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Utterly stunning conceit

The Augusta Chronicle Jimmy Carter’s utterly stunning conceit — saying he’s “superior” to other ex-presidents for his humanitarian efforts — isn’t the most telling of his recent remarks. They’ll get the most attention, of course, for their unbridled arrogance and scented air of superiority. Moreover, his humanitarianism has been largely drowned out by his anti-Americanism, his love for foreign dictators and his oozing anti-Semitism. His praise of dictators, from Tito to Kim Il-Sung to Castro and more — often bragging about their love of human rights — could fill the back cover of a book on history’s butchers. He is without a doubt the most anti-American ex-president in history. He has criticized this country and its leadership on foreign soil, something no American family member should do, and certainly not a former president. He called a Clinton action “disgraceful,” and actively opposed the Iraq War, saying it was “based upon lies and misinterpretations.” He gave the thumbs-up to an obviously corrupt referendum on dictator Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and other questionable Third World elections, but lamented in 2004 that America lacks “some basic international requirements for a fair election,” “even as many other nations are conducting elections that are internationally certified to be transparent, honest and fair.” That silliness betrays nothing less than an irrational, liberal loathing of America. Little wonder why Ronald Reagan’s on-the-sleeves love for America so stood out. We need not remind of Carter’s failings while in office. He heralded more plagues than the pharaoh. That leads to his recent remarks that won’t get as much attention, but which may be even more telling. In trying to resuscitate his hard-earned image as a failed president, Carter bragged to 60 Minutes that he passed more legislation than any other living ex-president — in only one term! — and “had the best batting average in Congress in recent history of any president, except Lyndon Johnson.” OK. Let’s look at that. Carter’s tenure was marked by rampant inflation and unemployment — termed “stagflation” — an energy crisis that weakened both America and its image abroad, and an interminable Iranian hostage crisis that gave Islamic radicals their signature public relations victory over the United States. Carter campaigned against the so-called “misery index” — the sum of unemployment and inflation percentages — but the index climbed from 13.57 percent in 1976 to 21.98 percent when Carter was done with us. He, himself, admitted a malaise about the countryside. He left us huge new flesh-eating bureaucracies in energy and education. If passing the most legislation of any president is a good thing, then why didn’t it usher in nirvana? Why did it have such disastrous results, so much so that Carter is roundly regarded as one of the worst presidents in history? If more government is better, then why did he leave the White House in the same shape the Civil War left Tara? The answer, of course, is that having a president who swings for the fences legislatively is not a good thing. The chronic and constant government meddling in individuals’ lives and affairs results in slowed economic activity, fewer freedoms and, as statistics have shown, more misery. This little nugget — Carter’s failed experiment in legislating us to death — isn’t as sexy as his naked immodesty, but it sure says a lot about how not to run the country.

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