It's true that Obama faces a far more difficult environment in 2009 than Carter faced in 1977. And it's undeniable that there are certain similarities the two share. Both had little experience on the national scene before taking office (though Carter did have executive experience as governor whereas Obama had none). And both were elected on the promise of bringing a new approach to Washington politics that many found refreshing.
Where they differ the most in their early days is how each tried to fulfill that fresh promise. On the whole, Carter sought to stick with it — and got clobbered by the Washington insiders in turn. In contrast, Obama's promise of a new bi-partisan Washington evaporated almost as soon as he saw that he didn't need Republicans to pass key legislation.
Yes, both made some missteps in their first few months. But the truth is a president could do a lot worse than Jimmy Carter in his first 100 days. In fact, Obama already has.
To read the "Stark Ravings" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/blogs/starkravings. Steven Stark can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
: Stark Ravings
, Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Politics, More