Monday, May 21, 2007

Jimmy Backs Down

As I'm sure you've all heard, Jimmy Carter had some choice words regarding the Bush administration, calling it (at least in relation to foreign policy) the "worst in history," and saying that the administration has overseen a reversal of American values. But, today, he is backing down.

Now, he is claiming that he was simply comparing Bush's foreign policy to that of Richard Nixon and stating that Bush's has been worse, saying he was “certainly was not talking personally about any president.” But, when one compares one thing to another, he says "thing A is worse than thing B," not "thing A is the worst thing in history." Carter knows what he said, and we know what he said.

And, hell, most of us nowadays seem to agree with what he said. So what's the big hub bub?

I understand that ex-presidents should show a certain amount of respect for sitting presidents, but there is a point where freedom of speech should trump token niceties. After all, Jimmy Carter is not the type of person who would simply take jabs at someone for the hell of it. His presidency saw its fair share of difficulties, so I think he would initially be inclined to be sympathetic to a president in trouble. So, in order for him to decide that speaking what was on his mind was more important than playing nice, he must have thought that it was very important to say. And maybe it was. After all, ex-presidents are among the few who truly understand presidential politics.

I refuse to believe that this was simply a spiteful attack or an attempt to regain the limelight that Bush I and Clinton have stolen away in their jaunts around the world. Carter just doesn't seem like that kind of a guy. I think this was a sincere expression of a perfectly reasonable opinion, and I think he should stand by it.

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