This assessment by Tyler Cowen reminded me that, in 1980, I and just about all my friends hated Jimmy Carter. Most of us much preferred him to Reagan but still hated Carter. I wouldn’t associate this with any particular ideological feeling—it’s not that we thought he was too liberal, or too conservative. He just seemed completely ineffectual. I remember feeling at the time that he had no principles, that he’d do anything to get elected.
In retrospect, I think of this as an instance of uniform partisan swing: the president was unpopular nationally, and attitudes about him were negative, relatively speaking, among just about every group.
My other Carter story comes from a conversation I had a couple years ago with an economist who’s about my age, a man who said that one reason he and his family moved from town A to town B in his metropolitan area was that, in town B, they didn’t feel like they were the only Republicans on their block.
Anyway, this guy described himself as a “Jimmy Carter Republican.”
Me: You mean you liked Carter’s policies on deregulation?
Him: No. I mean that Jimmy Carter made me a Republican.