Former president Jimmy Carter was never the folksy populist that many who voted for him in 1976 imagined him to be. Although he hails from Georgia, Carter has a Texas-sized ego and carried himself as someone, due to his supposed high intelligence and ambition, who was entitled to the presidency. And not just to be the president, but to use the office to tell us how to live—right down to the temperature we should set for our home thermostats. Thus it comes as no surprise here that he proclaimed last week his post-presidency period was “superior” to any other recent ex-president’s.
As with all liberals who have advanced foot-in-mouth disease, Carter quickly spun the meaning of what he said to this: “What I meant was, for 27 years the Carter Center has provided me with superior opportunities to do good.” However, that’s just a more indirect way of still engaging in self-promotion. After all, whose brainchild was the Carter Center?
Look, there is no question that Carter has accomplished some good things in his so-called retirement. His involvement with Habitat for Humanity has set a good example and has undoubtedly raised the profile of that worthy organization. The problem is, whether in doing his work for Habitat or his globe-trotting “diplomacy,” the fact is that Carter never really retired from the political arena. In fact, I had to look up the Habitat website to confirm that Carter wasn’t actually the founder of the organization—it’s easy to get that impression.
Still smarting from the American voters’ rejection in 1980, especially at the hands of the detestable (to Carter and liberals in general) Ronald Reagan, Carter seems to have adopted an “I’ll show you I was right all along” attitude when it comes to politics in general and foreign relations in particular. His ability to hold a grudge even manifests itself on his side of the aisle, as he recently lashed out at the late Sen. Ted Kennedy for supposedly blocking Carter’s efforts to pass a health care overhaul while he was president. Of course, we’re expected to believe that Carter’s animus toward Kennedy had nothing to do with the latter’s run against him (a sitting president, yet) for the Democrat nomination in 1980.
Unfortunately for him, Carter is even more wrong in his old age than he was when he was president. But keep talking, Mr. Former President—every time you do, you make it a little tougher for your fellow Democrats.