Substituting Obama for Carter


Recently, I was reading a compilation of Ayn Rand’s responses to questions submitted after she made various presentations.  As I read the following response from a 1976 lecture, I was struck by the similarities between Jimmy Carter’s presidential victory and Obama’s administration (Mayhew, 2005, p.70).  It is rather darkly amusing to re-read Rand’s response while substituting the word “Obama” for “Carter”:

As for Carter’s victory:  The next four years will probably be hell, and I dread to think in what form.  I’ve heard people say. “I’m glad to be old,” and I join them in feeling it.  I’m glad I won’t have to see too much of the kind of world Carter will make. But you are young enough not to want that unspeakable, cheap, small-town peanut power luster ruling your life. He’s already talking about looking forward to flying in Air Force One.  That’s a man who says he has a vision for rebuilding America.  The contempt for people that he shows something totally new in American politics.  He doesn’t believe people can remember his statements from day-to-day, and so he can lie, sit on every fence, and nobody will notice.  If his party holds him in check, while bowing and treating him like an emperor, they can lead him by the nose. Carter is all touchy, cheap vanity.  He’ the kind of man who will do something out of sheer stubbornness, if he thinks Congress has offended him. But if they flatter him, he’ll probably prevent the country from collapsing.

It’s hard to tell what to look for in Carter’s administration; I don’t think he knows. He’s been on both sides of every key issue.  He’ll probably be most dangerous about spending, for example, the make-work programs.  Rising inflation will result, which I hope we can survive.

Mayhew, Edward, ed. Ayn Rand Answers: the best of her Q&A. Penguin Books, Ltd. London, 2005.  ISBN 978-0-451-21665-6.

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