I nominate Jimmy Carter
By Alan Caruba
No, I do not intend to wait around for another list ranking the various Presidents of the United States for their intelligence, courage, whatever. I already have my nomination for the dumbest, dopiest, most goofy President we ever elected to office. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jimmy Carter!
For those old enough to remember this simpleton, he was elected after the debacle of Richard M. Nixon’s famed Watergate mess. There was such a mass revulsion against the criminality practiced by Nixon and the gang of nitwits around him that, when Jimmy came along, the Democrats could not believe their luck.
He had been Governor of Georgia, but the Peach State didn’t need a rocket scientist to keep the wheels turning. Jimmy had been a graduate of Annapolis, but had left the Navy to return to peanut farming. Consider that as a career choice! Anyway, Jimmy was a bona fide liberal, opening up government offices to blacks and women. Of course, when Bush43 appoints blacks and women to office, he’s accused of doing it as a sop to these constituencies, not because, in the case of Dr. Condoleezza Rice, he’s giving the job to one of the most qualified public servants in the modern era.
Jimmy gets heaps of credit for having negotiated a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. It involved Israel returning the Sinai to Egypt. This was celebrated with the Islamist assassination of Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian President who signed the deal. These days the Egyptians are having conniptions over the likelihood of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza area pouring into Egypt. It’s not like Egypt hasn’t had decades of problems with the Islamic Brotherhood from well before the pre-Arafat days. The prospect of crazed, gun-toting Palestinians on their border does not evoke smiles in Cairo.
It was Jimmy Carter who also managed to give the Panama Canal back to the Panamanians. The US built it and ran it, paying Panama a handsome fee, but Jimmy just couldn’t wait to unload it. The Canal is critical to the national security of the United States, but these days, if you visit, you will find that Red China has purchased and maintains facilities at both ends of the Canal. As Bugs Bunny is known to say, “What a maroon!”
Jimmy, though, is best known for his brilliant mismanagement of the Iranian takeover of the US embassy in Tehran, Iran, in 1979. Months before the crazy ayatollahs took over Iran, Carter told the Shah that it was “an island of stability” because of the “love which your people give to you”! Not long after, the Soviet Union decided to invade Afghanistan, thus leading to the rise of the Taliban and, later, al Qaeda. Jimmy embargoed grain shipments and took our athletes out of the 1980 Olympics to be held in Moscow. The problems he left behind were later cleaned up by George W. Bush after 9-11.
People could not wait to get to the election booth to vote for Ronald Reagan; they liked Reagan so much, they reelected him. The only people who liked Jimmy were unhappy Democrats.
At this point, most ex-Presidents have the good sense to fade from view. Gerald Ford has done such a terrific job of being a former President, most people don’t even know that, at age 92, he is still alive. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush has done a wonderful job of keeping out of the spotlight unless called upon to raise money for flood victims. We shall never be rid of ex-President Clinton unless he starts eating fatty foods again or the old ticker gives out while being serviced by some new intern.
But not Jimmy Carter! The old peanut farm is just not enough to keep Jimmy busy checking the harvest. He openly opposed the first Gulf War to liberate Kuwait. He flew to North Korea in 1994 to try to “negotiate” a deal about nuclear weapons, all the time praising Kim Il Sung.
He’s been gallivanting around the world, monitoring rigged foreign elections, and as was his preference while in office, never meeting a dictator he didn’t like. His distaste for Israel and preference for the Palestinians is pure anti-Semitism. He has never ceased expounding the idiotic notions he held when he was in office from 1977 to 1981.
Jimmy had some advice regarding the cost of energy when he was in office. His answer was to turn down the thermostat and dress up in heavy sweaters. Were you still cold? Well, tough luck, pal. Drill for some oil or natural gas to put some heat in the radiators? No way!
That’s why, when Jimmy authored an opinion article that appeared in the Washington Post and was later syndicated to other newspapers, he was absolutely appalled at the notion of actually drilling for the oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.
A word here to help you get a sense of ANWR; the area is 19 million acres in size—about the size of South Carolina. Alaska comprises 378 million acres. The coastal area of ANWR alone is well over a million acres. The total area involved in the extraction of oil is 1.5 million acres. Of that area, only 2,000 acres would be needed for the oil wells, the pipelines, a couple of roads, and the necessary structures for personnel. By comparison, Reagan National Airport is five times larger!
Is Jimmy Carter interested in accessing oil needed by Americans and available on American soil? No. What is he concerned about? “A nursery for caribou, polar bears, walruses, and millions of shorebirds and waterfowl that migrate annually to the Lower 48.” Mind you, none of these creatures will be affected at all by drilling in an ANWR area that is less than one-twentieth the size of Washington. DC. All those worried about the caribou, please form a line on the Left.
Jimmy Carter is an embarrassment. He didn’t have a clue when he was in the Oval Office and he still doesn’t. Like Clinton, he feels compelled to advocate liberal policies long since rejected by the voters.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. © Alan Caruba, October 2005
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