Though Washington reporters are supposed to know better, Mollenhoff believed Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign rhetoric about...

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THE PRESIDENT WHO FAILED: Carter Out of Control

Though Washington reporters are supposed to know better, Mollenhoff believed Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign rhetoric about changing the image of the federal government. So, having voted for him, Mollenhoff feels betrayed by Carter's easy slide into familiar White House behavior. The doubts started when, despite promises to cut waste out of the federal agencies, Carter failed to support Air Force cost analyst Ernie Fitzgerald in his battle with the Defense Department over cost over-runs. That item is probably the least remembered of the litany Mollenhoff recites, which goes on to decry the personal lifestyle of Hamilton Jordan, Carter's cronyism as exemplified by Bert Lance and Griffin Bell, the near-scandal over Carter's peanut business, the General Services Administration scandal, the debacle of Carter's energy legislation, etc. Mollenhoff's attitude toward Carter's handling of foreign policy--before Iran and Afghanistan--is more obviously partisan than the jilted-suitor approach be takes toward domestic issues, since he first assaults former UN Ambassador Andrew Young for playing around with the PLO, then uses all the accumulated charges and suspicions to cast doubt on Carter's credibility vis-à-vis Salt II, which has since become virtually a dead issue. The use of Cold War foreign policy to soften domestic dissent and solidify the power of the Presidency is just one of the familiar patterns of American politics which Mollenhoff doesn't take seriously enough as a pattern. Whether any president could make good on Carter's foggy promises is a question Mollenhoff ignores in favor of an easy shopping list of presidential abuses.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Free Press/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1980