The muse of malaise

In her review of Steve Hayward’s The Real Jimmy Carter Noemie Emery takes a withering look at the Carter presidency and post-presidency. Few will defend Carter’s harrowing stewardship of this nation, but the conventional wisdom is that he has since redeemed himself as a great humanitarian and man of peace. As Emery explains, however, Hayward’s book rips this conceit to shreds by showing “that in his current carnation Carter is as wrongheaded and hapless as ever, that he has learned nothing at all from his-tory, and, in his new guise as a globe-trotting statesman, is reprising his role as a bringer of chaos, this time on the stage of the world.”
So what, once we rule out his claim to a glorious post-presidency, is Carter’s real legacy. Here’s Emery’s verdict:
“The end of the Democrats as the national majority begins with Carter–as does the end of liberalism as the national creed. A lot has been written about the maturation of the conservative movement from Goldwater to the present day, but this of course is only one half of the story. It was not enough for the Republicans to become more poised and accessible. The Democrats had to collapse, freeing millions of voters to look at an alternative. No one symbolized this collapse more than did Jimmy Carter, victim of rabbits and America’s muse of malaise.”

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