A combination of Ebenezer Scrooge and the mad bomber.
This was Ronald Reagan's joking description of how President Jimmy Carter's campaign sought to portray Reagan as the fall campaign of 1980 finally got underway.
And make book on it.
Some version of this old liberal game will be run on Mitt Romney by Barack Obama, starting now. The only difference, perhaps, is that Richie Rich may serve as the substitute for Ebenezer Scrooge.
Don't believe me?
Let's begin with a video tour comparing the President Jimmy Carter of 1980 with the President Barack Obama of 2008 and today. It's as if Obama were just pumping fresh stale air into Carter's old lines about Ronald Reagan. Take note: the villains -- big oil, tax breaks for the rich, heartless Republicans -- are always the same. And as Americans have learned the hard way, the results that flow from the Carter and Obama policies have been the same as well.
• Here's Carter giving his 1980 acceptance speech. He is describing what a Reagan presidency would bring. (Note: included here are both the text and video versions, the latter with time notations when needed.)
Carter, at 14:51 in his speech, says:
I see despair -- despair of millions who would struggle for equal opportunity and a better life and struggle alone. And I see surrender -- the surrender of our energy future to the merchants of oil, the surrender of our economic future to a bizarre program of massive tax cuts for the rich, service cuts for the poor, and massive inflation for everyone.
• Here's Obama giving his 2008 acceptance speech. He is describing what a John McCain presidency would bring. Note the same attacks on oil companies and tax breaks.
Obama (at 12: 56 in his speech), says:
Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?
• Here's Carter on energy and oil companies, lashing out at Reagan.
Carter (at 30:49 in his speech):
Then, as now, their policy was dictated by the big oil companies.