I See Jimmy Carter Has Learned Nothing In Nearly 30 Years

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on October 25, 2010


I have said this before, and will say it again: One would think that the electoral thumping Jimmy Carter received at the hands of Ronald Reagan would cause the 39th President to rethink some of his prior assumptions.

No such luck:

America is no better off now than it was in the late 1970s and early 1980s, says former President Jimmy Carter. From national politics to relationships with other nations, there is a lot of room for improvement.

“We had almost complete harmony with every nation on Earth,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said of his administration. “We not only preserved peace for our country, we never went to war. We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a missile.”

We were not exactly harmonious with the Soviet Union, once they decided to invade Afghanistan, and once Jimmy Carter got over the shock that comes with the realization that the Soviets were never the type to live up to the promises of peace that they regularly–and successfully–assuaged and deluded him with. We certainly were not harmonious with Iran, once American hostages were taken, and when they were, we certainly tried a military option. No missiles were fired during the execution of that military option, but that was probably–and calamitously–because the operation ended in a catastrophe before any missiles could have been fired. Numerous foreign leaders made clear their low opinion of the 39th President and his Administration–as detailed in Theodore White’s excellent America in Search of Itself: The Making of the President 1956-1980; the fact that Carter ignores this is attributable either to his tendency to forget inconvenient truths, or to his willingness to make things up to suit his reading of history.

More from the First Peanut Gallery, as it were:

. . . “The president has a lot of help,” Carter said. “And I would say, in general, maybe not exactly now when there’s such a negative attitude, but in general, the American people wanted me as president to be successful. Because when I was successful in dealing with jobs and when I was dealing with international affairs and peace and human rights and energy and that sort of thing, then America (was successful).”

Unemployment reached double digits during the Carter years, and we had to put up with the residue of failed Carter Administration employment policies–thanks to interest rate hikes that were needed to curtail Carter-era inflation–during the first few years of the Reagan Administration. We had the invasion of Afghanistan, the ascendance of the the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the fall of the Shah during the Carter Administration; it is bizarre to think that the Carter Administration’s approach to international affairs could be described as “successful.” As for energy, we had gas lines galore. If that is the result of a “successful” approach to energy policy, I’ll eat my hat.

  • sinz54

    Anyone who has difficulty remembering those years (or is too young to remember them) can search the Google News Archive and see for himself that a Golden Age it was not.

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