Jimmy Carter is 85 today.
He is lately much in the news for his observations and commentary on public affairs -- most notably his assertions that criticism of Barack Obama comes from racist impulses, and his never-ending scrutiny of the bad, bad Israelis. What a life he leads.
Jimmy Carter is a man with many talents and virtues. He graduated from the Naval Academy and served for seven years as a naval officer. He has been married to the same woman since 1946.
Jimmy Carter is an innovator. He is the first former American president to cause public and embarrassing trouble for multiple successors, regardless of party affiliation. His ham-fisted attempts at diplomacy in Somalia, Haiti and North Korea irritated Bill Clinton. He insulted George W. Bush with impunity to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Most notably, however, was his near-treasonous action prior to the Gulf War, when the former president wrote to the presidents of the nations on the United Nations Security Council in an effort to undermine and defeat the stated policy of the United States government regarding Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. No former president -- not even the former Narcissist-in-Chief Clinton -- has such a litany to his name.
Jimmy Carter is an author. In the wake of his book Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid, two dozen members of the Carter Center's advisory board resigned to protest the inaccuracies, misstatements and outright falsehoods President Carter presented. President Carter authored a book of thinly-veiled anti-Israeli rhetoric that contains errors of commission and omission which can also be used as a how-to textbook on plagiarism. Kenneth W. Stein, a fellow at the Carter Center, published a damning article in The Middle East Quarterly that meticulously outlined President Carter's shocking anti-Semitism and the host of inaccuracies and falsehoods propagated in the former President's book, a book containing no footnotes or sources to back up specious claims on issues relating to the Middle East conflict. A sample from Dr. Stein's piece:
"To support Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid's central theme that Israel is intransigent, Carter recasts Hamas as a moderate partner ready to negotiate with Israel. He launders its reputation both with careful word choice and omission. He uses the past tense, for example, to describe Hamas as an "Islamic militant group that opposed recognition of Israel [and] perpetrated acts of violence." Carter adds that he "urged them ...to forgo violence." He omits mention that Hamas denies the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East and the group's belief that historical Palestine belongs in its entirety to Muslims. Carter is incorrect when he writes that Hamas has not been responsible for any terrorist acts since August 2004. Hamas on many subsequent occasions claimed responsibility for firing Qassam rockets into Israel and also claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit in June 2006."
This shouldn't surprise. President Carter's own secretary of state once told the lately departed William Safire that had there been a second Carter administration, the president would have "sold Israel down the river." And what American was a better friend to the gangster Arafat?
Jimmy Carter is an expert on racism. Hans von Spakovsky recently pointed out in National Review Online that, as a member of the Sumter County (Georgia) School Board, Carter was a part of defying the Supreme Court order handed down in Brown vs. Board of Education by maintaining school segregation there. Indeed, Carter made a request to the Georgia state board of education to halt construction of a black school and went to lengths to assure fellow whites in Sumter County that he would do everything he could to "minimize traffic" between white and black students on their way to school.
These are just a few of the many traits and talents of Jimmy Carter, who is surely enjoying life these days. We now have a president in the Oval Office who in less than nine months has already scraped the depths of disgrace and incompetence only Jimmy Carter reached. Barack Obama has already trod upon the anti-Israel road on which Carter so clearly marked a path, sowing discord with treasured friends and courting dictators along the way.
Very soon - if not already - it will be generally understood that Jimmy Carter is no longer the worst president the United States has endured. That distinction will belong to the person Jimmy Carter last year described as the "black boy." Sometimes birthday wishes do come true.