The Christian Science Monitor defends former President Carter as one whose public perception has been shaped by defaming enemies.
He kept us out of endless wars. He protected the Alaskan wilderness (Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D) of Wisconsin once told me that "Carter was the greatest environmental president the country ever had.") He promoted a visionary energy policy. He countered the Soviet military threat. And since he left office, he has persistently promoted the cause of peace around the world. The landmark Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty he fashioned remains in force today."He was in fact quite a good president." They've got that right.
Against the backdrop of an unnecessary trillion-dollar war in Iraq, it is instructive to recall how Carter avoided a similar morass when he negotiated the Panama Canal treaties, for which he was excoriated by Ronald Reagan's Republicans. When he left office, he was able to say with Thomas Jefferson "[D]uring the period of my administration not a drop of the blood of a single citizen was shed by the sword of war."
In the public mind, Carter continues to be judged as "ineffectual." Yet he started that treaty ratification process with fewer than 40 votes of the 67 needed. Pentagon generals advised him it would require 100,000 troops, rivers of blood, and untold treasure if the US did not return sovereignty of the canal to Panama.
Carter was keenly aware that retaining US control of the canal, as Reagan demanded, might result in another Vietnam-like conflict. Today, looking at America's open-ended wars in Southwest Asia, Carter should be thanked for his wisdom and vision.
If it wasn't for a hostile press, a debate gaffe, a botched rescue mission in Iran, and illegal and traitorous secret negotiations by the Reagan election team with Iran - our over-rated actor President would never had saddled into the White House.
A turn in the economy that left Carter only marginally better than the best GOP president was the icing on the cake for his reelection prospects.
I should provide links to the unconventional statements I make above but I'll leave those as exercises for the readers to improve their Google skills.
Blogging will be light - my New Year's Resolution for the entire year. That and avoiding giving any support to a web site I had been frequenting along with a few other personal resolutions. We will see what replaces blogging and commenting as a time waster.
Tags: Carter, Jimmy Carter, Reagan