Jimmy Carter is at it again, though with an exceptional-for-him grasp of the truth. AP is reporting on the undistinguished ex-POTUS's recent pronouncements and forthcoming book that condenses his personal diaries from the White House years. Our take is that Carter manages some fractional truths of self-awareness, an exceptional achievement given his dismal record.
We will note his pronouncements and offer SWNIDisms in response:
Carter: The Tea Party is like the insurgent, outsider Carter campaign of 1976, but the Tea Party will not have lasting political influence.
SWNID: If that prognostication proves true, then the Tea Party will be exactly like the Carter.
Carter: As President, Carter overburdened Congress with too ambitious an agenda.
SWNID: That's true but less than half the point. Carter left Congress without ground for compromise, claiming perfect virtue for all of his positions. Six months into his term, every D on Capitol Hill was praying to Moloch for his demise.
Carter: Carter was a bad leader of the Democratic Party.
SWNID: Not that it's had a good leader in a couple of generations, but he was probably the worst, for reasons noted above. Carter thought himself too good for politics, making him too bad for politics.
Carter: If not for Ted Kennedy's campaign and the Iran Hostage Crisis, Carter would've won.
SWNID: And if not for the defection of Neocon Democrats like Jeanne Kirkpatrick because of Carter's utterly naive approach to Communism and foreign affairs. And if not for ruinous stagflation (not really his fault). And if not for the alienation of his own party that preceded the Kennedy campaign, which was more a symptom than a cause. And if not for the feckless approach to Iran that inflamed Iranian anti-Shah opinion and hardened it into anti-American opinion, propelling the radicals into leadership of the opposition, there would not have been a hostage crisis.
Truth is, except for calling for fiscal restraint, though not achieving it thanks to his poor management of Congress, appointing Paul Volcker as Fed chair, and starting a re-armament program to continue the Cold War after the humiliation of Vietnam, there's not much good to say about Mr. Carter. Now even Mr. Carter is beginning to admit that, if only a little.
Postscript Question: Has there ever been an ex-President as persistent in grabbing the microphone as The Man from Plains?