A popular meme is that Obama will be another Carter. I don't buy it. In terms of damage to the economy and American standing in the world, the best analog to Carter would have to be George W. Bush. Carter accomplished this two-fer with his timidity and reliance on symbolic, rather than real action. Bush managed to do it by being overly bellicose and completely tone-deaf to the messaging inherent in any of his choices. You could say Carter and Bush are the heads and tails of the coin of Presidential incompetence.
I'm going to predict that Obama is not another Carter because he has shown he's not afraid to play hardball when necessary and the time is right. He just hasn't done it for the sake of being perceived as hard. Palin was the biggest gift McCain could ever give Obama. However, taking that card and playing it immediately would have allowed McCain to jujitsu it back onto Obama. So what does Obama do? He waits and lets Palin prove herself an idiot. He doesn't say a single bad thing about her, but his campaign makes sure every piece of negative news on her is broadcast for the world to see. Then in the last week, Obama puts out a silent ad that uses her image with devastating effect. McCain is powerless to respond. Carter would have suggested they have more vice-presidential debates and then cried when the other side said no. Oh, wait, didn't McCain do something like that with his idea of near-constant town-halls?
Also, would Rahm Emanuel ever work for a girly-man like Carter?