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Old March 29th, 2013, 01:25 AM   #1

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Is Jimmy Carter unfairly maligned?

He's been in the news a lot more recently following the success of Argo. Over the years his administration has become a byword for malaise and indecision but is that fair?

By all accounts Carter was an very clever man, had a degree in nuclear engineering and would probably have been an admiral had he stayed in the navy. He helps create the Camp David agreement and the SALT talks. Face to face he's apparently hugely likeable. Great book called 'Inside Delta Force' where the author speaks about Carter coming to welcome the troops back after their failure and winning them over in 5 minutes.

On the bad points his image was terrible, as an actor Regan understood so much better how to project confidence and reassure people. In many ways Carter was hugely unluckly to face a recession he didn't create and the Iranian hostage crisis AND invasion of Afghanistan
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Old March 29th, 2013, 03:37 AM   #2
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He was weak in dealing with the Soviet Union and also Iran. US clients and interests like Liberia were destroyed. The economy was also a mess.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 03:53 AM   #3

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Hard to find any actual achievements. Temporary peace between Egypt and Israel (after Israel stomped Egypt for what the eigth time) paid for by massive US dollar annual "aid." What else? SALT was a joke.

Nothing like a touch of stagflation to ruin your image. The lame reaction to the USSR invading Afghanistan (boycotting the Olympics? Really???).

Plus even bunnies went after him. When you're President of the United States and even the bunnies aren't afraid of you, how are you going to deal with Mother Russia???
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Old March 29th, 2013, 03:56 AM   #4
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In some ways he was unlucky, however to put it all down to "image" is doing Carter a favour. Im also unsure just how unlucky the Russians entering Afghanistan was for him. A better President could have made it advantageous for himself.

Slightly off topic but this is to do with Carters post Presidency career. Carter was instrumental in North Korea signing a nuclear non proliferation treaty in the 1990's. In return for North Korea signing the treaty they were to receive massive amounts of food aid from the US. We now know that just a few years later North Korea was actively seeking Nuclear advancement from the Khan network in Pakistan. All the while receiving billions of dollars in aid from the US.

Last edited by jackydee; March 29th, 2013 at 03:58 AM.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 06:25 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by zincwarrior View Post
Plus even bunnies went after him. When you're President of the United States and even the bunnies aren't afraid of you, how are you going to deal with Mother Russia???
Yeah that was funny, seemed to sum up the presidency even more than Amy Carter yawning or Gerald Ford falling over all the time.

One story I did hear was when the FBI had a hostage taker who demanded to speak to the president and in the middle of negotiating they recieve a call from Carter who asks would they like him to speak to the man? They turn him down (their strategy is to wear the hostage taker down, stall and keeping saying they need to refer to a higher authority, Jimmy Carter wouldn't have been able to do that, he WAS the highest authority) but it says much for his humanity.
Other story I love is when he's being shown around the Whitehouse and the Secret Service tell him in a crisis he can be on Air Force One in 20 minutes. Having been in the navy Carter knew the difference between plan and reality so he says, "Ok, do it".
Takes them an hour and a half.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 07:09 AM   #6

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Originally Posted by SirOrmondeWinter View Post
In many ways Carter was hugely unluckly to face a recession he didn't create and the Iranian hostage crisis AND invasion of Afghanistan
You bring up good points that those who love to smash the political opposition, ignore for their man, but slather on to the one they don't like: factors.

Believe it or not, presidents are just men and are not infallible. Any president
can only react, and not control, outside factors that his administration at times,has to deal with.
Mr. Carter had certain events fall into his lap and it is like taking a test, you can only hope your answers are the correct ones.
We've seen past presidents sail through their administration with nothing
serious happening and History barely remembers them. Then we've seen
events shower a president's term with delicate and horrific events and
the moral jury will be quick to condemn them for not doing this or that,
which they only say after a few years have past.

He had some pretty tall challenges to deal with while in office:
Iranian hostage, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the US Olympic boycott,
Three Mile Island and a few other events. It is pretty easy to be a quarterback from the
press box during a football game and say, "Didn't you see that guy wide open?"

Carter barely beat out Ford in the election, it was fairly close so it seemed
that he was on the proverbeal hot seat from the start. Was he the best
man for the office? Sure. As was written here earlier, he was a smart man, very capable
in many areas and seemed right for the job. Was he a bad
president? In my opinion, not a great one, not a bad one. He tried and that's all we can ask of him.
Mr. Reagan's overwhelming popular election in 1980 was the final glue that has sealed Carter's bad image.
Click the image to open in full size.
Maybe with time, that smelly glue will come off a bit and Carter's time in office will be viewed by future generations as not that bad.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 07:56 AM   #7
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He's on the bottom 5 on my list. Naive, weak and unable to deal with his own party in congress never mind the opposition. His chief of staff spent too much time partying, his buffoon brother didn't help him. His world views after his presidency have reinforced that he's a nice but naive guy.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 08:21 AM   #8
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I think Jimmy Carter's worst move was to alienate the congress. After all, we are a constitutional republic and the President does not have the final say.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 08:24 AM   #9

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Mr. Carter was one of the most intelligent and perhaps the sincerest most candid president we've had. Unfortunately, those are not the leadership skills required for the cutthroat world of politics. I liked JC, but I used to call him "Jimmy the wimp" quite regularly. I was delighted to see some of his successes in his post presidential career.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 09:53 AM   #10

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The USA can thank Carter for initiating the process that went into making Central Command. If not for him, the USA would have remained hooked on Europe and East Asia and left the Near East in a giant military vacuum.
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