Carter was a better and more moderate president than people assume or remember. In retrospect, his promotion of conservation and alternative energy seem particularly prescient.

He made flying cheaper by deregulating the airlines.

Carter expressed his principled opposition to abortion not with divisive rhetoric or obstructionism, but by starting the WIC program to provide nutritional education and assistance to pregnant women and young children.

He facilitated an enduring peace deal between Egypt and Israel. Carter convinced the Senate to repudiate the imperialist acquisition of the Panama Canal and restore control of the waterway to Panama.

Ultimately, none of the above mattered much. He inherited a weak economy and failed to improve it much during his term (though his appointee Paul Volcker’s policies at the Fed eventually helped the economy recover under Reagan). Carter’s efforts to end the hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan fell short.

His moderation enraged liberals and conservatives in almost equal measure. In 1980, he had to defeat a primary challenge from Sen. Ted Kennedy to earn the privilege of losing to Ronald Reagan.

On race, Obama remained nuanced and tactful. If race relations deteriorated on his watch, I would suspect the increasing racism of some of his detractors, plus backlash against Black Lives Matter.

The “greatest escalation of terror attacks on American soil ever seen” would have been 9/11 under George W. Bush… or white supremacist terrorism against blacks in the 19th & 20th centuries, massacres of Indians by settlers & US armed forces in the 1800s, Japanese depredations in the Philippines during World War II, US Army decimation of civilians during the Philippine Insurrection, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, etc. All more significant than the few terror attacks under Obama.

I lived near the Mexican border in southern Arizona from 2001–09 & 2011–14, and witnessed firsthand the continuous escalation of border security. Dubya grew the Border Patrol budget from $1.1 billion to $2.7 billion; Obama boosted that to $3.8 billion by 2015. Shrub doubled manpower on the southern border from 9,000 to 18,000 agents — a staffing level Obama maintained. Bush deported 2 million in 8 years; Obama deported 2.5 million in his first seven years. Undocumented entries fell more under Obama than Bush…

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History, politics, education, music, culture. Award-winning high school teacher, former principal. College instructor. Seahawks Diehard. Twitter: @brian_mrbmkz

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