3. Jimmy Carter Tells A Great Big Whopper
This past September, former president and, sigh, my fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter appeared on 60 Minutes to hawk his new book, White House Diaries, which I’m sure is a real page turner. The book itself is a 592-page in-depth look into the mind of — well — Jimmy Carter. That in and of itself should tell you a thing or two.
In the interview, Carter is fairly candid about some of the issues that he dealt with as president. One of those issues was Ted Kennedy. The former president claims that, had it not been for Kennedy, we would have had universal health care during the Carter administration:
“The fact is that we would have had comprehensive health care NOW, had it not been for Ted Kennedy’s deliberately blocking the legislation that I proposed in 1978 or ’79,” Carter said.
Asked if he blames Kennedy for the failure, Carter said, “Exactly.”
“Health care. His issue,” Stahl remarked.
“Exactly. It was his fault,” Carter said. “Ted Kennedy killed the bill.”
So, darn it, blame Ted Kennedy for our not having government health care for decades. Curses!
And on and on the interview goes. After he spends a little too much time talking about Ted Kennedy, Carter proves that his favorite topic of discussion is himself. He tries to paint himself as a maverick, standing in the gap for the right thing, rather than as the weak Leftist he really was. He even claims sole credit for freeing the hostages!
At one point in the interview he tries to make a point about Reagan that actually winds up backfiring on him, whether he realizes it or not:
“Well, and you built solar panels on the roof of the White House,” Stahl remarked.
“That’s right, which were ostentatiously removed as soon as Ronald Reagan became president,” Carter replied, laughing. “He wanted to show that America was a great nation. So great that we didn’t have to limit the enjoyment of life.”
“And the public seemed to like that better than they liked your message, which was ‘We have to be limiting,” Stahl said.
So basically, Carter says that Reagan undid Carter’s policies because he thought America was great. What does that say about Carter?
And then, at the end of the interview, he tells the biggest whopper of them all, one that is actually quite revealing about himself:
“With everything that President Obama’s going through, almost the worst insult that people say is that ‘My God, he could be worse than Jimmy Carter,’” Stahl said.
“I can’t control what people say about comparing me with Obama. But I hope that Obama will have as successful a term as I had in dealing with our nation’s domestic and international affairs. And if he does, I’ll be very proud of him, as I happen to be proud of myself, having had a successful administration when I was in office,” Carter replied. [emphasis mine]
Proud of himself. Yeah, that actually sums Jimmy Carter up better than any other description could.