Accuracy in Media

Last week, former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter declared that George W. Bush would go down as the worst president in history.

“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history. The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me.”

Carter also disparaged the Bush administration’s Faith-Based Community initiatives, lack of peace talks in Israel, and of course, the war in Iraq, just to round things out.

Bush wasn’t Carter’s only target. He had harsh words for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who will be stepping down in a matter of weeks:

“Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient?And I think the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world.”

Bear in mind that this was coming from the man whose response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was to enforce a boycott of the1980 Moscow Summer Olympics! The only ones hurt in that stunt were American athletes, deprived of the chance to prove their prowess on the world stage and bring prestige to their country. I’m sure the Afghanis affected by the invasion were pleased that Carter took the moral high ground in their name.

It obviously did not occur to Carter that Blair may have been acting in accordance with President Bush because he agreed with him and saw the inherent threat of leaving Saddam Hussein in power, not because Bush browbeat him into it. But calling Blair (for all intents and purposes) Bush’s lapdog sounds much better in a sound bite.

Yet after being taken to task by the White House and some in the media for these outrageous comments, Carter tried to do damage control on the Today show with Meredith Vieira, saying he had not meant for his remarks about President Bush to be “personal.”

“What I was actually doing was responding to a question about foreign policy between Richard Nixon and this administration. I think this administration’s foreign policy compared to President Nixon’s was much worse.”

“But not the worst in U.S. history?” Vieira interjected.

“That’s not what I wanted to say,” Carter said.

One would think that all of his years on the national and international stage would have given Carter experience in choosing his words carefully, but he seems to suffer from a chronic case of foot-in-mouthitis.

Some historians and CNN poll respondents have also named Bush as the worst president in our history, but it’s a bit premature to be pointing fingers while we are in the midst of his administration and the media hysteria surrounding it. Historical perspective is a wonderful thing, and we’ll be able to better judge the pluses and minuses of Bush 43 in another five, ten, twenty years. However, it has been more than 25 years since Jimmy Carter reigned supreme as our 38th president, so let’s take a quick look at the legacy of the man who is so quick to point out the foibles of his successors:

– Carter stood by while Communists took over Ethiopia, South Yemen, Angola, Mozambique, Cambodia, Grenada, Nicaragua and Afghanistan.

– Who could forget the Iran hostage crisis that lasted 444 days? (It can even be argued that Carter’s inability or unwillingness to take a firm stand with Iran during this time gave the Islamofascists their first real taste of success against the Great Satan; not to mention Carter’s role in the deposing of the Shah, which led to the Ayatollah Khomeni’s rise to power.)

– Unemployment during the Carter years was 12%, compared to 4.4% today.

– Interest rates in the late ‘70s were 20%. Today, they’re down to between 4% and 5.5%.

Many point with the peace talks Carter brokered with Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachim Begin, but how much credit does he really deserve? Lowell Ponte doesn’t think it’s much:

Both Sadat and Begin were courageous statesmen who risked much to make this peace agreement. Begin angered his own political base by returning the battle-won Sinai to Egypt. Sadat, as he knew likely, would be assassinated for making peace with Israel. By comparison Jimmy Carter risked nothing and did almost nothing, except serve beverages and snacks to two statesmen who had come to Camp David already carrying the outline of their peace agreement.

After a dismal four years, Carter lost his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan with 91% of the electoral vote, a difficult pill for anyone to swallow. As blogger ThirdWaveDave says, “Carter’s a bitter ex-president who has never gotten over the boot print Reagan left on his ***.” While this may be true, it does not excuse these and other of Carter’s petty, vindictive comments over the years. His bid to stay relevant at the expense of our national reputation and yes, national security, is reprehensible.

Carter is a man of words…one that comes to mind is “malaise”…while Bush is a man of action. One wonders what Carter would have done had he been the man in charge on 9/11. Would he have called for talks at Camp David with Osama bin Laden? Asked for the UN to intervene? (We all know how successful the UN’s peacekeeping missions have been.) Fortunately, we do not have to wonder. President Bush stepped into the role of strong leader with no hesitation. There have been mistakes and errors along the way, as there have been with every military campaign in the history of man. And Bush is by no means perfect ? his view on the illegal immigration problem and tendency toward big spending are great examples. But to publicly call his administration the “worst” in American history without the benefit of the buffer of time not only does a disservice to President Bush, but to the country as a whole.

Did Carter not stop to think about how his words will resonate among our enemies in the Middle East? Al-Qaeda leaders and other Islamofascists must be smirking behind their kafiyehs, as they surely did when Nancy Pelosi made her infamous trip to Syria to meet with Bashar al-Assad against President Bush’s wishes. Eris and her apple of discord could not have done a better job trashing our international reputation than top members of the Democrat Party within this past year. The Islamists figure they have only to wait for America to tire of war and internal friction and withdraw from Iraq, thus leaving it a sitting duck for a full al-Qaeda takeover ? not to mention Iran’s desire to put its finger in that particular pie. Carter’s words are likely most welcome in that quarter.

But no, Carter did not stop to think. The only thinking he does is retroactively in an attempt to salvage his public image once he’s been criticized. His rubber-stamp approvals of rigged elections in emerging dictatorships around the world, along with his blatant anti-Semitism and constant criticisms of the current administration, are more than just an embarrassment. They give succor and comfort to our very real enemies around the world. He should be ashamed, but his vanity will not allow it.

General Douglas MacArthur once famously said, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” It’s unfortunate that certain has-been politicians cannot live by the same credo. We’d all be better off for it.

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