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September 23, 2010
Remembering the Blunder Years
In the Gospel of Luke (18:11), we read the words of Jesus: "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." Jesus did not say this Republican. But Jimmy did.
Former President Jimmy Carter was enlightening the world about his views on his ex-Presidency. He said recently that his ex-presidency was "superior" to all others because of all his good deeds. He later had to "walk that back," as they say in Washington. He said his Carter Center had enabled him to do superior things. What's the difference?
He continues to enjoy a measure of public approval because most people are not aware of all the mischief he has caused as an ex. There is hardly a tyrant in the world that Carter has not broken bread with, given a platform to, and embraced, literally, in front of eager paparazzi.
Does North Korea's Kim Jong-il starve two million of his own long-suffering people? What's that between friends? Does Kim persecute Christians? Of course. But Jimmy Carter has jetted off to Pyongyang to negotiate with him.
He charges the Israelis with practicing apartheid, just as the odious South African regime did. He manages to miss the point of Israelis building a wall to separate themselves from suicide-vest-wearing terrorists. Carter embraced Yasser Arafat, the inventor of airline hijacking for terror purposes.
Carter is deaf to the cries of millions of Christians worldwide. Too bad they never made it to the Carter Bible Study. There, they might have learned about the priest who hurried past the wounded man by the side of the road. The priest was probably on his way to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize.
Carter goes into dictators' dens whether or not the elected administration in Washington wants him there. He doesn't have to ask permission.
Elections. They're so tiresome. No wonder Carter's new-found friends among the world dictators' club welcomed him so warmly. Carter was given the boot most unceremoniously in 1980. Not since Herbert Hoover in 1932 had a sitting President been so thoroughly repudiated. Carter carried only six states against Ronald Reagan in that three-way election.
Within just a few years of his come-from-nowhere election as President, Carter's famous grin had disappeared. Cartoonists were at a loss. What had defined Carter the candidate was nowhere to be seen. Instead, they had to settle for large, lugubrious lips.
Perplexed and befuddled, Jimmy went up to Camp David. He pondered the unfairness of it all. He had promised Americans a government "as good as the American people." That was a popular line. He delivered a government as good as the Detroit City Council.
Jimmy came down from the mountain, but unlike Moses, he did not smash the tablets. Instead, he smashed his cabinet. He fired them all. But he left his cockamamie White House staff intact. One of the top Congressional Democrats was horrified. "He's chopped down all the tall trees," this leader moaned, "and left all the monkeys!"
Americans were not amused. They reasoned that Jimmy Carter chose all his Cabinet members; his party-which controlled both houses of Congress-confirmed all these Cabinet secretaries; he now concluded that the problem was his Cabinet
Americans judged that the problem was not Carter's Cabinet. They decided the problem was Jimmy Carter himself. They were right.
Next November 4th, God willing, we will celebrate 30 years since the American people sent Jimmy Carter packing. Historian John Lukács calls coincidences of dates "spiritual puns." It may have been such a spiritual pun that Election Day 1980 occurred exactly one year after 52 Americans were taken hostage by the Iranian mullahs, and our U.S. Embassy was seized. The feckless Jimmy Carter had had no idea what to do about it.
Even liberal television anchors spoke of those terrible days as "America Held Hostage."
In choosing Ronald Reagan, Americans used their ballots, not bullets, to free their beloved country from such colossal incompetence.
As long as any of us who lived through Carter's four years of misery index are alive, there will be witnesses to cry out against his insufferable moral preening, his pharisaical self congratulation. Is there any way to impeach an ex-President?