Day by Day

Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Choice for Worst American in History: Jimmy Carter

(John Wilkes Booth gets my vote for second worst American in history, Al Gore is third worst, the managing editors for the New York Times and the Washington Post tie for fourth, LBJ gets my vote for fifth, Ted Turner and Jane Fonda tie for sixth, Bill and Hillary Clinton seventh, Henry Blackmun is eighth, James Earl Ray is ninth, Jesse Jackson and Noam Chomsky tie for tenth, Ted Kennedy and George Soros tie for eleventh, and Rev. Fred Phelps is twelfth.)

All Things Beautiful asks for nominations for the Ten Worst Americans of All Time. And why not? Just a couple months ago we had this big nation-wide poll/debate for the Greatest American in history. At the time it got a lot of media exposure, kind of like American Idol, right up until the winner was announced. (It was Reagan!)

Ed Morrissey responds with his Ten Worst Americans of All Time list, chock-full of historical goodness, or badness rather. He puts Jimmy Carter at number 10:
...after a promising beginning of his post-presidential career of building houses for the homeless, Carter has inveigled himself into so many foreign-policy crises and made them exponentially worse that it’s becoming more and more difficult to believe it isn’t done with purpose. His efforts to defuse the North Korean crisis deflected what had been until then a rather effective strategy by Bill Clinton to use a military threat to stop Pyongyang from producing nukes. After Carter jumped into the negotiations uninvited – violating the Logan Act – Carter’s prestige within his party and the US forced Clinton to accept the ridiculous Framework agreement that allowed Pyongyang to go nuclear within months. Carter has done the same with Haiti as well, and has traveled the globe to support many a leftist dictator or autocrat as long as they opposed American interests.

But the real reason Carter winds up here at #10 is because he singlehandedly almost lost the Cold War and allowed the start of the Islamofascist terror war during his single term in office. His naiveté in dealing with the Soviet Union, captured perfectly by kissing the jowled cheek of the Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev, led him to believe that worldwide Communism was here to stay and that we could do nothing about it. He also assured Americans that we had nothing to fear from the Soviets, who really weren’t bad guys – right up until they invaded Afghanistan. Even then, his response in boycotting the Olympic Games of 1980 has to remain one of the most embarrassing examples of displayed impotence in our nation’s history.

The winner in that category, however, also belongs to Carter. In November 1979, after pulling his support from the Shah in the highly strategic nation of Iran and watching him fall to an Islamist uprising, the same nutcases sacked our embassy in Teheran, an undeniable act of war. Instead of giving an ultimatum for the return of our embassy and the release of our diplomatic staff, Carter sat for 444 excruciating days, doing little except pleading publicly for mercy. He staged one – one! – military response to the crisis months later, which failed miserably. The failure to act not only allowed the rickety Khomeini government to survive, but gave Islamofascism a tremendous boost of prestige throughout the Middle East. It also allowed Iran to become a center for the funding and direction of terrorist activities for the past three decades, a legacy that has finally engulfed us since 9/11.

Other administrations have made their own mistakes in remaining blind to the threat of Islamist terror, but Carter played midwife to it and enabled it to survive when he had every opportunity and a perfect casus belli to kill it in its cradle.
Carter's withdrawal of support from the Shah of Iran put the Mad Mullahs in power. Did this liberate the Shah's 3,000 political prisoners? No. The dictatorship of Ayatollah Khomeini put most of them up against walls alongside 20,000 "pro-Western" Iranians and killed them by firing squad. Women became property. Western music banned. (It has recently been re-banned.) One year later, Iran was engaged in a war with Iraq. As the U.S. had sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler, in the Iran-Iraq War the U.S. sided with Iraq to oppose Iran's Islamic fascism and, in theory, stop it from spreading. Granted, that mistake wasn't Carter's fault, but if he'd nipped the Islamofascist problem in the bud, maybe the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, numerious terrorist bombings, and 9/11 wouldn't have happened. We'll never know. Jimmy Carter is the one who first allowed terrorism to become diplomatically acceptable. He countered the kidnapping of American diplomats by a foreign nation's government with... with what? Talk about impotence!

I can still remember the years that Jimmy Carter was President. What I remember the most was inflation - the highest inflation since the Civil War. During Carter's presidency, the dollar lost more than half its value, more than half of its purchasing power. In response, Carter enacted price controls and rationing, which caused incredibly long lines and, if anything, made prices go up even more. An economic genius Carter was not.

You know, I think Jimmy means well, but he has screwed up everything he has touched with the exception of Habitat for Humanity and that Israel-Egypt treaty. He should have stuck with building houses and stay away from foreign policy (i.e., repeatedly stabbing our country in the back).

Ok, so he did that Mid-East peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Was that a good thing? Yes. Was it heroic or courageous in any way? No. Begin angered his own political allies by returning Sinai to Egypt, endangering his leadership position in democratic Israel. Sadat knew that he quite likely might be assassinated for making peace with Israel (and assassinated he was). Jimmy Carter risked nothing. All he did was supply the meeting place.

"But he received the Nobel Peace Prize three years ago," you say? Bwaah! And Arafat (inventor of the bomb-belt) got one in 1994, too. (This year, the Nobel Prize went to Mohamed ElBaradei, for enabling Iran to become a nuclear threat presumably.) Carter's award, according to Nobel Peace Prize Committee Chairman Gunnar Berge, “should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current [i.e., George W. Bush] administration has taken. It’s a kick in the leg [i.e., poke in the eye, or slap in the face] to all that follow the same line as the United States.” Carter was given the Peace Prize for opposing America abroad. Knowing that he was awarded the Peace Prize not out of merit but as a "kick" at his own nation’s elected President and the American people, Jimmy Carter accepted the prize and the $1 million that came with it. If Jimmy had had an ounce of dignity, he would have rejected the prize and the money. The prize is now displayed proudly at the Carter Center.

When President Carter was struggling with the Iranian hostage crisis, former Presidents Nixon and Ford had the dignity to stay out of foreign affairs. Carter has no such dignity and his interference has hurt our country. Jimmy Carter is good buddies with some of the worst dictators in the world, including Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Why won't Carter speak out, not for the dictators but for the oppressed?

For all of the reasons stated above, as well as prolonging the Cold War - for having done more to harm the U.S. than any other American I can think of - Jimmy Carter gets my vote for Worst American of All Time.

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