I don’t know if I’ll read the book, but the review is awesome.
To me it seemed that Carter had a shot a being the worst President in history from the start of his campaign.
My estimation was higher than his achievement.
During Jimmy Carter’s Presidency I was living in Canada. The “oil crisis” was never really an issue in Toronto because Canada had a great deal of its own oil. There was no lining up for hours for gasoline, or wondering if you’d be able to heat your house.
Another bonus; Pierre Trudeau was never so gauche as to appear in a ratty sweater on the CBC and tell us to lower our expectations along with our thermostats.
Still, this was the time I became aware of the antipathy Western Canadians hold for the Ontario/Quebec strangle-hold on the election of Ottawa mandarins. I was puzzled by reports of brisk sales in Alberta (where the oil mainly is) of bumper stickers reading “Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark.”
I am no longer puzzled. Thirty years later, the antipathy and its expression prove to be entirely justified.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin serves in the great tradition of Canadian Liberals. This is to say that if not for the sheeple of Canada, Martin would be contemplating Mussolini’s fate rather than rejoicing about his clever theft of Canadian democracy.
This post started by referencing a review of a book about Jimmy Carter; not the perfidy of the Canadian Liberal Party. Still, it is interesting to consider that the worst head of state in United States history served contemporaneously with the man (Trudeau) who built the stage for the governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.
Which of those will prove ultimately to be the worst ever Canadian Prime Minister will require a few more months’ perspective.
Any comparison to Carter is strained, however. You can’t equate a couple of petty crooks perpetrating a confidence game on the voters with a man who never even had confidence in his own country.
Carter displayed a remarkable lack of principle and leadership even before his Presidency:
During his days in state politics, Carter ran campaigns that treaded dangerously close to outright racism. He once attacked his opponent, Carl Sanders, for preventing George Wallace from speaking on state property. (Carter would later write to one constituent, “George Wallace and I are in agreement on most issues.”) Sanders was, Carter charged coyly, trying “to please a group of ultra-liberals.” His campaign sent out a mailing featuring a picture of Sanders with two black basketball players—Carter’s aides were later found passing out copies of this mailing at a Ku Klux Klan rally.
And this weakness continued during his Occupation (and a more accurate term has not been invented) of the White House:
After the shah, America’s ally, was deposed in Iran, he sought sanctuary in the United States. Approached about this idea, President Carter responded, “F— the shah.”
In this treatment of allies, we must admit, he was following in the footprints of JFK’s treatment of Ngo Dinh Diem.
The Shah’s mistake was to believe that Mr. Carter would keep America’s word, but Carter was an apologist for American values even while he was President:
President Carter lambasted Americans for having an “inordinate fear” of Communism and explained that Russia would “continue to push for communism throughout the world and to probe for possibilities for expansion of their system, which I think is a legitimate purpose for them.”
Carter’s ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, went even further in support of the Soviet Union, defending its trial of Natan Sharansky as “a gesture of independence.”
Carter’s silliness cost America the Panama Canal, Iran, Afghanistan, and Nicaragua. Yet with all this carnage trailing in his wake, what is Jimmy Carter’s own appraisal of his presidency? “Allowing Ronald Reagan to become president was by far my biggest failure in office,” he told Douglas Brinkley in 1995.
Finally, Claremont reminds us that since Carter left the White House, he’s become the most virulent anti-American ex-President we pray it will ever be our misfortune to see.
In 1991 he spoke publicly against the Gulf War and— more unforgivably—went in private to Arab leaders asking them to pull out of the American coalition.
In other adventures, President Carter visited and praised North Korea’s Kim Il Sung, saying he admired the “reverence with which [North Koreans] look upon their leader.” Smitten with Yasser Arafat, he made fundraising trips to Saudi Arabia on behalf of the PLO. He invited Somali warlord Farah Aidid to visit him in Atlanta, calling the American attempt to capture him “regrettable.” He visited Syria and praised the “good humor between” himself and Hafez Assad. Carter was so taken with Assad that when he returned to the Middle East, he submitted a false itinerary to the State Department so that he could meet with the dictator again.
Jimmy Carter was, and is, a man in the grip of a mystical narcissism unequalled even by Bill Clinton.
My God, what would have happened if JC had got a second term?!