September 28, 2009
By Humphrey Stevenson
Before I start, I have a confession to make; I'm a racist. I didn't know I was. I don't hate African-Americans or any people for that matter. But that particular requirement is no longer a prerequisite for being a racist. The only requirement now is to disagree with the policies our current President. Anyway that is the determination of former President Jimmy Carter. He says I'm a racist, so I must be and you are too.
Now I might take it more seriously if it had come from anyone other than Jimmy Carter. But it's difficult to take anything that man says seriously. Before we hang our head in shame over this rebuke by the former President it might be worthwhile to remember that this is the same man who in August of 2008 referred to future President Obama as "that black boy." I wonder why arguably the worst president in American history has stuck his head out of the ash heap to lend a hand to the current President. He appears to be just a frustrated, bitter old man who is trying to reclaim some relevance or simply give a final middle finger to the American people who showed him the door nearly thirty years ago.
Carter does have one fan however; I guess he can be proud of that. Although I know I wouldn't be. In his latest tape, Osama Bin Laden endorsed one of Carter's books. That will look good in a book jacket blurb.
The last time I had my hair cut, the young lady barber was born two years after I graduated from college. Besides making me feel awfully old, it made me realize that there are many people who don't know who James Earl Carter was, other than a former President and they may therefore believe that his opinions might be due the respect given most former Presidents' opinions. For those of you too young to remember and those who would just like a stroll down memory lane, let take a glance back at the Carter years.
One way a President is measured is how he handles the economy. A popular way of measuring economic failure during the 1970's and '80's was the Misery Index which is simply the sum of the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate. Carter won the 1976 Presidential Election in part by touting Nixon's Misery Index of 13.6%. Carter of course promised to drastically reduce this number. By the time he was through taxing and spending us into prosperity (wait, that sounds familiar) the Misery Index was nearly 22% by the 1980 Presidential Election. By Reagan's last year in office the Misery Index was down to 9.6%.
To illustrate Jimmy Carter's foreign policy prowess, let us look at the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, one of the darkest times in recent US history. During this time, the US under the Carter administration was seen in the Middle East as weak and the US supported Shah of Iran was overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini. On November 4, 1979, pro-Khomeini Iranian students over ran the US Embassy in Tehran and fifty-three Americans were taken hostage. There was one attempt to rescue the hostages, but after two US helicopters crashed in the Iranian desert resulting in the death of eight American soldiers the attempt was aborted. Negotiations by the Carter administration failed to produce an agreement to release the hostages until one day prior to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981. The hostages were held for a total of four hundred forty-four days and were finally released just after Reagan took the Oath of Office on January 20, 1981.
All of this led to Carter suffering one of the worst electoral landslide defeats in history, a 44-6 state shellacking at the hands of Ronald Reagan in 1980. To Carter's credit, this was outdone four years later when Reagan laid a 49-1 state drubbing on Democrat hopeful Walter Mondale.
You may ask why I must bring up the unfortunate presidency of Jimmy Carter. Can't you just leave the old guy alone? Understand that I did not pick this fight. I was perfectly willing to leave Jimmy Carter in peace on the scrap pile of historical failures. But if he is going to malign the character of ordinary Americans by saying that their legitimate disagreement with Obama's policies is based on racism, then I will not remain silent on the subject of his Presidency.