Republicans have taken to linking Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama any chance they get.
At the Republican convention last week, I listened to a national security panel with top Romney advisors where just about everyone talked about the "peace through strength" doctrine pursued by every US president from Truman on -- except Carter and Obama. Economic policies got the same treatment.
Carter is not a president remembered too fondly by history, a one-termer who presided over the ugly term of "stagflation" and then was seen as weak on Iran as the Islamic revolutionaries held Americans hostage for more than a year. Moreover, Republicans see a chance to paint Obama with similar strokes to those used to delineate Carter: an allegedly weak, idealistic, naive, failed leader who should not be given a second chance.
The fact that Carter is exceedingly unpopular with most of the pro-Israel crowd is not the main motivation for the linkage, but still a bonus. And Tuesday at the Democratic convention provided an uncomfortable moment for Democratic Israel backers when a tribute video was played in Carter''s honor.
The video showed Carter talking mostly in generalities about being in the White House and the job Obama''s doing. He talked about the "unpopular" choice a president must make and he praised Obama for restoring "trust and goodwill to our foreign policy." He was politely but not rapturously received by the audience.
The Carter video was followed a few speakers later by Robert Wexler, a former Florida Congressman who now serves as president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, who gave a full-throated defense of Obama''s policies toward Israel and his strong support of the Jewish state.
Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks suggested to me that that "was not a coincidence."
- Hilary Leila Krieger