I managed to watch all of about a minute of the Jimmy Carter mutual admiration society weekend on CSPAN before I had to turn the channel. There was the sanctimonious moron who is Jimmy Carter decrying the "unreasonable fear" (not his exact words) of Americans in the wake of 9/11.
Yes, Carter begs us, ignore the 3,000 dead in New York, the Pentagon and that Pennsylvania field! This coming from the same man who allowed American diplomats to spend 444 days in captivity in Iran because he was seen -- accurately -- as a wimp who wouldn't stand up for America's interests.
The press coverage of joke of a Carter's "legacy" conference has been devoid of anything resembling a reality check. The conference's first day included these gems:
Former Vice President Walter Mondale recalled Friday that when he came home after he and President Jimmy Carter lost their 1980 bid for re-election, someone asked him "what on earth you have to be proud of" after a one-term administration generally considered to be a failure.
"I answered, 'Well, we told the truth, we obeyed the law and we kept the peace.' And it didn't sound like much at the time," Mondale told an audience of scholars, students and former Carter administration officials attending a University of Georgia symposium on Carter's presidency.
Yeah, they did a great job of keeping the peace in Iran. And then there's the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But Carter responded forcefully to that one -- by canceling U.S. participation in the Olympic Games.
The claim to have kept the peace in Carter's case is a lot like a kid getting beaten up and using the fact that he didn't fight back as evidence that there's no school violence.
"I have always felt that President Carter has never gotten the credit he deserves for just the raw list of things he got done as president. He took on more tough issues and he got stuff done on more tough issues than in any other four-year period in the nation's history," said Jody Powell, Carter's White House press secretary.
I feel a malaise coming on.
Sunday's coverage included Carter's defense of his book.
"I have been called a liar," Carter said at a town hall meeting on the second day of a three-day symposium on his presidency at the University of Georgia.
"I have been called an anti-Semite," he said. "I have been called a bigot. I have been called a plagiarist. I have been called a coward. Those kind of accusations, they concern me, but they don't detract from the fact the book is accurate and is needed."
That's the Carter we know and love. Don't address any of the substantive criticism, just proclaim yourself to be on the side of right and smile.
What I really find curious is that in the weeks following the resignation of a number of Carter's allies from his various organizations no one has bothered to confront Carter on Page 213 of his book where he calls on the Palestinians to stop terrorism after Israel has unilaterally followed all real and perceived international agreements relating to the Palestinians.
Carter is scheduled to speak at Brandeis University soon -- but he's too big a chicken to debate Alan Dershowitz. Hopefully some of that university's students will ask more penetrating, challenging questions than the fawning media seems to be able to manage.