Two blasts from the past: Green advice from our Leaders

Posted On: Friday - January 21st 2022 9:20PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Environmental Stupidity  Dead/Ex- Presidents

This post topic is not relevant to anything particular going on in the country or anything period. It might have been from commenter Alarmist's discussion about the pushing of supposedly environmentally sound, or Green, investments a while back, I don't know. My thoughts wandered to about 13 years ago and then almost 50 years ago.

President Jimmy Carter all cozy-like and green in his sweater, with the White House thermostat turned down to 65 F:

Remember this guy? He was a real lefty for his time, expanding the Feral Gov't yet again with the Department of Education as payback to the teachers's unions for their getting out the votes, as one example. Were he implementing the same policies on the whole in 2017 though, he'd have been called a Nazi by the left. The Overton Window has been moving left ever since Overton was wee lad suckling on his mother's teet.

Carter wasn't a good leader, and Ronald Reagan would have been much more preferable*. However, it was still a decent and civil era, as was Jimmy a decent and civil man. He was no rabid Commie, as the scum we see today in the White House and its environs. There was a big energy crisis said to be going on in the latter 1970s (say '77), the oil price and supply problems actually being a matter of global politics and the pulling the rug, precious metals, I should say, out from under the US Dollar.

So, President Carter told Americans to turn down their thermostats in the winter. The winter of '77 was a cold one all over the country, and people would have to cut back on the luxury of central heating a bit, you know, for the team. The Green team? I don't think the word was even in use for treehuggers and treehugging back then. Mr. Carter suggested to Americans that they turn down those thermostats and wear sweaters in the house.

President Øb☭ma, a guy who likely never has had any idea how a car runs, lecturing Americans on appropriate tire pressures:

Remember that guy? (All too well, myself) He was a real lefty. The guy was steeped in Communism his whole life. Then it was arranged for him to amazingly get into the Illinois Senate**, then moved on up, better than the Jeffersons ever dreamed of, to a Presidential candidate four year later.

Gasoline prices in the US had been steadily going up from 1999 on, but really hit some highs*** in the summer of 2008 during the election campaign. What was the Øb☭ma solution? Optimize the pressure in your cars' tires. That was a deja vu moment for me.

Both times there was this Democrat President giving advice that would be not only "no duh!" common sense items for most Americans, but actions that Americans might have wanted to take on their own simply based on their budget. Others may not have. The free market works. Price is information. It really wasn't necessary, and both times kind of embarrassing, for Americans to be given simple and obvious advice from the guy who's simply supposed to be Executive of the Administrative Branch of the US Gov't. That's all.

One more comparison is in order here though. Jimmy Carter, with a BS in nucular (well, that's what HE called it) physics and experience in the nuclear Navy, in addition to having to have much common sense to be a farmer, had just slightly more business talking about things slightly technical. Øb☭ma was a good-for-nothing, coddled, Affirmative Action-boosted individual, with not much experience in anything technical. It's likely he never put air in a tire in his life.

To Jimmy Carter, Americans would have just thought of replying "you know, I might just work an extra few hours and keep my family warmer. Thanks, anyway." To Øb☭ma, a reply of "You're an idiot. STFU about the tires," would have been appropriate.

And tonight it's snowing way down South. Turn it up! In Washington, they hate the President, boo, hoo, hoo. Now we all did what we could do...

* That is, if he had first beat out Jerry Ford in the primary election.

** having run against Alan Keyes, who replaced Jack Ryan who had conveniently gotten ousted via some scandal about his wife.

*** I remember hearing about prices over 5 bucks a gallon in California at that time, and that was 2008 bucks. (I'd say that'd be the equivalent of $7 or $8 today.)

Tuesday - January 25th 2022 8:33PM MST
PS: Good points, Mr. Anon, and Mr. Blanc. I will say that the stealth fighter was somewhat smoke & mirrors in those years, as the technology was not there yet. That's why the B-1 was built in the interim. They are still flying today (~ 1/2 of the number built), but those are the B-1Bs, the program started back up at the beginning of the Reagan administration. Increasing research funding for the anti-radar technology was a good thing though, and paid off eventually.

President Carter, I guess as a sop to the real left, never called out the USSR for what it was, while Reagan did. He seemed to have a blind spot or soft spot about Communism, IMO.

I will give credit to Carter too for nominating Paul Volcker as FED chairman, who cranked up interest rates big-time to fight inflation. (Reagan re-nominated Volcker.)
Tuesday - January 25th 2022 8:20PM MST
PS: Yes, great story, Robert. Even at that low level, they don't want to admit the farce that voting can be.

Mr. Smith, thank you for the links. As Mr. Hail wrote, you seem to find anything we need on-line somewhere.

Mr. Hail, Matt Groening had written this "Life in Hell" cartoon with the crude drawings of rabbits and the whole theme being life sucks, I remember. It appeared in some Bay Area alternative newspapers. He was living in Berkeley, CA for a while. He seemed like a hard-core lefty then, at least.

I think Matt Groening got a very lucky break with that Simpsons cartoon (I guess after "Life in Hell") getting picked up - I don't know if it started out as cynical as his other cartoon, but it sure has a brighter view. I guess there was something about Tracy Ullman involved... it's hazy in my memory. I'm guessing the writers did much more for that show than the simple creator of the characters

Great take on the politics in the show. If anyone started a show that took aim at all sides like that now, they'd probably not get far before being cancelled from the TV business.
Adam Smith
Tuesday - January 25th 2022 10:19AM MST
PS: Good afternoon, Robert, Mr. Hail,

That's quite the voter turnout, Robert.
Fun story. Thanks for the tale.

I think you're right, Mr. Hail, in that a show like the Simpsons could only flourish in a certain moment in time.

And thank you for the compliments. I feel like an encore is in order...

Season 4 Episode 19 (“The Front”)
13:34 is where you'll find the clip this time.

Hope you guys have a great day.

Monday - January 24th 2022 8:10PM MST

Adam Smith has done it again!

Always able to find things, as if by magic. I commend your efforts and ability, good sir.

I'm glad to see that my memory of the "Jimmy Carter, History's Greatest Monster" scene in that Simpson episode was accurately conveyed to text here.


more "Simpsons" politics thoughts:

I wonder which of the Simpsons writers put in this anti-Carter reference. Many of whom were a gang of b.1960s friends who knew each other from the Harvard Lampoon student humor magazine.

Longtime producer Al Jean has stated that he disliked Carter intensely, the president during much of his teenage years. Simpson creator Matt Groening, somewhat older and a major D-Team loyalist, stuck up for Carter by saying "Oh, come on. Carter is great; what ex-president has done better as an ex-president than Carter?" (I believe that is what we call a "back-handed compliment.")

Around this era there were multiple other anti-Democrat jokes. Like when the Simpson children wrote episodes of a cartoon secretly and credited them to their grandfather's name. He starts getting checks from the animation company. After this proceeds a few weeks, finally Bart and Lisa ask him: "Aren't you curious why you keep getting checks for doing nothing?" He says: "I figured it was because the Democrats were in power again." I believe 1990s-era Simpsons also often mocked Bill Clinton, and not in an endearing way.

Seldom was there any real browbeating of any anti-traditionalist politics. (The episode "Homer's Phobia" in 1997 was a turning point when Homer has to come to accept a Gay man. It is very tame by today's standards. It presents reasonable talking-points on why men basically instinctually distrust or dislike Gays and their influence, as Homer is primarily worried about the man's influence on son Bart and all the time they spend together.)

The political tenor of Simpson jokes in later years changed a lot, and I doubt if any jokes of the kind above described (the Carter joke; the "I figured because the Democrats are in power again" joke, many more) have been on any episode in 10, 15 years. And I feel certain that if a group of b.1980s Harvard lampoonists were tasked with starting up a Simpsons-like show in the 2010s (vs. b.1960s men creating the show in the 1990s in its classic era), it would never work. I would expand on it but I think the readers of this comment (if any) will get the point.
Monday - January 24th 2022 7:17PM MST

Mr. Smith,
Certainly 'None of the Above' would also be good.

I may have told this tale before, but so what --- My third try at college (late '90s), elections for the Student Council were interesting. Normally the Council does nothing of importance, except approve funding to Student Groups (the Math Group I was in got just enough to order a delivery pizza once a year, the Math faculty chipped in the price of a second pizza). Well, two factors made this year's election fun.

First, the University in its wisdom decided that this was the modern age(!) ('Scott-King's Modern Europe' about sums up my opinion) and the election must be electronic.

Second, the 'Non Serviam' party was formed by some people associated with the Student Paper (not funded by the University) 'Contumacy'. You can guess their platform.

So, in a normal election, maybe 3% would vote in a good year. Among a half dozen parties. Non Serviam got over 50% of the students votes.

What to do?

Declare election irregularities, and ban Non Serviam from running because they had violated the Campaign Finance rules --- up to, I think, $40.00 could be spent, and they had failed to declare some Sharpies that they already had.
(Sidewalk Chalk was the primary election tool.)

About 1% of the students voted in the re-run, but all was good.
Adam Smith
Monday - January 24th 2022 10:34AM MST
PS: Good morning everyone,

That's a link to season 4 episode 21 of the Simpsons. (“Marge in Chains”)
The scene Mr. Hail refers to begins at 19:09.

Normal temperatures here in this little uninsulated cabin are about 78 in the summer and 72 in the winter. (Currently 70)

Robert, I'd like a “none of the above” ballot option.
If “none of the above” wins, the position stays vacant until the next election.
All “none of the above” seats vote “no” on all proposed legislation for that term.
With enough “none of the aboves” in office the people masquerading as “government” won't be able to harm anyone.

I guess Ross Perot and Ron Paul.(?)

I hope everyone has a great day.

Mr. Anon
Sunday - January 23rd 2022 6:29PM MST

Carter was very much a centrist Democrat; his election was a rebuke to the left-ward trend the party took in 1972 with the nomination of McGovern. Fundamentally his administration was technocratic, which Democrats have tended towards since Wilson.

It must have rankled him that many of the things he did in office were eventually co-opted by the Republicans. He began the military build-up and up-grade that Reagan got sole-credit for. The Carter administration backed the Stealth Fighter, which Reagans people were calling smoke-and-mirrors in the 1980 election.

Carter's (newly created) Department of Energy also went heavily into shale-oil technology - which was roundly criticized by Reagan and the Republican Party. Now that it's called "Fracking" however, the GOP loves it. (And, yes, government sponsored research can actually deliver something useful).

But Carter in his desperation to win re-election re-empowered the leftists in the Democratic Party with the creation of the Department of Education and ultimately (after he was defeated) by surrendering to a legal challenge against the Federal Civil Service Exam (Steve Sailer has written extensively about this).

So, to a conservative he was a big disappointment. Then again, Reagan proved to be a big disappointment too.

The Neocons certainly hate Carter - so he's got that goin' for him.
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 5:07PM MST
PS Old Jimmy was the moderate, Southern, Dem of his time, especially when compared with, say, Teddy Kennedy. But, A) the Iranians decided to show him up, and B) he looked weak, whether he was or not. You could be right that there was something fishy about the 2004 Senate election, but it didn’t seem so to me at the time. It was the Chicago Tribune, which at the time wasn’t the Left-wing rag that it is now, that brought Jack Ryan down. He was divorced from a TV actress—apparently a rather dishy one—and the divorce records were sealed. The Trib thought that the voters should be able to see them, which doesn’t seem unreasonable. A judge agreed. It turned out that Ryan, who was passing himself off as a squeaky clean Irish Catholic was a pervert who had tried to badger his dishy wife into going to sex parties with him. She resisted and dumped his ass. Say goodnight, Jack. Was there a plot to take him down? As I say, I don’t know. But if there was, he certainly walked right into it.
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 4:55PM MST
PS: What I want is the ability to vote AGAINST someone. There have only been two times in the last forty-some years that I could stomach actually voting FOR someone --- you can probably guess the times.

Local elections have never been anywhere near close, so I never had too worry about them.
The Alarmist
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 3:39PM MST

Oddly, I don’t think Former-President Carter even used the word ‘malaise’ once in his ‘Malaise Speech.’

Mr. Carter had the misfortune of being the most middle-of-the-road Democrat in 1976, a year when any Repube would have been toast but also in which the Demons were still licking their wounds from the 1972 and 1968 clown shows.

Normal for us, when we finally got central air, was 76 in the summer and 68 in the winter.
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 9:28AM MST
PS: I agree, Rex. The deregulation of air routes was a good thing.

No, Carter wasn't the cause of most of the problems, but he didn't talk about the root causes or come up with real solutions either. He was nothing if not one of the most honest men in that office since, I don't know ...

For Mr. Hail again. I wonder too how many people get the stuff in shows like The Simpsons. I haven't watched it in years, but the writers really did a great job. I don't remember PC in there, but then maybe they just avoided the issues.
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 9:24AM MST
PS: Mr. Hail, I just can't see that President Carter was NEAR as hated as President Johnson was, by both sides. I was not aware of anything during the latter, but I've read about it, but I do remember the time of Jimmy Carter. I just don't remember that much real hate at all. In general, things seemed to be continually moving leftward since Nixon resigned (Ford was a placeholder). That might have been part of it. Of course, we could only WISH to have that level of leftism seen in the mid/late-1970s!

Here's the gist of how people remember President Carter, IMO: That telling us to conserve rather than how to move forward with respect to energy (remember, this was still a couple of years before the 3 Mile Island failure) is one thing. The ineffectual and disastrous hostage rescue attempt later was another, along with that fact that those 52 hostage were there in Iran through his term - past the election to Reagan's inauguration. The high inflation going on the whole time was another, along with the high interest rates set by FED Chairman Paul Volcker. (The latter hadn't taken effect yet to help with the former.) The Japanese had taken a big chunk of the very important auto market.

Yes, per Rex Little, much of this was circumstances and beyond Mr. Carter's control or even timeframe. However, not all was. Carter did not support the military, and people blamed that failed rescue on that. Another thing that the South didn't like was that Carter was on-board with the continuation of AA and the giving blacks even more taxpayers' money in various ways. Well, lots of the South ...

The gist of it is that people wanted MAGA even back then, still very possible at that time. President Carter in general made it sound like America's time was past. Then Reagan came along with "Morning in America" ads.

Yes, I do remember some people who were voting for John Anderson, BTW. People may have made fun of Jimmy Carter and thought of him as a loser who didn't think enough of America. However, I really don't recall any nasty name-calling and the vitriol that I've read was used against Lyndon Johnson - it didn't help that he had gotten many a young person's friends or family and parents' sons killed or maimed in Vietnam.
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 9:06AM MST
PS: Alarmist, what levels would be typical American? I am not hip to it, which I'll explain in a minute.

The thing in the South is, though that's not your way in the Gunshine State (and I write that with all due respect), is that lots of people have it colder inside their houses and cars in the Summer than they do in the Winter. I HATE so much A/C in the summer, as one can catch sick easier going in and out. Secondly, I like to be somewhat used to the heat, and not running away from it all the time.

Anyway, when things were tight with money about 10 years back, we had it often in the 50's inside in the winter months and one time I noted 48F on the thermostat. The dish soap was gelled up. That was pushing it, but in general we WERE used to 59-62 feeling pretty decent. We've backed off on that, but we are all cool with 80 F inside in the summer. The difference between 81 and 83 seems to be where I have to draw the line.

I grew up in a Conservative family in various ways, but NONE of this had squat-all to do with what Jimmy Carter recommended!

I'd like to have a good wood stove someday - it'll be in a new place, but the fireplace is fun. It'll heat up the one room very well, but the rest of the house gets cold air from outside - mass-in = mass-out.

I demonstrated to my boy that the fire heats us by radiation as opposed to convection by telling him to put his palm first parallel to the fireplace (about 2 feet) away and then perpendicular to it. If he's not careful around the house, he may just learn something.
Rex Little
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 7:24AM MST
Credit where due: Carter deregulated air travel, and began the process which ended with the abolishment of the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1985.

Blame where due: the fuel shortage (which also featured empty pumps at some gas stations and long lines at the rest) stemmed from Nixon's price controls.
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 6:47AM MST

note: On the Iran hostages

The trend toward Carter unpopularity and "Malaise Forever"-ism predates the Iran hostages (Nov 1979 to Jan 1981); the "national malaise" speech being July 1979, the thermostat scolding being from 1977 and a "Thermostat Control Program" seeming to have been in effect from July 1979 (?), to continue following the thread of that little example (the program was abolished by the Reagan people in early 1981).

The Carter Thermostat Mandate or talk thereof predates the Iran hostages and even the major anti-Shah protests (1978).

I don't think the Thermostat Mandate necessarily would be so off-putting, except in terms of feeling talked-down-to by The Government; all those of mid-age or older alive in 1977 remembered much stricter controls and problems of various kinds in the 1930s-40s era than a Thermostat Mandate.

What caused Carter to be so unpopular?
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 6:28AM MST

One thing any US politics follower knows is that Carter became deeply unpopular. I've seen the anger almost more from people of the Left than of the Right. It's kind of a strange phenomenon. (This applies to the presidency period, not the post-presidency in which they love him for humanitarianism.)

To be honest, the reasons have always seemed a little thin to me.

It can't have been the thermostat problem itself, or any single thing like that on its own terms. A folk-legend has it that he also heard he wanted to convert the US to metric and rednecks kept shooting at the new Carter Metric Signs and so they had to drop the plan, which also seems too cute to be true. (Come to think of it, why hasn't the Harris-Biden admin pushed this one?).

It might well have been the "tone" set by thermostats, conversion to metric, and more; the straw heaped onto the camel's back. Quantifying "tone" is hard. Hence the mystery (to me) of Carter's seeming broad-based unpopularity with Left, Right, Center, and Unengaged. He was SO unpopular that even on the Left that a left-wing challenger ran in the general election and siphoned off lots of votes. John B Anderson.
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 6:23AM MST

There was a Simpsons joke in an episode that first aired about 1993 (+/-) about Carter. The town was cutting back on its budget and had to downgrade a statue of Lincoln or somebody. They revealed the downgrade by lifting a veil over the new statue. It was a statue of Jimmy Carter. The statue is of him looking into distance with a wide grin, and at the bottom engraved in large letters: "MALAISE FOREVER." People immediately get angry, someone says "He's history's greatest monster!" and some begin looting and rioting.

The political reference in that 1990s-era Simpsons scene passed totally over anyone under x age at the time, I'm sure. The Simpsons was vaguely considered a kids show, but it was full of references and lines like that which no b.1980s and only few b.1970s viewers would have understood, and even many b.1960s and earlier then-adults may not have fully gotten, I don't know.

Thanks to DuckDuckGo (despite their practice of banning my website in their search-index, I DuckDuckWent the following info): I see the notorious speech in which Carter droned on and on about how a "national malaise" had America in a vice-like grip was televised July 15, 1979. "Malaise" then became a kind of slogan of the Carter admin.

This recently came up again when Biden used the same word to describe early-2020s America (nothing to do with Corona-Panic, of course, just a naturally occurring malaise, and btw get corona-needled you Covid-Denier monsters).
The Alarmist
Saturday - January 22nd 2022 6:14AM MST

My European wife keeps our house at roughly 77°F in the Summer and 70°F in the Winter. Not exactly the levels Mr. Carter was suggesting, but still a bit away from what an American is accustomed to. Still, when in Florida, I keep the A/C at 77°, which my friends and visitors find a bit different. You should try heating a drafty old chateau... you won’t get anywhere near 70° unless you are standing next to the stove or a fireplace.

Most people nowadays won’t appreciate the true cost of energy until they find themselves foraging for firewood.
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