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Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:19 PM

Sincere question for those who were around re: Carter being primaried by Kennedy

Was Carter primaried because he was felt by the part of the party to his left to not be liberal enough?

Or was it more a sense that, due to reasons having nothing to do with whether he had the proper ideological alignment, he was a politically failed president (weak economy, country feeling impotent over Iran hostages and OPEC etc.) who was going to lose big, and you had a major figure who always had presidential ambitions in Teddy Kennedy who saw Carter's vulnerability to a big defeat as justification enough to make a try at realizing his own ambitions?

I honestly thought it was more the latter than the former, but I was pretty young then and not too informed. Any enlightenment appreciated.

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Sincere question for those who were around re: Carter being primaried by Kennedy (Original post)
Mayberry Machiavelli Jul 2012 OP
WI_DEM Jul 2012 #1
Mayberry Machiavelli Jul 2012 #3
Ken Burch Jul 2012 #13
hedgehog Jul 2012 #2
Ken Burch Jul 2012 #14
hedgehog Jul 2012 #22
marlakay Jul 2012 #4
elleng Jul 2012 #6
madokie Jul 2012 #5
jberryhill Jul 2012 #19
DrewFlorida Jul 2012 #7
rgbecker Jul 2012 #8
Warpy Jul 2012 #9
dsc Jul 2012 #10
xchrom Jul 2012 #11
Poll_Blind Jul 2012 #12
Tsiyu Jul 2012 #15
Autumn Jul 2012 #16
TreasonousBastard Jul 2012 #17
MarianJack Jul 2012 #18
CTyankee Jul 2012 #21
rug Jul 2012 #20

Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:23 PM

1. yes, Teddy didn't think Carter was true to democratic principals especially on economic questions.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:24 PM

3. Can you give any specific examples? Do you think that was really the reason, or that it was largely

cover for Teddy seeing an opening?

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:44 PM

13. Probably the sorest point was Carter's insistence on putting low inflation BEFORE full employment

 

as his chief economic priority. We'd just ended eight years of Republican control of the White House and the feeling was that putting low inflation before full employment was a betrayal of working-class and unemployed voters.

I cast my first vote in a presidential primary for Teddy in 1980(it was Oregon, and Teddy's chances for getting nominated were already gone, but I wanted to honor the guy for taking the risks...ALL the risks, given what tended to happen to people in his family who sought the presidency), but, in hindsight, I don't really think Teddy wanted to run. I think he felt obligated to the liberal and left activists who created the "Draft Teddy" movement, but that he realized

a)Carter could probably make sure to get renominated no matter what;
b)his life would be in serious danger if he actually got close to winning the presidency and, if nothing else, he couldn't put Rose, his mother, through the agony of burying her last son.

So Teddy ran, but there was always something weirdly half-hearted in the way his campaign was run. This was a guy who, whatever else you could say about him, KNEW how to win an election, and yet, somehow, he let this slip away.

My conclusion is that, after 1970, Teddy never really wanted to become president anymore.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:24 PM

2. I thought Carter had sold out to the blue Dogs.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:46 PM

14. The "Blue Dogs" didn't exist as such, yet.

 

Carter always identified with the moderate-to-conservative wing of the party(even though the platform he was nominated on in '76 contained a commitment to national health insurance and, on many issues, wasn't radically different than McGovern's platform). Carter was also the LAST Democratic presidential nominee who openly opposed abortion.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #14)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:34 AM

22. I was looking for a short hand term to convey my meaning.

My alternative term would have been DLC, but I'm pretty sure they weren't around then. I really think Mondale was the leader, more or less, of a group of Democrats who gave up on the New Deal about that time. Jimmy Carter's heart was in the right place, but he was out-maneuvered and manipulated by people who didn't have faith in the principles of the Democratic Party.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:26 PM

4. He was liberal enough

and yes he was sweet and religious but after Nixon we all wanted that…

But he tried so hard to set things right against the oil companies and set us on the path to being as oil free as we could be. If he had won that we wouldn't have the gas crunch now, we would all be using electric cars, solar panels and wind machines. I voted for him in that primary.

Ted didn't help, he tore the party apart and it helped weaken Carter even more.

If it wasn't for Ted's later years I would still be mad at him…the environment is one of my top priorities.

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Response to marlakay (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:37 PM

6. Yes.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:28 PM

5. Rest his soul but I put the blame squarely on Sen. Kennedy's shoulders

His ambitions were what led him in my eyes more than anything. Carter had the same problem that all democratic Presidents have had since the fall of nixon. The puke party won't work with them for the good of the country, rather they do all they can to keep the Democratic Presidents from accomplishing anything they can do. I seen Ted in the wrong when he tried to take the reigns from President Carter.
Thats my story and I'm not going to argue the point with anyone on this. I lived this and was paying attention 100% at the time

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Response to madokie (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 11:39 PM

19. +1

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:41 PM

7. It was a combination of factors!

At that time The Kennedy name was revered and supporters for years had expected and wanted Ted to run, they still missed John F. Kennedy and looked at Ted as a return to the ideals John embodied. Add to that a changing economy which Carter did not deal with effectively, long gas lines, a failed rescue of kidnapped political prisoners in Iran. Jimmy Carter was viewed as weak or not up to the job, I disagree with that characterization of Jimmy Carter, as he was very honest and did not play the political games which were seen at the time as "the way the game should be played".

I believe Carter was seen as politically weak, and Kennedy was seen as politically strong.

That's my view of it.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:52 PM

8. Slightly off your exact question....

 

I remember very clearly Ted Kennedy going to one event after another...shouting everything he said like he was hysterical. I very much thought Carter was the better candidate and after one debate with Reagan where he was clearly the winner in my mind, the TV commentators said Reagan had won and I almost died of disbelief. That election was basically the end of the world as it was going to be if the 60's movement had been able to continue. America, still trying to recover.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:03 PM

9. Carter was nominated in part to counter Nixon's southern strategy

because the feeling was that the south would vote for one of their own, a somewhat right of center Democrat, rather than another sleaze like Nixon. Unfortunately, it was within 10 years of Kennedy's own scandal, the accident at Chappaquiddick.

Don't forget also that Carter was portrayed as a total outsider and was largely a choirboy when it came to politics, untarnished by the scandals that had rocked Washington before Nixon finally resigned. He was the nominee because he represented deodorant after the incredibly corrupt Nixonians.

Since he was a total outsider, no one would work with him. He still managed to get some incredible things done, creating the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to break OPECs stranglehold among them.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:03 PM

10. carter had horrible relations with Congress

and wasn't very liberal on economic issues. He deregulated the airlines and the phone companies, he also believed in zero based budgeting which would have lead to defacto cuts in some social programs.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:06 PM

11. Combination of bad times in the country & bad timing

On ted's part.

It was at that time the repukes so successfully branded the dems as losers w/ loser ideas - & dems never staged a good enough offense to combat that.

We still held onto some strengths - enough to keep the house - but we were slipping.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:27 PM

12. I think points could be argued either way but, IMO, I think Kennedy smelled blood and...

...went for it. Kennedy, the same man who tied with Cesar Chavez for presidential nomination in 1976 (they each got one vote), started a feud with Carter which helped sink his presidency- including backing out of health care reform under Carter.

Again, points could be argued either way but Kennedy actually trying to primary him...I think that was pure entitlement. Pure Kennedy entitlement. If you don't know the story of Joseph P Kennedy and the history of political ambition in the Kennedy family- and what role the death of Joseph Jr. played in the political careers of the Kennedy brothers- I highly recommend you do so. The Kennedys were far more influential than the Bush Family Evil Empire, they were just the empire on our side. But back to Kennedy. For all the vitriol he unloaded on Carter, he only came away with less than 35% of the vote. To me, that's always been the most telling thing (along with his political obstructionism of Carter during his presidency).

He hadn't "misjudged" the situation, he'd tried to hijack the situation. Much like Clinton's antics during the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries. If he couldn't win, he was willing to help take Carter down for Reagan.



It's one thing, it really is, for a party to seek to throw up another candidate when the incumbent is flailing. I think this move by Kennedy was arguably not an example of that.

Just my 2 cents. I was all of 8 at the time, but I think much more information has come out over the last few decades which gives valuable perspective on the situation.

PB

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Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:51 PM

15. At the time I was angry with Kennedy



but I think part of the issue was that the Dems had a bad feeling they would not hold on to the White House and this was an effort to salvage the party.

The economy was turning around at that point, but was pretty bleak and had been for a while, so people were easily swayed to "try the Republicans." Reagan ran on an anti-government/ anti-tax platform, accusing Democrats of being soft on crime and hard on business. The Dems needed a powerful attack but instead they split out of panic.

And life in America has pretty much sucked ever since.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:52 PM

16. I seem to remember it that way also. I never liked Kennedy after that

I have always blamed him for Reagan.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:57 PM

17. Beat me to it...

Carter did show some weakness, and Kennedy instinctively jumped. I don't remember if I voted in that primary, but I was, along with a lot of others, shocked that Kennedy would divide the party and set Carter up for a loss over what you rightfully call "entitlement".

There were no policies in play that required a primary to sort out-- Kennedy could have easily waited 4 years, even eight, for his turn but he wouldn't wait. He gambled that he could take the nomination. He didn't just lose his own chances, but he did serious damage to the party that was just barely healing under Carter (after LBJ threw out the yellow dog segregationists)

A shit move based on ego and privilege.

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 11:02 PM

18. In 1980 I was 25 and not too bright.

I was an ardent Kennedy 80 Democrat and I was furious at Jimmy Carter. I don't even remember all of the reasons today but I was. After Carter won, I cast a very stupid vote for reagan just to thumb my nose at Jimmy Carter. I thought that there was NO possibility that reagan would serve more than 1 term and that we'd get another Democratic president in 1984.

As I said, I was 25 and not too bright. What I did learn from this experience is that party division is an absolute killer. I haven't done something so politically stupid since. I DAMN SURE AS HELL won't do anything so freakin' stupid again. I damn sure as hell will never contribute to a divided party EVER again!

My horrid experience is one of the reasons I was so damn pissed off when there were people here calling for a primary challenge to President Obama.

PEACE!

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Response to MarianJack (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 02:20 AM

21. That sounds a lot like me. I was "not too bright" and eventually voted for 3rd party independent

John Anderson. What a stiff he was (I met him a few years later and he was a cold fish). I thought Carter wasn't liberal enough. Some liberals were suspicious of his "born again" religion.

I knew nothing of his environmental policies, altho his "moral equivalent of war" was pretty famous. I wish I had had more information, now that I look back on the situation.

Teddy was misbehaving during that time, as we found out later. He was a terrible womanizer and Joan was drunk on her ass half the time.

I also thought the people around Carter were arrogant and self serving. I particularly hated Jody Powell.

It was hard to like Carter. He wasn't very likeable...

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Response to Mayberry Machiavelli (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 11:44 PM

20. I always thought he didn't want to wait until 1984 so he could stay in the Senate if he lost.

 

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