It was 31 Years ago today... Author: BobRDate:11/02/2007 11:01:15
Jimmy Carter was on his way... (apologies to the Beatles)
Nov 2, 1976: Jimmy Carter beats "incumbent" Gerald Ford to become the 39th President of the United States. For four years, the country got the best and worst of a Democratic president. It was a turbulent time with runaway inflation, worries of nuclear proliferation, and the populace awakening to the problems of pollution.
In Jan 1976, it certainly didn't seek like Jimmy Carter was going to be president. He was the first choice of only 4% of Democratic voters. Nine months later he was elected. Note: For anyone to say Hillary is a shoe-in, this should shut them up.
Ask any person who remembers Carter fondly, and they'll wax poetic on Carter's initiatives. He was the first (and only president) to put solar cells on the roof of the White House. He brokered a peace deal between Egypt and Israel that helped saved thousands of lives and untold destruction. He put together the SALT II treaty to help move away from nuclear proliferation. He imposed sanctions on countries that we had historically been buddies with if they were guilty of state-sponsored human rights abuses.
There are many detractors of Carter as well. Most people remember the double-digit inflation and the skyrocketing oil prices, the former which was already well under way when he took office, and the latter due to the OPEC oil cartel's limiting production to jigger the supply-and-demand mechanics to drive prices up. His inability to deal with those, and a hostile congress gave the impression of an ineffective president.
It was the Iranian hostage crisis and the Panama Canal treaty, however, that probably drove the nail into the coffin of his presidency. The rationale for the treaty was little understood and widely despised. The hostage crisis, however, was manipulated by Ronald Reagan to assure that he was able to beat Carter in 1980. Don't they call that treason?
Since leaving the Presidency, Carter has shown the kind of man he is, and has won the Nobel Peace Prize and the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism because of it. Despite his flaws and being in the right place at the wrong time, I believe that due to the good he has brought to our country during and since his tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., history will remember him fondly.
With the 2008 primary season almost upon us, we would do well to remember one of the lessons that Jimmy Carter taught us: No one should be considered "unelectable", and sometimes the best man for the job IS the one that inspires us and leads by example.
Okay, that's two lessons, not one. So what? - it's Friday, ya bastahd.