Former President Jimmy Carter didn’t start out bashing the media, as he often does today. In fact, prior to the election of Barack Obama, and after the media’s early-sixties love affair with all things Kennedy, it was Jimmy Carter’s turn to be the media’s annointed one. Post-Watergate and Vietnam, his consultants and their liberal media accomplices created everybody’s every man, Plains’ peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter.
It was a cold and rainy October night when my mother and I stood outside a Skokie, Illinois Synagogue to hear and hopefully meet Georgia Governor James Earl “Jimmy” Carter. My parents and most Americans were still sickened over Watergate, President Gerald Ford’s unconditional pardon of Richard Nixon and the disaster of the Vietnam War. They hungered for “change” and “new hope”. Many Americans believed they found what they desperately yearned for in a peanut farmer turned politician from Georgia.
Carter started out by milking it for all it was worth from day one. Flashback to 1977. Carter didn’t fail because the media turned on, or was somehow out to get, him. Carter failed because the walks, talks and cardigans were mere pomp and circumstance. America demands a little bit more of its presidents once they get to the end of Pennsylvania Avenue they call home. But the combination of his liberal policies and naivete, if not incompetence, left Carter completely unable to deliver it – leadership. It took four years and Ronald Reagan to return that quintessential American quality to the White House. Pardon me if I look at Washington today and feel a sense of deja vu all over, again.
January 20: Inauguration Day. To everyone’s surprise, the Carters get out of their limousine and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
January 21: Carter issues a pardon to most of those who evaded the draft in order to avoid going to Vietnam.
February 2: Wearing a cardigan sweater, Carter delivers his first national television address on energy policy.
March 5: “Ask President Carter,” the first presidential phone-in radio broadcast, attracts over nine million callers.
Don’t believe me? Google “Carter’s failures” and start reading somewhere amongst the 24,300,00 Google hits that search generates at this moment in time. But you’d better read fast, I suspect they’re still piling up. Sorry, Jimmah! It’s not that we hardly knew ya. It’s that we got to know you all too well in four short, but very, very long years. You know, kind of like the gasoline lines and hostage crisis you gave us.
Thanks, but no thanks. Your latest bit of revisionism will just have to wait. We have another media-created malady in the White House to address just now. No doubt you’ll find it within yourself to understand. As a proud American, too bad you never managed to come to understand and lead enough of us to secure that legacy you’re chasing. Even Bill Clinton seems to be beating you on that score at this point because he had the sense to listen to, not lecture, the American people, shifting to the Center mid-term. Or, was that the media’s fault, too?