Character Above All: Ten presidents from FDR to George Bush

Wilson, Robert A., ed., Hentrick Hertzberg “Jimmy Carter”

Simon & Schuster, 1995

p. 185

By contrast with Ronald Reagan, Carter was handicapped by a certain flexibility. “It was because Reagan had a fixed political ideology and Carter did not–at least, he had much less of one. A political ideology is a very handy thing to have. It’s a real time-saver, because it tells you what you think about things you know nothing about. Reagan never had to agonize over the merits of this tax versus that tax–if it was a tax, he was against it. He never lost sleep over the proper design of some environmental regulation–if it was an environmental regulation, he was against it. He never worried about whether to build up the Navy at the expense of the Army, or the Army at the expense of the Navy. His view was, if it was military, build it all–and damn the expense.”