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President Carter's first year seems to have been primarily a learning experience, according to an informal poll of Harvard faculty conducted yesterday.
James Q. Wilson, Shattuck Professor of Government, felt it was too early to evaluate Carter's impact. Carter must "overcome a complete lack of prior experience" if he is to be successful, Wilson said.
Born-Again, At That
Wilson added he believes that Carter's performance will be better next year because he learned a great deal and has "strong instincts and high standards."
Don K. Price, professor of Government, gave a mixed review of Carter's domestic policies. Price termed Carter's first year a disappointment, but said Carter has been making a strong effort in a direction Price applauds.
Many of Carter's apparent shortcomings can be attributed to other aspects of the government, Price said, adding that his strong support for Carter may prejudice his perception.
Carter's dealings with Congress have been a major source of difficulty, Frank B. Freidel, Warren Professor of American History, said yesterday. Carter has not been entirely successful Freidel said, but he feels that the President has been "learning a good deal." Freidel attributed some of Carter's shortcomings to the "reluctance of Congress to do a great deal."
Although Carter inherited his relationship with Congress from his predecessors, Freidel said, Carter has not improved the situation. "Some of the Georgians on the Hill are not very skillful," he added.
There was disagreement over the quality of Carter's economic policy. Otto Eckstein, Warburg Professor of Economics, said yesterday Carter moved the economy in the right direction. Whether it was "luck or skill is irrelevant; it is only important that the economy did well," Eckstein added.
According to Wilson, however, Carter had a negative effect on the economy. Carter only caused confusion by constantly changing directions, Wilson said.
A Waiting Game
Richard E. Neustadt, professor of Government said he preferred to wait before judging Carter's economic programs. Although Carter has a lot to learn and is learning it slowly, Neustadt said he is reasonably hopeful about Carter's future.
Carter is beginning to "pull together" his foreign policy, which until now has been unsuccessful, Neustadt said. Wilson, on the other hand, called Carter's foreign policy "confused." Wilson said Carter's recent foreign tour was a "publicity stunt."
Eckstein said that he is not interested in giving Carter a grade in the same manner as one of his Ec 10 students. He added that he felt "presidents should be judged by history, not on December 31; by results, not by style." It is too early to evaluate Carter because the president didn't anticipate the difficulties he has had with Congress, Wilson said.
On Your Newstands' Now
Stanley H. Hoffmann, professor of Government, said he could not summarize his views of Carter's performance. He added that his analysis of Carter appeared in the December issue of Foreign Policy
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