The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, May 26, 2006

Get Carter

I recently took note of some attack ads being run by a right-wing group that-- incredibly-- call for the censure of Jimmy Carter. As laughable as it is to think of a straight-faced attempt to label Carter as an America-hating commie, there you have it. And it's expanding.

Carter certainly won't go down in history as one of America's greatest leaders, but for Chrissakes, the guy has spent his post-presidential years fighting disease and poverty in developing nations, brokering peace deals, and working in hostile environments to ensure fair elections and the spread of democracy (albeit with a slightly different strategy than the Iraq debacle). He's also a publicly religious man, who makes no secret of the fact that he sees it as his Christian obligation to devote himself to doing good in the world-- and one of the few openly religious public figures in America who doesn't give Christianity a bad name.

Why would America's right-wing launch a suddent attack on the Nobel Peace Prize winner? Aside from the obvious, they're desperate to villainize Democrats in the run-up to the November elections. And the elections could turn into a referendum on Fearless Leader, who people are already referring to as the worst president in the nation's history. It's reprehensible, it's dishonest, and it's everything the current Republican party stands for.

Here's the latest attack on Carter-- an ostensible attack against his 2005 book (how timely!) that gives the author a chance to take every criticism of our current president and project it onto a man of principle and good deeds. The author is a founder of the American Spectator with his own history of chiseling self-enrichment-- the Spectator being the conservative magazine that engineered the campaign against Anita Hill and (in what might have been their proudest moment) came under fire from fellow righties for refusing to publish a story about Bill Clinton fathering a black child. Their loss. After all, the Bushies accused John McCain of the same 'crime' in 2000, and look how far they've come.

The problem is, so vain is this insufferable huckster and so desperate has he become for notice that, as his presidency attracts ever more flies in history's dustbin, he is increasingly likely to show up at our Coogler Awards ceremony -- whether invited or not. There he would stand, clutching his Coogler to his bosom and sermonizing until the janitors turned out the lights. Worse, he might bring Rosalynn, an author in her own right.

Jimmy was the worst president in American history and, in personal terms, the most repellent. That last statement would have been implausible a year or so after he vacated the White House. Today, however, after a quarter century of caddish behavior towards his successors, it is perfectly acceptable. His public criticisms of sitting presidents have been insulting and usually dishonest. He has oozed vitriol against America even while he was strutting on foreign soil. Before him no president criticized his government from foreign soil. Jimmy has repeatedly broken that rule.

I considered removing references to Carter himself and just quoting the invective, to see if anyone could've guessed the target of such derision. I've said for at least a month now that we're likely to have the most vicious, dishonest, and brutal campaign season in memory, and this stupefying bit of neo-fascist nonsense does nothing to alter that view. No longer able to defend the corruption and stupidity of the GOP, right-wing hacks are going to put all their effort into pushing Cold War stereotypes of Democrats. Commies, traitors, etc. It's going to be a long, sad year.