From Bad To Worst: Restoring Jimmy
February 10, 2003
By Brian W. Peterson
The body of Richard Nixon was lying there, inside the American flag-draped coffin. Distinguished speaker after distinguished speaker trekked to the podium to shower praise on the deceased. The memorial was moving, replete with high praise for a man discredited twenty years prior to this moment.
And at that moment, while sitting at the front of the audience with Presidents Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and Ford, Jimmy Carter surely must have been struck with a thought: ‘Nixon is being exalted. Surely there is hope for me.’
Nixon had slowly rehabilitated himself through his books and interviews, exhibiting his foreign policy knowledge. Nixon’s name was even appearing in print without mention of Watergate.
Carter must have thought that if a crook like Nixon could rehabilitate himself, surely an inept former president like himself could be rehabilitated, as well.
From that moment on, Carter, who had undertaken two minor diplomatic missions for President George H. W. Bush, went from being a mere critic of his successors to a super-gnat, annoying every succeeding president regardless of party affiliation.
Carter’s crowning achievement came two months later when he injected himself into North Korea and reached an insane deal with tyrant Kim Il Sung. He lacked authority from President Clinton to strike a deal, but deal he did. In exchange for Kim’s regime agreeing not to pursue a nuclear program, the US constructed nuclear power plants for the murderous tyrant and provided billions of dollars in aid.
As a deal was about to be finalized, Kim died. The joke in Washington was that because Kim had so badly snookered Carter he died laughing. As we now know, North Korea did not keep its end of the deal and the Clinton Administration spent billions, ignorantly supplying the materials for the construction of nuclear weapons.
President Clinton was furious when he realized that Carter’s trip was about Carter serving himself. Rather than reporting updates to the administration that he purported to serve, Carter brought CNN along on the trip. Carter’s meddling wasn’t about American foreign policy- it was about Jimmy Carter.
Because Carter’s naiveté comes across as sincerity, he has largely received a pass for his frequent meddling from most Americans. But sitting presidents have known the truth.
After injecting himself into the Haiti mess- again in 1994- he once again broke his news to CNN rather than to the administration.
Insiders say that each time that Carter began his meddling, the Clinton White House felt unable to oppose the ex-president for fear of appearing arrogant and ungrateful. Carter repeatedly took advantage of Clinton until a strategy was developed to restrain Carter’s egotistical wanderings. But that strategy wasn’t developed until after Carter had meddled in North Korea, Haiti, and Bosnia.
During Clinton’s second term he was finally able to stymie the stubborn man bent on self-rehabilitation.
All this from a president who had one foreign policy achievement to speak of: Camp David, where Carter brokered a peace agreement between Israeli Menachem Begin and Egyptian Anwar al-Sadat.
When Carter sticks to pounding nails he is a good ex-president. But as soon as he wanders away from Habitat for Humanity, which he helped found, he is a foreign policy-meddling nightmare, insistent upon making the world forget what a lousy president he was by being a lousy ex-president.
If Nixon could be rehabilitated, so could Jimmy Carter. But Nixon was gracious enough to follow the tradition of ex-presidents and chose not to publicly undermine his successors. Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter has served himself, grabbing the spotlight where possible, indifferent to the damage he causes.
The man who once claimed to have seen a UFO and who fought off a killer rabbit from a canoe will go down in history as possibly the worst and most self-serving ex-president in our history.
Where will he show up next? Just look for the cameras.
GMA Lauds Carter Book Accusing Israel of Apartheid As Working For 'Peace'
Posted by Mark Finkelstein on November 27, 2006 - 11:03.
I actually have a soft spot for Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, finding her among the most even-keeled of the morning news show hosts. But again this morning she evinced a tendency to get star-struck in the presence of a big name, and wound up lavishing praise on Jimmy Carter and his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which depicts Israel as a second-rate South Africa from the bad old days.
Roberts actually began with what amounted to a DNC disclaimer:
"Now to your book, which many people find surprising, that you come down a little hard on Israel and that there have been key Democrats who have distanced themselves a little bit from your view on Israel. In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [jumping the gun there just a tad, Robin] said it is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionizes ethnically-based oppression and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously. What is your response to that?"
Carter replied by claiming that he has spent the last 30 years trying to find peace for Israel and its neighbors, but adding "you can't find peace unless you address the existing issues honestly and frankly." Translation: it's all Israel's fault.
Carter then patted himself on the back: "I think the most important step toward peace for Israel was when I negotiated a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979."
Carter then went off on this Israel-bashing spree:
"There is no doubt now that a minority of Israelis are perpetrating apartheid on the people in Palestine. This occupation and confiscation and colonization of land on the West Bank is the prime cause of the continuation of violence in the Middle East."
Really! So Sunni is slaughtering Shia in Iraq over Israel's intransigence? Who knew? And not a word from Carter about the Camp David meeting at which Israeli PM Barak offered Arafat 97% of the land he had demanded. Not only did Arafat refuse the offer, he didn't even deign to make a counter-proposal.
"What is being done to the Palestinians under Israeli domination is really atrocious. It's a terrible affliction on these people."
Timidly and haltingly, Roberts did try to respond: "Some would say by electing Hamas, the Palestinians are in effect, kind of, the reason why there is a sumbling block for peace."
The vainglorious Carter: "I was there and the Carter Center was in charge of the election. . . And there hasn't been one day of substantive negotiations between Israel and her neighbors in the last six years. So you can't say that the election of Hamas interfered with any sort of peace effort because no peace effort has been going on. And the prime choice by the United States and Israel of an interlocutor that was known as a voice of moderation, that is, Abbas, was chosen as prime minister when Arafat was there and for three years he was not called upon to negotiate and then when he became president he still hasn't been called upon to negotiate. So there is no effort being made in the Middle East at all to bring about an accommodation between Israel and the Palestinians."
Translation: repeat after me - it's all Israel's fault.
That's when Roberts caved, with this fawning goodbye: "President Carter, always optimistic, and your book reflects that. I know the Carter Foundation, you are trying to find world peace and this book is part of that."
Right. If your definition of peace is the elimination of a viable Israel.
Jimmy Carter as president is like Truman Capote marrying Dolly Parton. The job is too big for him. -- Rich Little
If you're in the peanut business, you learn to think small. -- Eugene McCarthy
Oh, and then there's this, from Ben Johnson, at FrontPageMag.com:
If Iraq's nuclear policy in the 1990s constituted a "decade of defiance," Bill Clinton's negotiations with North Korea represented a "decade of delusion." Evidence that North Korea was violating the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty surfaced within weeks of Clinton's first inauguration. After a year of inaction allowed Pyongyang to create at least one nuclear weapon, the emboldened Stalinists announced their formal withdrawal from the treaty. It seemed North Korean officials were angling for a payoff. They must have realized they struck the jackpot when Clinton named tough-as-nails Jimmy Carter as his principal negotiator.
Under the final terms of the Agreed Framework approved in October of 1994, Clinton agreed to provide the "Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea" (DPRK) with two light water nuclear reactors and a massive allotment of oil. The U.S. agreed to ship 500,000 metric tons of oil annually in response to the North's pretense that the energy-starved backwater had developed the nuclear facility to generate power. These shipments have cost taxpayers more than $800 million to date - a bargain compared with the $6 billion spent on constructing the nuclear reactors, which now empower North Korea to produce 100 nuclear bombs each year.
4 Mile Creek
February 21, 2006
The Malaise That Is Jimmy Carter
If your political awareness started any time after January 20th, 1981, it might be near impossible to understand just how bad a president Jimmy Carter was. And you need to know just how bad he was in order to understand why he is so hated today.
Since January 20th, 1981, we have been at the top of our game. Starting with the release, that day, of the US embassy personnel who had been held for 444 days in Iran, through our victory in the Cold War, onto our complete dominance of the world financial markets and technological innovation (and thereby wealth generation), we have dominated nearly everything, everywhere.
So it's hard to imagine the US any other way, at least if you did not live through the doldrums and outright depression of Jimmy Carter. With Carter we had a president who seemed to be completely flummoxed by, if not outright fearful of, a bunch of "students" who had taken over the US embassy in Iran. In Carter we had a president who seemed to acknowledge that both inflation and economic stagnation, "stagflation" it was called, was inevitable, rather than a near impossibility. In Carter we had a president that seemed very comfortable with the idea that the US had reached it's zenith sometime in the 50s or 60s, and was headed inexorably downward from here on in. He accepted that, he embraced that, and he asked us to embrace it with him.
"I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy.
I do not mean our political and civil liberties. They will endure. And I do not refer to the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military might.
The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation.
The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America."
As Reagen would prove little more than a year later, there was no crisis in confidence. There was simply a crisis in Jimmy Carter.
Apparently there still is a crisis in Jimmy Carter, and he wants to make sure that others around him still embrace that crisis he feels for all of us.... and that no one else seems to feel except those on the very far Left.
I almost felt it. Almost. It was the morning of April 25th, 1980. My brother called me on the phone to tell me to turn on my TV, Carter was addressing the nation. He was letting Americans know that there had been an attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran. And that it had failed. The rescue force didn't even get near Tehran, or near the enemy; yet there were 8 dead Americans, and the effort was scrubbed. Left unspoken was the fear that the hostages, rather than being rescued, would likely be executed.
Hearing that news was like a punch in the gut. I stood still, shocked, for a long time. Very brave and highly-trained men from all the services had tried a daring rescue and had come up short. I wondered whether the would-be rescuers were as shell-shocked as I was; even though I was 3000 miles away and safe in my home. It was a depressing moment, the nadir of a depressing presidency.
I don't think that Carter has ever mentally recovered from that moment. He never had the confidence in America that most of us had; that much was evident throughout his entire presidency. But it seems as if he lost any hope for the US after that.
So understand this, as bad as it is having Jimmy Carter for an ex-president, it's not as bad as when we had that dirtbag as President. Let him say what he wants about America and the American public now. He had four years to make America better than it was, and he never once even gave it a try.
I will add more as it occurs to me.
Keep in mind - this is his legacy.
These comments and perspectives are written at a remove of 25-plus years, as compared to what we read about Bush, Clinton, et. al.