous line "Now, there you go again." And, oh how that quip was repeated over and again, almost taking on a mythic moment in American politics.

Well, observing the status quo here in America in 2010, I sadly tell you how much I wish that if only, if only President Carter could have had a second term to "go again". What a different world this would be.

Today's Los Angeles Times' Sunday Editorial provides another late-in-coming and long overdue acknowledgment of President Jimmy Carter's prescience with regards to our nation's energy crisis. I am heartened that little by little, here a little and there a little, that history is having a fresh, second look at this truly decent man, at his foresight, and at the consequences we now face today for losing him as our national leader in 1980 to Ronald Reagan.

I know something deep within me: Jimmy Carter didn't lose in 1980. America lost in 1980. The world lost in 1980. And we can't turn back time. But how today I wish I could say, "There he went again." But I can not.

How different our nation would be today had this man had a second term, and how different the world would be today. But that was not to be.

On July 15, 1979, President Carter took to the television and told the American People the following: "What I have to say to you now about energy is simple and vitally important." His speech was then roundly ridiculed in the American media and, sadly, yes by the majority of Americans. But Carter starkly had told us that the energy policies of the United States were "a clear and present danger to our nation." But Carter didn't just warn Americans, he also put forth bold, positive objectives for the nation. He pointed to an obtainable future for our country free from the toxic chains of oil and an early plan to get there.

Carter's speech was roundly lampooned and parodied. And of course, his words and proposals inflamed the oil industry wrath toward him. He dared take on their privilege, power and purse. And they made sure they would destroy him.

Looking back to the time of Carter's bold, wise and yes, patriotic speech is is very painful. Painful? Why? Here's why:

In order to "look back" to 1979, one must look back through the lens of the march of time that followed his speech, and that followed his exit from the White House.

Looking back to 1979, one must reel back through our American Family Album:

Any "looking back" begins right now, in 2010, with the catastrophic BP "spill" in the Gulf of Mexico and its still undetermined long-term toll to the fragile environment of our Southern shoreline.

Looking back must be through the lens of the three unnecessary foreign wars that cost the lives of millions of innocent women, men and children, that cost thousands upon thousands of live of American soldiers, that saddled Americans with trillions of dollars of debt, that cost America its reputation in the world, and more.

To look back to Carter's speech in 1979, one must also reflect on the horrific events on September 11, 2001 in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. And the consequences of 9/11? The Patriot Act, the Homeland Defense Department, the trashing of FISA, the spying on Americans, Guantnamo, Abu Ghraib. The list goes on and on at what we've lost and what price we have paid.

President Carter's tough talk to the American People on July 15, 1979 was more than a prophetic warning, but more importantly, it also pointed us toward tangible solutions, even way back then when renewable energy was still in infancy stage, when the notion of "conservation" of energy was considered by the majority of our people silly. Silly? Yep. Thirty-two years later, and just 4 months prior to the attacks of September 11th, Dick Cheney (an oil man who was Vice President to another oil man, President George W. Bush) condescendingly commented: "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." Jimmy Carter's courageous words and actions were still considered silly. You know, silly as putting on a sweater.

But President Carter saw the national security element and warned us all: "We can't go on consuming 40 percent more energy than we produce. When we import oil we are also importing inflation plus unemployment...In little more than two decades we've gone from a position of energy independence to one in which almost half the oil we use comes from foreign countries, at prices that are going through the roof. Our excessive dependence on OPEC has already taken a tremendous toll on our economy and our people...the energy crisis is real. It is worldwide."

But he also told us back then "...We ourselves are the same Americans who just ten years ago put a man on the Moon. We are the generation that dedicated our society to the pursuit of human rights and equality. And we are the generation that will win the war on the energy problem and in that process rebuild the unity and confidence of America....We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose."

Americans chose the wrong path.

I only wish that I could say these words about President Jimmy Carter today: "There he went again." But I can't.

--------
Below are some excerpts from the Los Angeles Times Sunday Editorial today:

For as clear a sign as you could want of the nation's haphazard approach to energy policy, look no further than the roof of the White House. In 1979, solar panels blossomed there, installed by President Carter to symbolize his commitment to weaning the country off oil. Seven years later, President Reagan took them down; at the time, a White House spokesman said the panels were in the way of a repair job, but few missed the symbolic significance of the move. President George H.W. Bush later put up a smaller array to heat the White House pool. That was it for presidential photovoltaics until this week, when a pair of senior Obama administration officials announced that new panels would go up to heat water and provide some electricity at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Many of Carter's remarks about energy seem prescient today, when global demand for oil is again outstripping supply (a problem temporarily eased but not solved by the economic crisis), the nation's reliance on oil is creating foreign policy nightmares, and we face a climate threat caused by the burning of fossil fuels whose urgency is becoming increasingly clear.

Carter, who created the Department of Energy (which Reagan tried to eliminate), approved generous tax credits for home installation of solar panels, backed groundbreaking energy-efficiency standards for appliances and buildings, encouraged tighter automotive fuel efficiency standards and called for generous federal funding of research into clean-energy alternatives. Much of this was approved by Congress but was almost entirely undone under Reagan, with disastrous consequences.

A booming solar power industry collapsed by the mid-1980s, killed in part by lower prices for electricity that made solar less competitive, but mostly by the elimination of Carter's tax credit. California is trying to jump-start the solar industry again by imposing carbon limits and setting a renewable power standard, none of which would be necessary if the business hadn't been strangled a quarter-century ago. Similarly, had Carter's research initiatives not been defunded by Reagan, it's likely that by now they would have resulted in technological innovations to reduce the price of renewable power and improve efficiency.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-so...

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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&R. He may not still be president
But he is still out there, still speaking out, writing, ensuring fair elections (in other countries :eyes:), building houses for the homeless and, now that we no longer have a partisan Republican administration, taking part in world affairs, like his recent humanitarian mission to North Korea. He still is making a difference. :patriot:
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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. He is still making a difference.
But what we lost when he lost. Thank you for your kind words about President Carter. What fools we were collectively as a nation in 1980. Thanks. :)
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Thank you for your wonderful tribute.
Obviously, I agree with you. If you hadn't noticed, check out my avatar, LOL. Jimmy Carter has long been one of my heroes, and never more so than today. And don't blame me, since he had my vote. *sigh* :patriot: :hi:
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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Your avatar is swell.
One day, Jimmy Carter will have his deserved recognition. I voted for him as well.
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I've always felt that way, too...
That history will treat President Carter very well. Actually, I think that it's already starting... ;) :hi:
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. We have a habit of choosing the wrong path...
Which we definitely did with Ronald Reagan. And like we did with Bush, Jr also. We pay a heavy price for those "choices".
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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Or as The Daily Mirror Asked Once:
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I remember that!
There are a lot of dumbasses in this country. And the West VA Senate candidate is pissed off that the Repubs were looking for "hickey" looking people for an ad? Should have had no problem finding them?
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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-10 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
9. One final kick for Jimmy Carter, who one day will be recognized for the patriot he was.
I love this guy. Today's LA Times official editorial was a 30 year old, but welcomed praise for this man who has been so wrongly treated by the media and pop history.
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LoveMyCali Donating Member (694 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-10 01:48 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. A kick from me too
since Jimmy Carter is one of my all-time favorite people and the recipient of my first ever vote. I was all set to vote for John Anderson in 1980 until my college roommate convinced me to go hear President Carter speak, she had to for her political science class and I had nothing else to do at the time so I told her I would go if she would buy me some food. lol
I have never been so impressed with a person, his intelligence and integrity came through in his words and when he actually personally called one of the students back because he was unable to answer his question at the time I was sold. I agree with those who say he is too good of a man to make a good politician.
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-10 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Have you seen "Man From Plains" yet?
You know how I already felt about him, but that documentary, and seeing the way that he handled himself in crisis, would have made me an admirer even if I hadn't been one since 1976... :patriot: :hi: :kick:
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LoveMyCali Donating Member (694 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-10 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I haven't
it's on Netflix but I actually forgot I wanted to see it after the last time you mentioned it, I think it's in my queue but I have to send a DVD (which I've already watched and it's just sitting there mocking me) back.

I bought a Nook e-reader this weekend and the first book I downloaded was White House Diaries. I just started reading it but I think I'm going to actually love Jimmy Carter more by the time I've finished it.

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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-12-10 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. You're going to feel the same way after seeing the documentary.
He's just awesome in the face of some pretty tough stuff. In other words, he hasn't changed a bit. ;) :patriot:
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-12-10 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
14. Kick
:kick:
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musette_sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-12-10 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. James Earl Carter,
the most ethical president of the 20th century.

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timtom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-12-10 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
16. I wasn't able to recommend this, because too much time
had elapsed. But I WOULD'VE!

Carter - a kind and wise man who was roundly vilified by those who were nowhere near his equal. Done in by cheap tricks and evil machinations.

God!! I hate repugs!
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