Jimmy Carter: Closet Republican?
According to Megan McArdle, Jimmy Carter was the most underrated American President of the 20th century:
Defenders of the free market have had two problems: First, people labeled as liberal or conservative aren't always that way. (Nixon was far to the left of Clinton on economics.) Second, it takes a few years for laissez faire to work.
Most underrated: Jimmy Carter. Yes, I said Jimmy Carter. Carter's foreign policy . . . well, 'nuff said. But Carter was actually in many ways the architect of the economic changes that Reagan got credit for. It was Carter who appointed Paul Volcker to the Fed, thus giving the institution the backbone to finally get serious about inflation. And it was Jimmy Carter who started the ball rolling on deregulation, despite the fact that many of the regulated industries employed a lot of the Democratic base. Carter is credited with the awful economy of the 1970s, even though he had no control over inflation or oil prices.
During the Carter presidency, the two problems cancelled each other out. The Democrat Carter got the blame for Nixon's left-wing policies and the Republican Reagan got the credit for Carter's right-wing policies.
On the other hand, Carter has been playing the role of a liberal fool ever since 1980. On the gripping hand, that might be to ensure that liberals continue to get the blame.
It looks like Jimmy Carter traded influence for credit.