Jimmy Carter: America’s Worst Ex-President
There is much to tell about Carter, but perhaps the most revealing fact is his descent into anti-Semitism.
Sounding a more contemporary note of Jew-bashing, Carter echoes newly revived speculations about a conspiracy among American advocates of Israel’s cause. “Because of powerful political, economic, and religious forces in the United States,” he writes, “Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned, [and] voices from Jerusalem dominate in our media.” Who might those “powerful . . . religious forces” be? The Christian Right supports Israel, but no one has ever accused it of dominating the media. Carter can only mean the Jews.Muravchik sums up Carter’s character and personality as follows:
Ever since his presidency, there has been a wide gap between Carter’s estimation of himself and the esteem in which other Americans hold him. This has manifestly embittered him. For all his talk of “love,” the driving motives behind his post-presidential ventures seem, in fact, to be bitterness together with narcissism (as it happens, two prime ingredients of a martyr complex). But he has worked hard to earn the reputation he enjoys. In contravention of the elementary responsibilities of loyalty for one in his position, he has denigrated American policies and leaders in his public and private discussions in foreign lands. He has undertaken personal diplomacy to thwart the policies of the men elected to succeed him. And in doing so he has, at least in the case of North Korea, actively damaged our security.
Carter’s special rancor toward Israel remains to some degree mysterious, as such sentiments often are, but it is likely we have not heard the last of it. As the protests and criticisms of him continue, he may well sink deeper into his sense of angry martyrdom, following the path recently trod by academics like John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who fancy themselves victims of the very Jewish conspiracies they set out to expose. It is sad that a President whose cardinal accomplishment was a peace accord between Israel and one of its neighbors should have devolved into such a seething enemy of Israel. It will be sadder still if this same man, whose other achievement was to elevate the cause of human rights, ends his career by helping to make anti-Semitism acceptable once again in American discourse.
There is little doubt, in sum, that the electorate was right in 1980 when it judged Carter to be among our worst Presidents. It is even more certain that history will judge him to have been our very worst ex-President.