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tom moody

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Jimmy Carter Did Not Wear a Sweater Because of Energy

"Dick Cheney carpooling downtown with Brownie? Rummy Rollerblading down the bike path to the Pentagon? Condi huddling by a Watergate fireplace in a gray cardigan?" That's catty Maureen Dowd on Bush's recent call for energy conservation. All fine, all fair, except for the reference to Jimmy Carter's cardigan. The following was posted here three years ago, and will continue to be reposted periodically until people stop repeating the myth that Carter wore a sweater because of energy:
One issue that came up [in an an earlier thread] is the popular myth that back in 1979, Jimmy Carter urged Americans to wear sweaters and turn down the thermostat to 68 degrees, an image trotted out by right-wing commentators to show the impotence and nerdiness of energy conservation (as opposed to the Cheney approach, which is to secure foreign oil supplies by force). The only problem with the Carter story is it isn't exactly true. In the "crisis of confidence speech," given at a time of gas lines and rationing, Carter urged Americans to turn down thermostats--perfectly sensible advice--but didn't bore us with a precise setting. He also didn't say anything about sweaters. Yes, he was wearing a sweater, as he had been doing since his Inauguration in '77. Admittedly dorky, the cardigan was meant to be a symbol of his laid-back Populism, after the Imperial excesses of the Nixon years. It had nothing to do with energy--that's pure Republican disinfo. Unfortunately it's become tenacious urban folklore, as a Google search of "carter sweater thermostat" shows.

- tom moody 9-28-2005 9:27 pm [link]